Oh Great, a Dead-End Job

I know, I know, work sucks and we all wish we could have a private income from some slick investments and not have to think about a job.  For some people (the future you, for instance) that’s reality.  For everyone else, not so much.

Let’s Get You a Job

I want to quickly walk you through the process of getting a job.  The examples in the Right Question are pretty simple ones, but that’s only because I want you to fully understand the basics of how to use it.  It is just as applicable to any other situation you could encounter, but I use mowing the lawn and doing the dishes because if you can’t master the basics, you’ll have a much harder time understanding the fundamentals of any other problems you’ll encounter in life.  Many of the people who have enjoyed The Right Question are those who have felt that nothing in life was working, and self help in general was not helping at all.

However, even if you do like your job, you might as well pick up a few ideas from this article, right?  Okay, let’s get started.

Any time I see someone avoiding a task, the first thing I wonder is, What’s that person afraid of?  In fact, for a long time I used that as part of the Right Question but eventually dropped it because I integrated it into the final version.  But let’s see about getting you a job.  Not a personal assistant to a film studio exec, unless of course you’re qualified for that or at least creative and driven enough to get that position, but something that will pay your bills and get you out of the financial mess you’re in.  You’re building a launchpad, something you can fire your rocket from, but unless it’s your dream career it isn’t the actual rocket.  It’s what’s going to keep you fed and pay your bills as you sleep well at night knowing that you’re covered.  Now you can spend your spare time actually working on your goals instead of fretting about where you’re going to come up with the rent.

At almost every stage of the job application process there is an opportunity to rationalize your way out of it.  Right from the start, even just browsing the classified ads or wandering the streets looking for Help Wanted signs, you’re learning a lot about yourself by the kinds of jobs you’re willing to even apply for in the first place.

You need to pay your bills.  You need money to survive; that’s a basic fact of life.  Some people understand this and some people don’t.  You may not believe me, but that’s okay, all I’m asking is that you trust me for a second here.  The ones least likely to believe me are the ones who have a job but hate it.  When the bills pile up and you turn your phone off because creditors keep calling, that is for many people worse stress.

If you think of a job as a car, and you live in the middle of nowhere, you can live a perfectly decent existence without one as long as you can forage in the bush and trap the occasional squirrel.  But if you want to go somewhere, not having one can be a real pain.  It can make the difference between survival and death.  You can get from the middle of nowhere to your destination in a smelly old beater as long as you do at least the minimum required to keep it going.  If you think of your job as a car, keep that job going; feed yourself, at least you’ll have the stress of bills and mortgages taken care of.  We’ll look at the stress it creates in a minute.

But Your Job is Not Your Job

I want you to understand this basic idea:  Your job isn’t really your job.

What I mean is, the job you get at the restaurant or the trucking company or the engineering firm or whatever isn’t your job at all.  Your job has now become in fact two jobs.

One is to keep the job you applied for and got.  Whatever it takes to keep that job, you keep it as long as the checks don’t bounce.

Your other job – your main, overriding job – is to keep your mind focused on your dreams.  That’s your job.  Viewed in that light, sweeping floors or stocking shelves or designing products is something you do in order to build your launchpad, nothing more.  It isn’t meant to build your rocket, so if you know that one day you’ll be lying on a beach with a private income then it doesn’t really matter if you’re flipping burgers or smelling armpits for a living.  If you’re paralyzing yourself with indecision over the job you should get as an excuse for not actually getting one, and in the meantime the bills are piling up, it’s time to look at why that is.

In other words, it’s time to ask the Question.

Your Job In Life

I cringe when I hear self help authors tell you to quit your job.  Coming from me that might sound odd, because I’m all about living your dreams, and nobody knows better than me that living your dreams means not working for someone else unless you really want to.  So let me explain.

