Several years ago I was brought face to face with
the very disturbing realization that I was trying to
supervise and direct the efforts of a large number of
people who were trying to achieve success,
without knowing myself what the secretof success
And that, naturally,brought me face to face with the
further realization that regardless of what other knowledge
I might have brought to my job, I was definitely lacking
in the most important knowledge of all.
Of course, like most of us, Ihad been brought up on
the popular belief thatthe secret of success is hard work,
but I had seen so many people work hard without
succeeding and so many people succeed without
working hard that I had become convinced that hard
work was not the real secret, even though in most cases
it might be one of the requirements.
And so I set out on a voyage of discovery which
carried me through biographies and autobiographies
and all sorts of dissertations on success and the lives
of successful people untilI finally reached the point
at which I realized that the secret I was trying to
discover lay not only in what people did,
but also in what made them do it.
I realized further that the secret for which I was
searching must not only apply to every definition
of success, but since it must apply to everyone to
whom it was offered, it must also apply to everyone
who had ever been successful.
In short, I was looking for the common denominator
of success. And, because that is exactly what I was
looking for, that is exactly what I found.
But this common denominator of success is so big,
so powerful, and so vitally important to your future
and mine that I'm not going to make a speech about it.
I'm just going to "lay it on the line" in words of one syllable,
so simple that anybody can understand them.
The common denominator of success - the secret of
success of every person who has ever been successful - lies
in the fact that "THEY FORMED THE HABIT OF DOING
THINGS THAT FAILURES DON'T LIKE TO DO."
It's just as true as it sounds and it's just as simple as it seems.
You can hold it up to the light, you can put it to the acid test,
and you can kick it around until it's worn out,
but when you are all through with it,
it will still be the common denominator of success,
whether we like it or not.
It will still explain why people have gone into a
business or profession with every apparent qualification
for success and have been nothing but disappointing
failures, while others have achieved outstanding success
in spite of many obvious handicaps.
And since it will also explain your future,
it would seem to be a mighty good idea for you
to use it in determining just what sort of future
you are going to have. In other words, let's take
this big, all-embracing secret and boil it down to
If the secret of success lies in forming the habit
of doing things that failures don't like to do,
let's start the boiling-down process by determining
what are the things that failures don't like to do.
The things that "failures"don't like to do are the things
that you and I and other human beings,
including successful people, naturally don't like to do.
In other words, we've got to realize right from the start
that success is something which is achieved by
the minority of people...and is therefore"unnatural"
and not to be achieved by following our natural likes
and dislikes nor by being guided by our natural
preferences and prejudices.
Excerpted from The Common Denominator Of Success
by: Albert E.N. Gray