The pain of others’ stupidity


If you know me at all, you know I’m a cheerful kind of guy in the main.  Easy to get along with, generally pretty forgiving of people, and much less judgemental than some of my deliberately inflammatory comments might have you believe.

But I have to confess there’s one thing guaranteed to get a rise of me — business owners’ wilful fucking ignorance and learned helplessness when it comes to marketing. 

It boils down to two big mistakes they’re making: irrational belief in the silver bullet, and a lack of belief in how simple things really are.

The Mythical Silver Bullet

Let’s get this one out of the way right now: there is no silver bullet. It’d be nice if there was a foolproof and simple one-trick pony you could follow around the ring to success but there isn’t. In any area of human endeavour where the rewards are more of what we typically want as humans (more sex, more money, more status, an easier life, and freedom from worry and stress) there’s a secret yearning there’s some secret out there which, if we’re privy to it, is going to bring them to us with no effort. 

And, of course, there’s an endless line of people ready to satisfy our need and sell us what we want.

You know what I think the real secret of success is?

It’ that there’s no secret at all. 

Deep down we all know this, but that doesn’t stop us secretly hoping it isn’t true. It reminds me of something one of the guys at ome of my Boot Camps told me about his wife’s aunt — she’d been sucked in by one of those Nigerian 419 scams where they tell you they’re holding millions of Groats in your name but they need a little cash upfront to help with the paperwork.

Thing is, she’d not just been sucked in just the once. No, she’d fallen for it twice. OK, that’s extreme (and not a little amusing if we’re honest with ourselves), and had lost thousands in the process.

Once is careless..

Twice is simply stupid.

But, when you think about it, her mistake isn’t qualitatively different from the one we all make when we think this product, this programme, this Special Secret is going to be The Answer to our problems.

Here’s a tip for you: next time you get that sudden desire for the virtual comfort-eating of yet another new product or trick, just cast your mind back to every other time you’ve felt the same way and mentally tick off the results it got you.

My guess is you’ll choke on it and lose your appetite completely.

The Myth of Complexity

The second mistake business owners typically make is thinking success is actually more complex than it is. It’s actually very simple.

Why do they do this?

I reckon it’s because it them gives them an excuse for not doing what they know they need to do to be successful.

Why is having this excuse so important to them?

Because success really comes down to a lot of fucking hard work. Sure, hard work alone isn’t enough most of the time. I know loads of people who work hard who aren’t successful by any measure, not even their own. So while it’s not sufficient it is necessary.

But if you can kid yourself success is a complicated affair, with hidden tricks and traps then you can let yourself off the hook of doing all that hard work on the simple and frankly boring fundamentals.

Fundamentals like:

  • Switching from selling “off the page” to a system of lead-generation with a book.

  • Relentless follow up,  especially with existing customers and clients.

  • Testing and measuring.

  • Asking for the sale and risking a “no”.

  • Aiming for and dealing with only the high-end of your market..

  • Focusing your time, energy, and effort on what really matters (.

None of this is hard. 

You get the detailed “how to” from me and even if you didn’t you can find it in any one of a bazillion books if you look. Hell, you don’t even have to look very far, because there’s always someone ready to push this stuff on you.

No, the hard thing is doing it.

And that’s where and why people fail: they don’t do shit; and when they do do shit, they choose to take the path of least resistance and do the easy, uncontentious, comfortable shit.

The Majority Is Always Wrong

As you may know,  of my favourite quotes is the paraphrased “The majority is always wrong”, from Earl Nightingale. Just look around at what most business owners are doing and you’ll see they’re all doing the easy, uncontentious, comfortable shit: Social Media, SEO, placing their faith in external systems and forces waiting passively for business to come their way.

Being passive is simple and easy. It’s not your fault if nothing comes your way, and you can’t get laughed at for not sticking your neck out, or not making a mistake. 

But they’re wrong when they do this, because that’s what almost everyone does and we all know the results they can expect.

Like it or not, if you want to be successful then you’ve got to take a much more active role in marketing your business. That takes courage and fortitude, and you are bound to make mistakes. I’m still making them — and that’s a good thing because it means I’m pushing back the boundaries of my current knowledge and learning new things. If I’m not making mistakes I’m not actually testing anything (think about that for a while).

The progress in your life and business always comes at the bleeding edge, where all the action is. You don’t get an massive increase in results by just doing the same normal stuff over and over again. 

Sure, that’s all necessary when find something works (keep doing that stuff as well as looking for new things. That’s how you grow your business geometrically and sometimes even exponentially).

Lather, rinse, repeat.

How does it go again?

“No pain, no gain”.

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  1. This EBG paragraph is so damn true and i’ve fallen for it more than i care to admit……⬇️

    But if you can kid yourself success is a complicated affair, with hidden tricks and traps then you can let yourself off the hook of doing all that hard work on the simple and frankly boring fundamentals.