Your number one job in life is to live the life you want.  From the moment you become aware that there is a life out there that you want to have, your job is to live it.  But too many people are so far behind in their progress toward that life that they aren’t even at the stage yet where they’re confident enough to go for it.  And there isn’t much out there for the everyday person who feels shut down and who lacks the confidence to even try for this.  If it’s confidence you need, then we need to build your launchpad.  We need to get you to the stage where you can handle whatever comes your way when you do ditch away and rise up as the paragon of early retirement.  We need to lift you out of your depression and off the couch and away from the tv.  Then we’ve got something we can work with.

If you look around, you’ll see that most people are living pretty ordinary lives.  The odd moments of excitement float around here and there, but in general they’re working at banks, supermarkets, restaurants, poultry farms, paving companies, bookstores and so on.  If any of these people quit their jobs and hitchhiked to Borneo they’d have a heck of an adventure but a huge mess when and if they returned, not to mention a lot of quizzical looks from Borneans when they’re sick with a rare tropical disease and can’t pay for a doctor.  So yes, by all means, quit your job and do what you love, but not until the launchpad is ready, okay?  Otherwise your rocket won’t have a place to sit and it will fall over.  It’s happened too many times.

Besides, what if you actually like your job?  I feel bad for all those people working at a job they really do halfway enjoy and are constantly being told by self help authors that they’re unimaginative wage slaves.  Who are they to judge you?  Ask the Question and you’ll see exactly where the holes in this way of thinking are.

So anyway, back to your job search.

If you’ve thought about what kind of job you’d like to have, and sketched out some requirements, it’s time to think about what the Law of Attraction might be doing for you here.  I present an explanation of it in The Right Question so I won’t go into it here, but basically once you have drawn out a map of what you want and what you are qualified for, don’t forget that there is often a great deal lost in translation between your wants (or fantasies) and your needs.  You’ll get your needs filled if you put in the request, but the true talent lies in knowing a good thing when you see it.

Like I said, it’s easy to rationalize yourself away from applying for jobs that in fact would be good ones for you to have.  “So-and-so worked there, and they said the manager’s a jerk.”  “Sounds like an okay job but the hours are too unpredictable.”  “I’m awful with people, I could never be a waiter, who cares how big the tips are.”  On and on you can go, making up excuses for not pursuing what might turn out to be a perfectly decent way to pay your bills and build a launchpad.  By the time you’ve “looked for a job all day”, be honest, have you actually sent out a lot of resumes, or just combed through a lot of ads over your coffee?  It’s okay if that’s all you did, but let’s see just where you are before we think about where you’re going.  This is an especially important step to avoid confusing yourself later if you still don’t have a job in two weeks.  “I applied for lots of jobs and there’s nothing out there” is a common lament over a venti latte, but if you can’t be honest with your espresso-sipping sympathizer at least be honest with yourself.

As always, just think about your situation and ask the Right Question.  You’ll discover and decide exactly what to do from that point.

Now you’ve built your launchpad, a stable place where you know your bills are paid and your leisure time belongs to you and you alone.  Great.  So far I’ve recommended that you get a job, any job, to pay your bills and build your launchpad.  Now it’s time to look at the stress created by getting a dead-end job.

Dead-End Job Stress?

Understand this:  A year is going to go by whether you and I like it or not.  Compare one year from now with your bills paid and your free time put toward construction of your rocket versus a year from now of taking handouts and trapping squirrels.  Nobody I know who works at gas stations or convenience stores or a million other dead-end jobs really loves it there.  I’ve only met one guy who did, at a sandwich shop in Canada.  He was ecstatic about everything but wasn’t on any kind of drug.  So I suppose there are exceptions.  But the economy runs on people who are building launchpads yet who don’t use their free time building their rockets, and I don’t understand why (if you’ve read the Right Question, you’ll know it doesn’t matter why).  You and I are working at this from the launchpad straight on up through the design and launch of your rocket.  That’s what the Right Question is for.

