Quit Worshiping Your Heroes
When you first decided you would call yourself a writer, what did you want to do?
- Make a million from your bestselling book?
- Have thousands of followers ready to buy whatever you created?
- Become so famous that podcasters compete to have you on their shows?
We Want It Now
Malcolm Gladwell wrote that it usually takes 10 years to master something.
Tony Robbins says you can accelerate that 10 year curve by doing more of what you want more often.
The allure of instant success is an irresistible devil. We really want to believe we can do it overnight just like the greats we admire.
So we buy books. We enroll in courses. We join mastermind groups. Each goes deeper and gets progressively more expensive. Why? So we can sell as many books as Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or James Patterson.
Learning the tricks of the trade will save you time. But you still have to risk, write a lot, and be willing to fail to succeed.
What We Really Want
We don’t just want success now.
We want a map.
- We want to know what to do when.
- We want someone to be there, to tell us what to do, and save us from making mistakes that could cost us a fortune.
- And we want everything we do to have massive impact.
Put simply, we want security — a guarantee that we cannot fail.
It’s risky to go out on your own. It’s also romantic. When you do your own thing, you might feel like you’re standing naked in Times Square. You’re afraid someone will see you and laugh, or worse — since it’s so crowded, they won’t see you at all.
When the template fails, and the buzz about your book dies right after the launch, you feel betrayed. Of course, you don’t want to admit it. That would mean you bought a dream that didn’t come true. And who wants to admit that?
Your Heroes Are Human
You and your heroes are a lot alike.
The only difference is they’ve done something you haven’t.
It’s easy to deify those who seem to have it all together. When your hero talks, you pause and think a long time about it. He’s probably right at least some of the time, but is he 100% error-free?
Your heroes aren’t perfect. They can get addicted to success and money. When that happens, every conversation you have will be a sales pitch.
Beware of the influencer who is always showing you his big house on the beach, his collection of fancy cars, and his always right-on strategies. That guy’s after your wallet - and he’ll do whatever he can to empty it.
Once your financial relationship is over, he won’t care a wit about you or how you’re doing.
You probably didn’t like all your teachers at school. Chances are you don’t talk to them after you graduate or finish their class.
You might even forget their names.
But if they made an impact on you for good, you’ll never forget them.
When you take a class or buy a book, remember what you’re really buying — a map.
A map is not the road you drive down. It’s really just a snapshot of what the world looks like. And even then, it’s only part of the world.
You still have to do the work.
Does the map guarantee you won’t take a wrong turn?
Sometimes, the signs you need to see are blocked by trees or other obstacles. Maybe you’re traveling too fast because you assume the trip will be easy. But until you get out there and go down that road yourself, you can’t know what to expect.
What’s most important is what you do with the map. If you want a relationship with the teacher, remember there can be a cost that goes with that. A person’s time is never really free, especially a busy person’s. So if the teacher gives you a moment for coffee, make the best of it — and be ready to move on.
What to Do With the Map
If you decide to invest in bettering yourself, here are some things to remember.
- The expert’s template is one way to do something well. It’s not the only way.
- Test what you learn. Apply it to your situation. Build on what works, and throw out what doesn’t.
- You’ll probably hear about how you can go deeper with your teacher. This will cost significantly more, so make sure you’ve got a solid plan for the future before you invest.
- Be true to yourself. Your gifts, experience, and point of view are something nobody else can offer. Your best investment is to find your voice and learn the best way to get your message to those who need it.
- Whenever you spend money on ads, software, courses, or books, think through how you’ll use what you learn to earn more than you paid to gain that knowledge.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Your dream is important. Failure is a step on the road to success.
- Use what you learn to develop your own success system. If others can sell theirs, you can, too.
- Failure isn’t final until you give up. Change direction before you hang up your hat forever.
- Don’t be afraid to do something first. If you succeed, others will copy you.
- Always work to improve people’s lives. That’s the key to lasting income and credibility.
These aren’t the 10 Commandments of Self-Improvement, but if you follow them, you’ll make the most of any training you get.
One day the guru we look to might be you.