The Secret to Success


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“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life. Think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”  Swami Vivekananda

The secret to success is to focus on one thing you are passionate about and never, ever quit. When you dedicate your life to one thing, you eventually become an expert in that one thing. Passion is the key because passion drives your persistence. Persistence, for most of the self-made millionaires in my study, was never forced. It was a byproduct of their fanatical obsession with one thing they were passionate about. In my Rich Habits Study it took the average self-made millionaire 32 years to accumulate an average of $4.3 million. But for those self-made millionaires who were single-mindedly focused on pursuing something they were passionate about, it only took them 12 years accumulate an average of $7.4 million. So, for those of you who want to “get rich quicker”, find something you love, which you can monetize, and stick with it.

The fact is, unfortunately, most do not succeed in life. Only 1-2% achieve self-made millionaire-type success. What’s worse, the vast majority struggle with poverty, or are one paycheck away from poverty. There’s a reason for this. Those who struggled financially in my study did not invest their life in one individual pursuit.

These individuals suffered from something I call Bright Shiny Object Syndrome – always in pursuit of something new. Those suffering from Bright Shiny Object Syndrome do devote themselves to one thing, if that one thing does not immediately pay dividends. They lose interest and then begin looking for something else. They take their focus off what they were doing and seek out something else to do. Those who suffer from this malady never become expert in any one thing. They are too busy shifting their focus from one thing to the next thing. The sad thing is that, since I completed my research, I see this happening all the time. My eyes are now wide open. I see individuals I know, some of whom I’ve even worked with, who go all in on an initiative for a year, maybe even two years, and then they quit and try something else. Unfortunately, Bright Shiny Object Syndrome is the rule, not the exception.

If you want to succeed in life, you must devote yourself to one thing, every day, and think about it 24/7. You must devote your life, not one or two years, to that one thing. If you’re not doing that, you will not succeed. You may get by and even do OK, earning a respectable living, but you will never realize your true potential in life and you will never become a self-made millionaire. You have one job in life. Find your passion and pursue it until the day you die. When you do, you automatically attract to yourself all of the critical success characteristics that make self-made millionaires so special.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Hi, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this blog post. It was funny. Keep on posting! Business

  2. Dear Mr Corley,

    I have been following your posts ever since your post on habits for rih/poor kids went viral. in my country. I want to say a big Thank You for your work which has helped me a whole ot, mostly to have a greater sense of focus and to live more purposefully.

    I did what you said and did my 10 year future leter, vision board etc, though it was literally scary to do so. Scary for many reasons. But , in faith, I have to give it my all.

    I have a question and wondered if you could give me your advice please. You said that each person should have a main life purpose/dream that he/she is passionate abt. Mine is to leave a generational legacy for my 2 kids in a country filled with poverty. That’s what gets me out of bed each day to go conquer another day. Is that a good dream or is too emotional or abstract?

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