You want the life of your dreams, right?  Okay.  Launch that rocket from a sturdy place.  One year of putting your leisure time towards an enterprise that you love is often more than enough for you to be able to do it full-time, and it’s at that point that you really take off.  So yes, a dead-end job creates stress because you feel like a dork in that uniform, or you hate the commute, or you wish your boss wouldn’t hit on you, or your friends tease you.  One year from now, you will be a heck of a lot closer to living near a beach than they will be, because they have the attitude I’m going to describe right now.  You, however, are going to avoid it.

People who work a job they hate feel the stress of it, and they immediately begin to make terrible mistakes.

Because their job is unfulfilling, they feel they can spend their free time goofing off and doing unproductive things because they’ve somehow “earned it” for putting up with a job they dislike.  Is this ringing any bells?  Working a dead-end job you hate is something you WILL get out of if you apply the Right Question to your life.  You have earned the money to pay your bills, and that’s great, but you have not earned the right to waste your leisure time.  That will come in six months or a year from now, when you have reached the point where you can spend an hour a day on your business and the rest of your time helping out in the community, or lying on a beach, or planning your next vacation.  Maybe you’ll make a million overnight, maybe you won’t, but either way, your dead-end job serves the purpose of removing financial stress so that you can build your launchpad.  That is all it’s for.  It is a tool, a resource for you to use to become the person who could have the life of your dreams.

Because as you know by now, the life of your dreams is going to happen to you, if it happens at all.

We all know that dead-end jobs feel like an awful waste of time.  And they can be, unless you recognize that every single thing around you can be a handhold that you can use in some way to build your launchpad and construct the rocket that’s going to lift you out of the life you have into the life you want.  Have you ever seen the movie Flight of the Phoenix?  That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about.  There is a way out but it requires… well actually it requires the Right Question.  Spend your free time working on a way out, not lamenting what you don’t have and what you can’t do because your job traps you.  It frees you to build your escape plan.  To keep yourself focused, ask yourself the Right Question ten times a day if you have to.

You’ll lift off, I know it.

The Listening Deaf

When you were a teenager (if you aren’t one now), I’ll bet you stood on the edge of several pretty major decisions, wondering what to do.  And no matter how many adults chipped in with their advice, whether you asked for it or not, you probably went ahead and did what you wanted anyway.

Teenagers aren’t the only ones guilty of this.  Some of us carry this entire way of thinking into adulthood.  Myself, for instance.  We’re what I call the Listening Deaf.  We hear that other people are saying things, but really, we’re just watching their lips move and nodding.  Let’s face it, not everybody has something interesting or original to say, and when they do, it isn’t always something we want to hear.

Think about a date you’ve been on, or an occasion when somebody told you that you’re a “good listener”.  You may indeed have been really listening, or you may have been staring at the table and keeping your eyes open to avoid falling asleep.  Either way you ended up a hero.  I’m pretty sure that some of my most beloved friends have been squinting hard at me in what I thought was concentration and what might very well have been an effort to keep their contacts from falling out.

Either way, the point is that we all like to be heard, but there isn’t always somebody around to talk to.  The great thing about the Question is that you can get the right answer from the one person whom the gurus have been telling you all along already has the answers – you.

I realize that it sounds pretty silly when you hear “You have all the answers inside you” when you’re wandering around wondering where your next meal is going to come from.  I know it sounds absurd to tell somebody that they just need to relax and feel the universe flowing through them when what they really want to know is how they can pay the water bill.  This gap between two ultimate truths is exactly why I wrote The Right Question.

You’re always around to talk to, so why not open up a conversation with yourself?  “Hey, self, why aren’t you doing something about that huge pile of laundry?  And while you’re at it, why aren’t you working on that invention?”  That kind of thing.  The best thing to do, of course, is to ask the Right Question, but you knew I was going to say that.  After all, you might not have been watching my lips move, but you knew where this was going to end up.

