There is a Necessary Order

You know how to count to three, right? No, it's not 1-3-2. The correct order is 1-2-3! You know very well that you cannot change the order of the numbering system and it still work correctly.

As hard as it is to believe, I have heard of teachers who were willing to let their students do the math wrong. Apparently the idea was to never do anything that would hurt the child's self-esteem. Even wrong answers could not be counted as wrong.

Of course, no one likes to be corrected, but in the long run, this kind of approach will be extremely detrimental for the child. A teacher can create an artificial bubble in a classroom where nothing is ever wrong, but that does not translate to real life. At some point in life, the child is going to get slammed up against the wall of reality. If he is not taught how to deal with it while still young, he will not know how to handle struggles it as an adult, and will not have the inner discipline to achieve success. There is a certain order in mathematics that is right, and nothing else will do. That principle is true in other areas of life as well.

When I was in college I took Economics 101 and Economics 201. For the life of me I don't know what possessed me to take those classes, but I did. But guess what. I had to take 101 before I could take 201. There were two reasons for that. First, the school required that it be in that order and would not let me sign up for the second class without my having passed the first one.

But there was actually a pretty profound rationale which explains the second reason. The information I needed to understand the economic concepts in the 201 class, was taught in 101. Without that background, 201 would not have made any sense to me at all.

The Success Principle

I have found that same principle active in other parts of life, as well. For instance, I have not always been a business owner. For most of my life I have worked as an employee. Starting my own business has been quite a process for me. I have discovered that it is not enough to be skilled at the specific work I do (writing and speaking), I have also had to learn how to run a business (administration, marketing, etc.).

This element of the process has been quite a revelation for me. I wanted to go straight from knowing how to write and speak to having a business as a writer and speaker, without going through the process of learning all of the parts of the writing and speaking business. But it doesn't work that way. You can't simply jump to the highest levels without going through the process of getting there.

I don't care if you are talking about business, career, social life, relationships or whatever. There is a process that must be worked through, and if you are not willing to do it, you will not become successful.

I imagine I am not the only one who has struggled to have the patience and fortitude to endure the learning and growing process. In fact, I imagine you have dealt with it, too – perhaps even now. You want a particular job, but the ones doing the hiring don't think you have enough experience. You want that promotion, but the boss doesn't think you are ready. You want to get that contract, but the buyer doesn't think you have the skills to do the job. You want to be friends with someone who is in a different social circle than you are, but they don't think you will fit in. And we could go on and on with this list.

The Three Steps

If there is a place in life you want to get to, but there are obstacles that are keeping you from getting there, the best thing you can do is to take the time and effort to work yourself up to a higher level. And the only way to make that happen is to be willing to work your way through the process – by study, practice and experience. Let's break it down in three easy steps.

The first step is to figure out where you are falling short. If it is a skill or technical issue, you can take a class or get more practice. But falling short isn't always related to your ability. Sometimes it relates to how other people perceive your ability. In that case, it doesn't matter where you think you are. You have to take a more objective look to find out where the decision makers think you are lacking.

The second step is to figure out what it would take to get past that hurdle. If there is a possibility to move on, it is possible for you to figure out what is necessary. Ask people, do research, or whatever else you need to do to get a lock on the issue. And be realistic. If it is possible and you are willing to work through the process, you can get it done.

Finally, put yourself through whatever is necessary to take yourself up to that next level. And do it with the right attitude. You will go further if you like where you are at any given time and if you get other people to enjoy working with you.

Understanding the three steps above really is easy. But that doesn't necessarily translate into a new reality in your life. Depending on the particular situation, this may take some time and a lot of energy. It may be just a matter of learning a few new skills. On the other hand, the skills my not be the issue. In some situations it might be necessary to remake your personality or your image. But whatever it takes, it will be worth it in the end when you are able to look back over your life and know that you were able to do what it took to conquer the obstacle. At that point, you can count yourself a success.


Dr. Freddy Davis is the owner of TSM Enterprises and conducts conferences, seminars and organizational training for executives, managers and sales professionals. He is the author of the book Supercharged! as well as the "Nutshell" Series of books for strengthening business. Sign up, free, for Freddy's twice-monthly e-letter, Nutshell Notes, at
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