Bob MacDonald on Business

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They Say There Are No Shortcuts to Success – But They Are Wrong

November 10th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Building Better Business Managers, Business Ethics, Business Management

There are shortcuts to success, but to find them you have to beat a system designed to keep them blocked.

We’ve all heard it ad nauseam from the self-proclaimed savants of success: “There are no shortcuts to success and the only way to get there is to keep your nose to the grindstone.” In an effort to reinforce their dictum these same pundits of success are quick to admonish anyone who might seek to find an grindstonealternative path to success. They characterize “shortcuts” in a pejorative sense, something unsavory and only sought by those who are lazy, impatient, impertinent, immoral or dishonest. In their minds the shortcut seekers are nothing more than brash mischief-makers who are only too willing to cheat to win.

The mantra of a no-shortcut protagonist is simple: “keep your nose to the grindstone”; the only way to achieve success is to follow the rules, don’t make waves, do what others expect of us. If you plod along in a preordained system long enough then eventually some level of success might be realized.

Wait, Just a Minute . . .

That may be all well and good for some, but have you ever stopped to imagine just how painfully depressing and emotionally disfiguring it would be to slavishly keep your nose to the grindstone? Yet this is just the type of simplistic maxim that these self-styled masters of the universe use in an effort to thwart any attempt by others to find a shortcut to success?

For the most part, this attitude has been engendered in these people because they were unable to find a shortcut to success. To achieve what success they have, they were required to play by the rules of others, accept the status quo, suffer the ignominy of ass-kissing, muffle their individuality, survive corporate politics and place their future at the whims of others; with only the hope that their efforts would be recognized and rewarded with some modicum of success. Frustrated by their own inability to find a better way to achieve success, they feel it is only fair for others to have to pay the same painful price for success; thus the chastisement for those who do seek and find a shortcut to success.


There are many who don’t want you to know this, but the truth is that without a doubt there are shortcuts to success. Certainly it does take a different attitude and specific actions to find them, but when discovered, they can lead you off the ponderous path and put you on the fast-track highway to success. And the really good news is that searching for the shortcuts to success is not only exciting, fun and rewarding, but it is the most honest and ethical way to approach the desire to be successful.

You see, the shortcut to success is not achieved by cutting-corners, but by seeing around corners. A shortcut to success is not found by skipping steps, but by stepping out in a different way. A shortcut to success does not come from accepting the way things are – that is someone else’s success – but by imagining and striving to find the way things should be. Only by finding a better way to do what needs to be done or endeavoring to find a way to do what others say can’t be done can a real shortcut to success be discovered. In short, finding a shortcut to success does not come from repeating the past, but from reminiscing about the future.

On the surface, finding a shortcut to success doesn’t require any special skills. You don’t have to have an MBA from an Ivy League university. In fact, you don’t need a degree at all. But if it’s so easy, and the potential for reward is so great, why, then, doesn’t everyone do it? The reason is that most confuse finding a shortcut to success with the idea of making success easy. Achieving real success is never easy. Those who do discover shortcuts to success may make it look easy, but it’s not. The truth is that discovering and taking a shortcut to success requires more commitment, stamina, courage, effort and integrity than it does to keep one’s nose to the grindstone.

Be Ever-Vigilant

Since you never know when a shortcut to success will appear, you must be prepared to recognize and take advantage of it when it does. You start to do this by developing an attitude of relentless curiosity. You can’t find something, if you are not conditioned to look for it. The groundwork starts by never being satisfied with the way things are and always wondering how things can be better. Recognizing a shortcut to success requires constant questioning and challenging the belief that the current path is the right path. If you are already where you want to be, there is no need for a shortcut. No shortcut is needed if you are satisfied with the way things are. Those who find shortcuts to success condition themselves to be perceptive to the emergence of change and the opportunities it creates. Most fail to recognize change and when they do, the first inclination is to resist it, keeping them on the long and wrong path. Those who embrace change as an opportunity and find ways to turn it to their advantage, will invariably discover shortcuts that allow them to pass the others by.

Shortcut-searching behavior requires an openness and willingness to look at the world in new ways. It means understanding that only by nurturing and trying shortcutnew ideas will a passel of shortcuts to success open up. But a new idea alone is not enough. The true value of using a good idea to find a shortcut to success resides in its implementation. This means overcoming the skepticism of others and convincing them to accept and adopt the new way; and that is always more difficult than simply grinding on. As management expert Peter Drucker said, “Ideas are cheap and abundant. What is of value is the effective placement of these ideas into situations that develop into action.”

One of the least understood ways to find shortcuts to success is to enlist others in the search. The more help you have in the search for the best shortcuts, the more likely you are to find them. This is accomplished when you include others in your vision, ideas and goals in a way that they can adopt them as their own. It is what we call “parallel interests.” Including, empowering, respecting and rewarding those who have the ability to help you search for shortcuts will motivate them to do so; increasing your power and chances of success.

If you want to be in a shortcut-searching mode, the best way is to commit to the following:

  1. Willingness to adopt new perspectives whenever possible
  2. Openness to try new things and to do old things differently
  3. Compelling drive to act on ideas to test their true value
  4. Eagerness to listen to others and profit from their input, regardless of who gets credit
  5. Respect for and support of others when they propose new courses of action

When you condition yourself to think and act in this manner, you will begin to see shortcuts to success and taking advantage of them will be a far more exciting, fun and rewarding than simply keeping your nose to the grindstone.

And the Moral of the Story …

Don’t be taken in by those who tell you there are no shortcuts to success and that the only way to be successful is to keep your nose to the grindstone. The only reason people will try to convince you there are no shortcuts to success is because they don’t have the attitude or aptitude to find them. Most believe the way to success is the way others have done it.

There are shortcuts to success and they are out there for you to find and use to fast-track your way to success. But don’t think of the shortcut as the easy way to success, because there is no honest easy way. Real success is never easy. What the shortcut offers is a better, more direct and faster way to success. And the best part about it is that finding the shortcut to success is fun, exciting, and rewarding and the most honest way to go about achieving success.

It is important to understand that the shortcuts to success are often hidden in plain sight, and unless you develop the mentality, attitude and approach to see them, they will remain invisible; as they are for most. It is when one is willing to question and challenge the way things are and wonder why they can’t be different or better that the shortcuts to success become visible and that is a lot better than being nose to nose with a grindstone for the rest of your career.

 

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