I would strongly caution you to listen to yourself.  Don’t be the Listening Deaf when it comes to answers you do have.  Using the Question will give you the power you need to zero in on exactly what is going on around you, and how to change it.  All three parts of the Question have a reason; in fact, each word.  Honor the answer you get, because it will be original and it will be exactly the right answer.

What other kind of answer could you get when you ask the Right Question?

The Simple Life

Do you know how it is that large zoo animals are trained not to break loose and rampage through the streets?  I’m no expert zookeeper, but I’ve heard the old saw that elephants can be kept from running away as an adult by the same thin rope that held them as a youngster.  The reason for this, so it goes, is that once the elephant figures out that it can’t get away when that rope is there, it gives up and doesn’t bother trying anymore.

I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that you can keep cattle in a pen by a similar method.  I used to live in a small prairie town and ended up knowing a thing or two about this.

Before the days when electric fences could be run with solar power, the farmer would have to run power to the fence from a nearby shed or house.  Obviously this could get a little inconvenient.  But farmers are a lot more innovative than most people give them credit for.  In this instance they noticed that if an animal contacted the fence a couple of times while it was electrified, it would avoid it from that point on even if it didn’t have power to it.  In short, a couple of zaps was enough to keep the cattle from challenging the fence again.  Moreover, the animal would keep others from making the same mistake.  The upshot, as you can guess, was a much lower power bill for the same result.

If only our bodies worked the same way!  We could do a really good four-hour workout and that would be it for life.  No more health club memberships, a one-time visit is all we’d need. As we all know, however, things just don’t work for us humans quite that way…or do they?

If you’ve read The Right Question, you’ll have learned that I’m into results.  You’ll have learned that I’m very introspective, but when it comes to helping you change your life I am strictly business and that means we don’t stand around asking why, we rev up that mower and get the grass done.  But this topic does have some interesting angles we can explore.

You’ll also know if you’ve read the book that it’s the simplest things that can trip us up just as much as the most complex.  In fact, complex operations of any kind at all can be systematically reduced to a series of very simple steps.  I love simplicity.  Leonardo da Vinci, one of my all-time heroes, is credited with saying that simplicity is the highest form of sophistication.  Even if it wasn’t he who said it, we’re pretty sure that Einstein did say that if you can’t explain your idea to a six-year-old you don’t understand it yourself.  So let’s put on our da Vinci beard or Einstein wig and look at the simple things, and take it from there.

Is there something nagging at you that you ‘want to do someday’, but you haven’t really started on it?  I’m not talking about tackling the ambitious lifetime dreams here, I’m talking about simple stuff.  In the book I use the analogy of washing the dishes, but here, let’s read a book.

I love books.  I’ve got over a thousand, and would have double that number but I know enough about my life to understand that I don’t have time or space for any more.  (This is where I’ve implemented the rule of the Front End and the Back End, which you’ll learn about by reading The Right Question if you haven’t already).  Some of them are old textbooks which have been superseded by much more modern knowledge, but I still hang onto them.  When I open them I feel like I should be blowing the dust off and adjusting my fedora before I hold them up to the candlelight.  So let’s say, just for a bit, that you fancy yourself as the kind of person who wants to read more.  You have the time, but you just…well, you don’t.

Now a six-year-old comes up and asks you why.  Why don’t you read more, dad?  What’s stopping you, grandma?  And you think, Good question, sweetie.  Why don’t I?

Now you’re in Right Question territory.  I never give the Question away in the blog, that’s for those who buy the book only, but you’re getting close to the kind of thinking that moves mountains.  One simple concept at a time.

Now’s the time to use the Question and figure this out.  Just the first part of it will probably do.  What do you need to read, anyway, besides a book?  A comfortable place to curl up.  This might mean a cozy wingback chair, a papasan, or a huge cushion on the floor.  You’ll need lighting.  Do you have a lamp that you can read by?  I mean, having a book is only part of it.  For some people (e.g. yours truly) reading is almost a ceremony.  Is there some tiny little ingredient that’s missing from your overall idea of what it will be like when you do this certain thing?

