Success Is Not About What You DO…

When it comes to comparing superachievers and everyone else, it has less to do with what they do and more to do with what they don’t do.

Saying “yes” is easy; saying “no” is much harder, but it is the master skill of success.

In a world where we are constantly being tugged on from a thousand different directions, your ability to be productive and ultimately achieve your big hairy audacious goals has more to do with all the things you DON’T do versus the things you do.

Put it this way: For everything you say “yes” to you are saying “no” to something else… and you only have so much time. For most people, the ability to do MORE is impossible; you are already overwhelmed and working yourself to exhaustion 24/7.

Doing MORE is not the answer. Doing less is.

Saying “no” to more things so you can say “yes” to the right things is the key to taking you more efficiently and expeditiously toward your goals. And that is the other part of the equation for superachiever high-performance. What they decide to do, say “yes” to, they do with unrelenting laser-like focus, tolerating no distractions of anything that would get in the way of their persisting on their goals.

A while back, after our SUCCESS cover feature with the knighted Sir Richard Branson, we had a client contact us to inquire about hiring Richard Branson to speak at their conference. So, we had someone inquire and Sir Richard declined. The client then offered $250,000 for an hour talk; Sir Richard declined. They then raised it to $500,000. Sir Richard declined. Then we asked how much it WOULD take to get Sir Richard to attend. The response from his people was, “no amount of money would matter.” They said, “Right now Richard has three main priorities he is focused on and he will only allocate his time to those three priorities, and speaking for a fee is not one of them.” I thought, “Wow, THAT is the type of unshakable and unapologetic focus that has allowed him to accomplish more than what 100 high-producing guys could—combined.” Amazing, really.

Now, when I told a friend of mine this story he said, “Well, it’s easy for Branson to say no to an easy half million dollars, but I certainly couldn’t.” I promptly replied with, “That’s why you are not achieving like Richard Branson.”

Hey, he started out with nothing like the rest of us. He’s gotten to where he is BECAUSE of this dedication to focus.

It doesn’t have to be the temptation of a half million dollars; it could be saying “no” to a new TV program that will suck several dozen hours out of your life and creative potential; saying “no” to a meaningless and unproductive meeting, saying “no” to invitations, projects, emails, phone calls and visitors that aren’t ON PURPOSE to the accomplishment of your high priority goals.

Uproot this destructive force and you, too, could learn to have the laser-like focus of Sir Richard Branson.

What do you need to start saying “no” to?


Darren Hardy is the former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, an entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author of The Compound Effect and Living Your Best Year Ever: A Proven Formula for Achieving Big Goals.

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