Think and Grow Rich…

Figuring out the recipe for success is nothing new. Since humans could think, they looked at the higher-ups in their social group and wondered “Why them and not me?” Sensing the longing, inquisitive gazes upon them, the person on top asked the very same question: “Why me and not them?” Does life all come down to dumb luck or is there some sort of a method that one can implement?

In an effort to help the less achieving, the high achievers wrote books such as the famous best seller by Napoleon Hill. In more modern times, it was done by video. Whether it be Arnold Swarzenegger, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Harvey, Sylvester Stallone, Alex Hormozi or Bob Proctor, the encouraging message was shared loud and clear that we too can do what they did.

As one who is naturally interested in carving out his little slice of life on his own terms, I was drawn to such a literature. I reflected upon my condition and wanted to know what “being rich” meant and how this breed of people thought and acted. Having never met a rich person, I knew nothing about them. All I knew was what I saw: they had the better houses, controlled the means of production and gave more meaning to their life. Until these readings, my childlike opinion on the matter had me believe in a predetermined society in which a person was naturally born rich.

I read a sufficient amount of such books until I started to see a pattern emerge. To my surprise, there was a mystical quality which I hadn’t expected to find. The accumulation of money was mainly explained by a benevolent force that the rich had been capable of connecting with. More surprising still was that these people were not far removed from myself: they were creators, dreamers and artists who wished to shape the world to their liking.

For those who want to save themselves the trouble, the common thread between these successful authors can be summarized as follows: “We are attracted to what we think of / Our subconscious guides our actions / Be mindful of what you think and who you associate with / Make a decision and commit to it / You will attract the things you vibrate with / There is a sort of intelligent energy that makes things happen for you.”

These authors had all cracked the Equation of Life. Following their reasoning, since they had arrived at a total score of “10” for money, it only meant that they added up “1” ten times. “I thought positively” counted for 1, “I believed in myself” counted for 1, and so forth. They could break down the final result into individual actionable parts which anyone could then imitate.

One of my successes in life is to have met a woman I loved and married. I will confidently say that my marriage is successful and procures us both with a lot of joy. We have our private jokes, we communicate well, we have shared interests, we learn from each other… it is by all accounts a “good” marriage.

If I approached the matter in the same way as Napoleon Hill, I would add up the small parts that led me to being happy in my marriage. Perhaps I would tell people to “believe” or to be “mindful of their thoughts” or be “aligned with their own self so as to send out the right frequencies.” To an extent, all this advice would be correct and true. But whether it necessarily constitutes the complete answer is no.

A critical observer will be right to tell me that if Covid hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have spent time online as much and wouldn’t have met my wife who was also trying to keep busy online thousands of miles away. They will say that if another, more interesting person had contacted me or her, we might not have followed-up on our emails. And if she or I had preferred to go outside for a walk on that day, we would never have started to chat.

“Yes”, I might answer, “But that is only the small part of it. The larger part was my positive frame of mind. And hers too”.

And yet my detractor would be fundamentally right. In my total score of “10” for love I should be giving “sheer luck” some sort of value. 0.2? 0.5? At least something, surely.

The actor Sylvester Stallone enjoys telling the story of the day he handed his first script to a person from the film industry. They were walking together in a corridor after an acting class and he just happened to mention that “he did a bit of writing”. Without thinking anything of it, he handed over the script of Rocky which later became the foundation on which he built his career. Stallone remembers of this moment that if he hadn’t “taken a chance”on that day, life would have turned out differently for him. Stallone encourages people to do the same, and take their own chance.

Just as the authors of my books, Stallone retraced his footsteps and rationalized what he had done. He pinpointed a crucial moment in his path towards success and extracted a principle out of it: “Take a chance”. What he does not mention is the amount of hidden variables that could have made this handing over of the script an insignificant event. The person could have discarded it, he could have not been in the mood, he could have been tired for reading too many scripts, he could have not liked the vibes that the young Stallone put out… the list of possible causes for failure is endless.

In my own work with OuiCommunicate I too feel like a deserving winner. I feel on top of my game, comfortable in the assurance that I can teach French to anyone to the highest degree of quality. By all means, I should have my own talk show like the televangelists of the 1980s or host big expensive seminars like Tony Robbins! (That’ll be 3000$ a seat, thank you.)

But it hasn’t happened. The reality is that people don’t just flock to a business as soon as they sense that it sells something worth buying. Being good at your trade is not enough, and the number of reasons for not buying are almost infinite: not being found on Google, lack of brand recognition, alternative options….just to name a few.

On the day I do catch my big break, the business will snowball from then on. Of this I have no doubt. I will sign one contract with a school, then a second and within 3 years OuiCommunicate will have over 5000 active students on 3 continents. “Well, that was easy!”, I will say. All it took was for that one staff member to be in just the right frame of mind and to answer my email and give my course a try. They found just the right words to convince their colleagues in school that it would be a good idea to use my resources. Just 20 talks and 10 people later, I signed the contract.

Naturally, I would want to share my own experience of success. I would write a book and say things such as: “The most important thing is to never give up” or “You should have a vision of what you want to accomplish”.

I might be invited on Youtube podcasts about success and we would talk about the people who are not yet believers in the forces of the universe.

Will you believe in my advice when you see me? I hope you do!

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