Now that same inquisitive youngster asks why you don’t practice your guitar as much as you say you’d like to.  How are you going to answer that?  You wander into the room where you keep it, but you don’t seem to take it out of its case.  Is that because you don’t have a tuner?  Does it need strings?  Are you avoiding putting strings on because you don’t know how, and it hasn’t occurred to you that you could learn?  Maybe it’s in the wrong room entirely, and instead of keeping it behind the reading chair you might want to bring it into the den.  Perhaps you are a beginner, and you’re at the point where your fingertips still hurt when you play.  Maybe somebody told you to give up because in their opinion you just aren’t very good.  Well, that’s okay, they’re probably the same kind of people who might have brought the Costa Concordia a little closer to the island, and we all know how that turned out.

These are all things that the first phrase of the Question will identify for you.  It never ceases to amaze me how often we are tripped up by these simple, ordinary things.  I’m reminded of how the US government spent millions of dollars to come up with a pen that could write in zero gravity while the Russians spent a dollar on a box of pencils.  I have a Fisher Space Pen now, and pencils too, and I like them both.  But the pencil writes when it’s been left in my cold Jeep overnight at the ski hill, and I gotta be honest, the space pen sometimes doesn’t.

If you can solve your problem by just using the first phrase in the Question, great.  Those seven little words are magic, aren’t they?  And you haven’t even used the rest of the Question.  Well, no mind.  It’s there when you want to use it to clean out the fridge, and again when you want to make your first million.

Fears and Other Fun Things

What are we all afraid of?

Many people spend time on the verge of taking a great leap, but never seem to get up the courage to do it.

Hollywood movies would have us believe that people reach a moment where they take a great leap and leave everything behind.  Sometimes this is literally a huge jump, swinging from a rope over a chasm or something, and then our hero is suddenly unafraid of heights.  But you and I both know it doesn’t work like this.

More accurately, I think people view relatively small steps as large ones, and that prevents them from taking those steps.  And it doesn’t matter how many people tell them it’s no big deal.  To them, it is a big deal.  To them, that small step is huge.

Well, that’s okay.  To get the right answer, just ask the Right Question, no matter how big or small you think the next step is.

It’s different for everybody, but paralysis comes from the belief that something bad will happen if we get or do what we want but at the same time, we’re also afraid that something bad will happen if we stay where we are.  I think everybody has both of these fears working on them most of the time.

If you do an internet search on the most common fears, you’ll find that without exception, they are things that we can’t control.  Public speaking.  Flying.  Snakes.  Heights.  Elevators.  The list is endless, and they all have one thing in common:  We can’t completely control them.

I used to know a helicopter pilot who would stand on the skid of a helicopter as it hovered fifty feet off the ground in a high wind, with no safety harness.  But he wouldn’t climb a ladder.  He trusted the helicopter because he could control it, but he found ladders to be wobbly and unpredictable.

So it would be more accurate to say that we’re afraid of things that we think we can’t control.

This is one of the biggest reasons why the Question is so powerful.  It immediately brings into focus things you can control, so you’re better able to manage your life.

Fears aren’t rational.  Phobias, extreme fears of something, can’t be argued away by logic.  They can be completely erased, but not without a little effort.  And one thing that psychiatrists and counselors get asked by their clients every day while curing phobias is, “What will I fear instead?”

That’s an indication that the person in question is so used to being afraid that it doesn’t matter much what they’re afraid of, as long as there’s something.  Because that’s comforting.

Let’s take a quick look at what will happen if we don’t get what we want, and what will happen if we do.

Fear of Failure

This is what many people are quite sure they’re afraid of.  It’s pretty easy to describe why we might be afraid of failure.  Our friends might get an odd satisfaction that we tried climbing out of the cage only to fall back in.  We’ve spent time and money and other resources along the way that now seem wasted.  We’re embarrassed that we were once all fired up about this goal or dream, and now that it’s come crashing down around us and we realize it’s never going to happen, we feel like a fool for even wanting it in the first place.

