You Only Need One Thing To Succeed

by Ron Haynes

Pretty bold statement, huh? The fact is, since you’re probably reading this on a computer, you already have access to some of the greatest financial wisdom and knowledge there is. You can type in any search term in the world and instantly (unless you’re on dial up) have ten thousand websites available at your fingertips that will tell you virtually all the knowledge there is to know on that subject. Just a few days ago, I came across a article in my RSS reader entitled 100 Tips To Help You Save In 2009 and I realized that I had written about or read another article about every one of them.

Lack of knowledge isn’t the problem. Financial success, indeed, success in any endeavor, isn’t a matter of knowing the right facts or the right people. Immigrants have come to the US with pennies in their pockets and went on to become outstanding successes, so money isn’t what’s standing in the way either.

It isn’t a college education, though it can’t hurt. College dropouts (including me before I went on to finish my degree) have always been quick to point out that Bill Gates didn’t finish college. But old even Uncle Bill will tell you that it didn’t matter one way or the other. Some will point out that certain unchangeable characteristics about you, or me, or any randomly selected person standing on a street corner are what keeps success just out of reach. It may be your accent, or skin color, or where you were raised, or your IQ, or anything. Whatever we can produce as an excuse suffice. For some unknown reason, we would rather believe that success is just out of our reach.

But all that is a lie.

Arnold Schwarzenegger came to the US with an accent that could cut a hole in concrete, but it didn’t stop him. Did skin color stop Oprah Winfrey? Genereal Colin Powell became the Chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff, after having been raised in Harlem. And, if you’ve read my review of Malcolm Gladwell’s fabulous book, Outliers (which I am planning to give away 5 copies via random drawing on Jan 21st, enter on the review post), you’ll know that being the smartest person in the room doesn’t mean anything at all if you don’t know how to use it or if you’re not motivated enough. And there it is:

What you really need to become successful is MOTIVATION.

Without it, all the knowledge in the world is worthless. Clicking the Mvelopes Personal 3.5 link just to the right of these words isn’t worth it if you aren’t motivated enough to use their budgeting software to help you get control of your finances. Knowing every tip and technique to squeeze every last drop of value from every single little penny in your savings account isn’t worth a hill of beans if you’re not motivated to put them into good use. Interestingly, if you have lots of motivation, yet very little knowledge, you can’t, no, you won’t be stopped. Motivation rules!

So, the question is: what motivates you?

I wish I could answer that for you, but only you have the answer. Motivation is what makes us behave a certain way, it’s usually a list of reasons that drives us to perform a certain behavior. What are your reasons for wanting to succeed financially? What’s standing in your way (other than you)? What is the master key that will kick you into overdrive and cause you to do all those things you know you should? According to Napoleon Hill, that master key is, “…nothing more or less than the self discipline necessary to help you take full and complete possession of your own mind. Remember, it is profoundly significant that the only thing over which you have complete control is your own mental attitude.” So, figure out what presses your buttons, what makes revs you up, what cranks your tractor (as we say in the South). Use those images to help you begin your journey to success, financial and otherwise and always keep them in the forefront of your mind. [tags]motivation, goals, success, money, life, discipline[/tags]

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1001 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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The Brandless Blog


I have an interesting article on Motivation that I would like to share here.

In 2000, if you were the manager …

You’re sitting at your desk, looking at a list of company stock options held by your Microsoft team. No one on your nine-person team was older than 33. Yet everyone was a millionaire, at least on paper. The value of their individual options, on this given day, ranged from $1.7million to $18.4 million.

Your team wasn’t unusual. More than 4,000 of Microsoft’s 27,000 employees are millionaires – all created by the incredible rise in the value of the company’s stock. So your problem isn’t unique at Microsoft or, for that matter, at a number of fast-growing, high-tech companies.

Your problem? How do you motivate multimillionaires to come to work everyday?

The Brandless Blog


You don’t. They motivate themselves. You challenge people and they will either respond to the challenge, or they will move on to another job. There are generally three types of motivation. The lowest one is fear. Though effective, it works on a very short term basis. Those you’re trying to motivate will do just enough to remove the threat. Reward motivation isn’t much better. Respondents will like you more, but again, they will only do those things that will get them the reward. The biggest disadvantage to these two types of motivation is that people will take shortcuts to reduce the fear or induce the reward.

The best motivation is personal pride in a job well done. The way those multi-millionaires got that way is they cared enough about what they were doing to create a world class product. There was a reward component, to be sure, and there probably was a bit of a fear component (they didn’t want to lose their jobs), but without the personal pride factor in being part of something big, something great, something revolutionary, they wouldn’t have the motivation to come in to work. They don’t work because they have to, they work because they want to.

Nicki at Domestic Cents

What motivates me are results. When jumping into a large task I try to do a part of it that will give me some gratification to keep moving and it really helps. You’re right though, it’s different for everyone. You wouldn’t be able to write a post about what will motivate everyone. Each person needs to figure it out for themselves and then apply it to their own life. Good insight. Thanks.

Sara at On Simplicity

I gotta say, I love this kind of post from you. You take something I knew, in a nebulous way, in the back of my head, and you put it in unignorable black and white and force me to deal with it. Thanks!


I agree with Sara…thank you dear one. I love it!

Our children were a couple of motivated young boys, now men.
I loved seeing the joy in their faces at something they had accomplished. And then, wanting to do more, make more, get more or go farther…
I suppose this motivation, is also where capitalism or free enterprise comes from…

I can still see that fire in their eyes when discussing things important to them.
There’s a sense of motivation there.
You can also see it, when the “light or spark” goes out.

Now, when grandchildren have that same spark, or passion, you know life is in there. And they’re going places!

Thank you for bringing it to my attention again!

God bless America!

Karen M

I love short, simple sentences that help me live MY life not someone else’s. The words of wisdom from other’s shared experiences stay in my mind and prepare me to put them into action for myself.
Thanks and if I don’t win….I’ll buy the book!

Dan Massicotte

I still have yet to answer this questions for myself. I know what makes me happy/gets me out of the zone or de-stresses me. But motivates? Maybe knowing that I’ll never be in a 2 hour bumper-to bumper traffic.


What motivates me is knowing I can do something that most (or at least some) would say its impossible.

Other things that motive me is being able to take care of myself on my own terms, not when the clock tells me.

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