The Universal Key to Success

In college at orientation, while I was standing in lines to sign up for my classes, I noticed two different beautiful girls standing in their own lines. They were unbelievably gorgeous. In other words, they were the kind of girls that I had no shot at dating.

I had a good Sense of Humor (genius trait), and I know girls will tell you that a sense of humor is something they’re attracted to. But the truth is, they only want to laugh at the funny guy, not date him. I had always been kind of stocky and out of shape. I say out of shape, but the truth was I’d never been in shape before.

And these were the kind of girls who would only date guys who were in shape. At least, that is what I thought at that time. So, they seemed impossibly out of my reach. But they weren’t. I ended up dating both of them. I did this by stumbling upon what I call the Universal Key to Success. With a title like that you probably think I’m kidding. 

I’m not. This key comes before every other thing being called a “key.” In fact, it can be used by you to be successful at applying the other “keys.”

Almost everyone wants to be successful at something. Even if that something is dating two girls that are out of his league. With that in mind, it would behoove anyone to find out what is the single most important key to anyone’s success. 

As usual, before writing this article I researched what others had already written about the subject. I googled “how to guarantee success” and “the most important thing for success” and “keys to success.”

In those three searches I found lots of advice on the most important things to do to achieve success. In no particular order here are a few:

1) Perseverance

2) Stop procrastinating

3) It’s not what you know, it’s who

4) Take big risks

5) Have a strong desire

6) Deal with change

7) Make progress

8) Create a routine

9) Double your failure rate

10) Make up your own advice and do that

Okay, number 10 wasn’t one of the items I found, but it may as well have been. If I searched long enough I’m sure I could have found a hundred points of advice on how to be successful. While some of these points are important, like perseverance and strong desire, some sounded like they were just made up by the writer of the list.

There were many lists, but not even one of them had the point that is the subject of this article. 

I’m not saying that this point can’t be found elsewhere on the internet. It can. It just isn’t given as an item in the Top Ten Most Important Lists. And I’m saying, it is the most important thing. So, you should give it that weight and importance if you want to be successful.

Because this single item is so powerful, it can be used as an aid in doing all the other things the advice-givers found important, including the ones I have listed above. What is the Universal Key to Success? 

Start small.

In the genius characteristic, Devotion to Goals, the way you stay devoted to your goal is to make the steps small enough, so you know you can do them. Alexandre Dumas said, “Nothing succeeds like success.”—meaning one success leads to another. 

Do you want to get in shape but can’t seem to start exercising? Then start by doing one push-up. Yes, right now. I don’t care if you’re at the mall or a baseball game. Do the push-up. Have you done it yet?

Good. Tomorrow do two. 

You may think I’m exaggerating to make a point. I’m not. Believe it or not, this is the Universal Key to Success—IT COMES BEFORE EVERYTHING ELSE. 

Babies crawl before they walk and walk before they run. Kids ride trikes before bikes. If you think about it, starting small is the way you have achieved almost everything you have ever done in your life. It is the Universal Key to Success in anything.

This is how I got in shape. I did five push-ups before ten, ten before twenty, twenty before … you get the idea. I ate less and less and better and better. And I lost 40 lbs. I was in tip-top shape. Suddenly, I was attractive to the unbelievably gorgeous. And in that case being funny is a bonus.

Don’t believe me? Let me give you some examples. You can apply “Start Small” to any point of the various “Top Ten Things For Success” lists you can find online, including the list above.

“Take big risks.” Take a small risk first. Then increase the risk a little more each time until you can take the big risks. (This is also one of the 24 traits of a genius—Willingness to Take Chances.) Either the risk is successful (You win.) or not (You learn from your mistake.).

“Deal with change.” Deal with a small part or piece of the change. Then deal with more and more of it. (This point is also improved from applying the genius characteristic of Adaptability.)

“Perseverance.” If you start small enough, you will achieve a small step or goal. Success on one step will urge you to do the next step. That’s perseverance. (Perseverance is also acquired by developing and applying the genius quality of Drive.)

In fact, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Any action can be broken down into doable steps or smaller actions. This also applies to learning and developing the 24 characteristics of geniuses.  Pick any of the 24 traits and start developing it by doing something small. Then increase what you’re doing on the genius trait each day.

If you do this long enough, you’ll become more and more of a genius each day. You will find that your ability to deal with different actions and your confidence at how much you can accomplish in one step increases as well. 

If you have a setback at any time, you only need to break down the action to a doable level and continue on your path. The important thing is to move forward. If you’re moving forward, the size of the steps doth matter not. That’s me being poetic. 

You have seen people who seem to accomplish things without much effort. Some say it is their karma. But maybe, just maybe, they break things down into effortless steps.

Effortless steps that move you forward will eventually take you to the promised land. Geniuses increase their percentage of achieving the big things by accomplishing the little things on a regular basis. 

The famous movie director Woody Allen said, “80 percent of success is showing up.” He’s right. And how easy is that? Just show up for that push-up then do it. 

You may even end up dating two gorgeous girls. But if you do, you may have to learn the First Rule of Dating: Looks Aren’t Everything.

Lesson for today? Geniuses start small. Be a genius.

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