It’s also pretty universal to be afraid to be mocked for trying.  Let’s face it, we don’t live in a world where trying but not succeeding is very well regarded.  Fear of being ridiculed for dreaming big in the first place can be pretty powerful if we let it.

Being afraid of failure is an easy fear to paint a picture of, at least on the surface.  It might go a lot deeper than this, though.

For example, you might be afraid of failing in business because you’re worried that it will only reinforce your image of yourself as a loser, or someone who isn’t worth a better life.  In this case, you’re concerned that your emotional and mental health might be at risk if you fail.

Or perhaps you’re worried that you’ll fail when approaching that attractive man or woman you have your eye on.  You know what everyone says – they can’t reject you if they don’t know you, they can’t reject you unless you want something from them, just move on, all those things – but you just can’t seem to shake it.

Would it help to know that everyone feels this?  Whether they admit it or not, in fact whether they even know it or not, everyone’s heart rate increases and breathing gets shallower when anyone does anything out of their comfort zone.

The ones who seem unafraid are ones who just do it anyway.

In other words, without even knowing it, they’re asking the Right Question.

One thing that has helped me in my quest to overcome fears is to redefine what a fear means.  I explore this in detail in the book, but I’ll give you an idea about it here – things only have meaning in a context.  If you frame what you call failure differently, it might not mean failure at all.  Make sure you know the difference between your own definitions of “not getting what you want” and “failing”.  Most of the time, they aren’t the same thing at all.  What we now call “Trial and Error” used to be called “Truth or Error”, but every result you get is truth.  Some results get you closer to what you want, and some don’t, but they’re both truth.

Fear of Success

It’s a little more difficult to describe why we might be afraid to succeed at something.  After all, you’re looking at the pictures in your mind of everything that’ll be great once you reach this goal or live this dream.  Once your life is the way you want it, you’ll be happy, alive, awake, and everything around you will be better.  You’ll have lots of money, friends, a successful business or your dream career with great prospects, and the man or woman of your dreams.  What is there that we could possibly be afraid of?

Well, the world we live in doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about success.  We hear stories every day about how students who achieve great marks lose them to those who don’t score as high.  The harder you work, the more money the government takes.  The more you beautify your property, the more property tax you pay even though your municipal government hasn’t lifted a finger to provide you any more or better services than it did before you did all that work.  People who become successful are subject to scrutiny, suspicion, and mistrust no matter how many people they provide jobs for.  It seems like you just can’t win, either way.

So which is it?

I believe that of these two fears, more people are afraid of success by far than those who are afraid of failure.  Sounds crazy, but it’s absolutely true.

At least when you fail after any attempt to improve your life, halfhearted or otherwise, your life is basically the same.

You get some immediate temporary relief in the form of sympathy from your friends (who may have been pretty nervous at your attempt to climb out of the nest and fly).  They rally round you and agree it’s tough to make it in this world, and you’ll go out for coffee or a drink together and everything will be the same as before.  You’ve failed, but it’s not that bad, you’re at least not really any worse off.  You might have a huge loan to pay back, and that can weigh heavily on you, but you’ll find a way to do it, and you’ll have experience under your belt and some stories to tell.

Success, however, means that your life will change.  And the worst thing about it is that you don’t know exactly how it will change.  In other words, you’re afraid that it will suddenly become beyond your control.

Despite how clearly you’ve imagined it, how many hours you’ve spent meditating and visualizing how your life will look once this dream comes true or this goal is reached, the fact is that you don’t know precisely how your life will be different.  And I would bet you that if you spent enough time thinking about it, you’d admit that it’s terrifying.

Why is this so?

Mostly it’s because we don’t know who we will be once our lives are different.

Let that sink in for a second.  Read it again.

Remember what I’ve said about having the life of our dreams?  I said that in order for us to have the life of our dreams, we must become the person who could have that life.

Right now, chances are you aren’t the person who owns the beautiful villa on the tropical island.  Perhaps you aren’t the one married to the person of your dreams.  You aren’t driving the car you want, and you aren’t respected in your field.  In fact, you might be living in a rented inner-city apartment with no car at all, trying to decide if you can even afford to go to school.

Your life right now is frustrating and you are denied what you want by things beyond your control.

But it’s familiar.  And keeping things familiar requires no effort on your part at all.  It’s easy.  You’ve become rather good at it.

And even though success seems pretty great, tempting, and wonderful, aren’t there people waiting to accuse you of not caring about your friends on the way up?  Are you going to be seen as a terrible, greedy, uncaring and manipulative swindler?  Deciding who you’re going to take for that trip to the tropics when you make your first million is just like what you went through when you were figuring out whom to invite for your seventh birthday party.  Some will be left out, and others are going to show up and be cake hogs with no manners.

Instead, ask the Question.

It’s easier to succeed than to fail.

When I say that it’s easier, I don’t mean that you won’t face challenges, obstacles, and problems along the way.  I don’t mean that all you have to do in order to have a successful business is to put a sign up and wait.

I mean that in the long run, it will cost you far less to make sure you succeed than it will to stay in your comfort zone.  Staying in the unsatisfying life you have will cost you more than you can possibly imagine.

And if you really believe that it requires no effort on your part to stay where you are, think about this:  When you finally do reach the end and remember what your dreams were, you’ll have spent so much time protecting your comfort zone and letting your fears decide how you lived that you’ll never reach that shore.  Regret comes with an enormous price tag.

Are you prepared to live with that?

There’s an old saying that it’s lonely at the top.  The inference is that once you’ve succeeded, you’ll be alone because so few people really make it.  Everyone will want something from you, decisions you make will affect a lot of people who won’t be happy with what you decide, and that it won’t be worth whatever you had to do to get there.

I’ll admit that, as Anthony Robbins says, the bottom’s more crowded.  But at the top are quality people who understand the struggle you’ll have been through.

What does “at the top” even mean, anyway?

Let’s say you’re trying to kick a habit or addiction.  You couldn’t care less about material things, for whatever reason, but you want to get rid of a drinking or drug or smoking habit or addiction.

In your case, the people at the top are those who have already done it.  For you, the top is when you can say no in the face of temptation.  You’ll be able to say no even if your partner is into it, your friends, everyone.  You’ll be at the top when you can refuse even when you’re down and that chemical seemed like your only friend.  And you’ll know others who have been there.  If they can do it, so can you.

At the top of your career in real estate, for another example, are those who have been able to find great people to work for them, and carved out a niche for themselves in an area that they dominate.  They saw that people needed help finding a certain kind of property, or maybe they just decided they’d move to a city or country or climate they preferred, and decided to help others achieve their dreams of finding a place to call their own.  At the top you’ll meet these people and you’ll learn from their experience, you’ll share stories of amazing properties you’ve seen and the people you’ve met along the way.

For every reason to fear your new life as a success, there are unlimited reasons to embrace it.

But what if your struggle is more personal than that?  What if you are depressed and have trouble even getting out of bed in the morning?  What if your goal isn’t to have a new car, to travel the world, or to swim with the dolphins, and instead you’d consider it a victory just to be able to clean your house and smile once a day?  There’s nobody at the top there except you, even if you do manage to run the vacuum.  Success for you means being able to leave the house without being afraid.

I could rationalize with you, show you the logic that you’re alone whether you sit around crying all day or get busy and get something done.  I could use reason to illustrate what you should do.  But ultimately you’re in the same position I was in years ago – it didn’t matter what anybody said, what the gurus told me.  There was just me in my life.  And there’s just you in yours.

Just ask yourself the Right Question, and you’ll always get the right answer.