The Only Three Things You Need To Know To Succeed

I once went to a Landmark Forum seminar because I liked the girl who invited me. "YOU HAVE TO GO TO THIS!" she said. I was going to have to sit for three hours and listen to people say stuff and how much Landmark helped them. I can't even remember what they said. I'm sure it was enlightening but I can't remember at all. I was nervous when she introduced me to the group in the beginning. I remember that. I also remember afterwards when I was tag-teamed by two members: "so when are you going to sign up for our [expensive] weekend course?" There was ZERO chance I was going to sign up for it.

So they then switched tactics. They said to my friend, "looks like your buddy is afraid of making committments." Whoah! Saying that to a girl!? Saying that in front of me. I almost signed on the dotted line. But I didn't.

(former scientologist Erhard, started the Landmark Forum and Est)

Any "teaching" that involves sales techniques should be avoided. Then it's a business and not really out for your best happiness (marketing is the gap between truth and sales). Not to mention a weekend of time. What the heck? An entire weekend? Nevertheless, that girl really had nothing to do with me afterwards. Even right after the seminar we went to a bar and she hung out with all her Landmark buddies at a table and I sat at the bar. It's like the exact definition of "Loser" right there.

So I feel bad writing a post with this title. It sounds like the back of a Rosicrucian pamphlet you might find on a subway floor at 2 in the morning when you're wet with your own urine. Not like this, err, has ever happened to me.

But forget it. You just need this article. I can even stop blogging after this (but I won't).

Oh, one thing first. I use the word "only" in the title. That implies it's easy. In fact, it is easy, but for some it will be hard and take a lot of self-discipline. There's nothing wrong with that. Self-discipline is a good skill to learn but stick with this one approach in the discipline process and you will be ok: try to catch your thoughts and label them "useful" or "not useful". Don't get stuck on the "not useful" thoughts. That might take practice. So bear with me.

The three items you need to know are: things, others, yourself.

#1: Things:  This means "the things you need to know to make a living and survive in the world." You can't make a new clothing company without knowing everything about clothes. You can't do any one THING without knowing everything about that thing. So while "things" sound general I'm really referring to the one thing you want to do in life.

Let's take skin creams as an example. Here's what you need to know:

  • - the biographies of everyone in the business
  • - what's in all the popular skin creams. How does each chemical work, smell, etc.
  • - what's the importance of smell in skin creams
  • - what are the popular brands out there? How do they work?
  •  - who are the celebrities doing marketing in the businenss?
  • - what are the popular mechanisms for selling skin creams (multi-level marketing, party planning, informercials, direct marketing, informercials, internet advertising)
  • - what are the top 10 websites for skin creams and what are the common features among all of them (usually: celebrity sponsorship, a starter kit, testimonials, before-and-after shots, beautiful photos of the packaging, plus an FAQ on how to look beautiful)
  • - where can you make the creams for cheap
  • - what's necessary for your starter kit (morning, afternoon, night stuff - and every item should run out in a month)

I say all of this knowing nothing about skin creams. This is just where I would start should I want to go into that business. For any business you're in, or for any career (writing, painting, the arts, social gaming, comedy, television, investment banking) you need to know EVERYTHING.

How long should it take you to know everything. It's like the learning curve of everything that's worth learning. You can get 80-90% there in about 6-12 months of pure study. And then the final 10-20% takes years of experience but that's ok. If you're in the top 10-20% you'll start to do fine or  at least get on the right track. Malcolm Gladwell says the Beatles needed 10,000 hours. Ok, thats the Beatles. And they were #1 on the planet. but it's not so bad if you're in the top 1% (i.e. the top 60 million on the planet) for your area of interest.

When I started writing about finance from scratch, for instance,  it took me about 1 year to make money, 2 years to make decent money, 3 years to make a lot of money from it.

#2: Others: In other words, the other six billion people on the planet. That seems pretty hard, right? How can I know everything about everyone. It's ok. Don't panic. I'm going to give you my secret. By the way, I just got an ad to sign up for a newsletter for $2900 a year for a "lifetime membership". It looks like a good "life" and marketing newsletter. But you don't need it. I'm giving it right here. Keep your $2900.

(i'd like to buy the world a coke)

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So what's the one secret you need to know about the other six billion people on the planet? They all have problems. Every single one of them. I don't need to list what they are. You already know most of the problems.

This leads to the only thing you need to know to deal with all the others. Sympathize with them. If someone is rude to you in a restaurant or on a message board, don't worry about it. They had a bad night. Or they are arguing with wife/husband/kids/IRS/whatever. Or they are nervous about their job. Or their novel got rejected. Or their parents beat them. Whatever. They have problems. You don't need to know what they are. 100% of them have something.

So sympathize. Not pity. Nobody cares about your pity. But always have sympathy. They are people like you (you have problems too) so you can sympathize/empathize/feel compassion towards them. Not overwhelming (don't give them the clothes on your back) but enough to not let them bother you. Put yourself in their shoes a little bit, and show them either that you care (if you are selling something) or that you don't  care (if you need to just get the check in the restaurant and move on with your life). That's sympathy. And it's the only thing you need to know about others. By the way, this includes even the people you love or even the people who you want to have love you. By the way, this includes even yourself. Your problems are no different or worse. So have sympathy for yourself.

Yourself: What do you need to know about yourself? Here's the good news:

Absolutely nothing!

If you follow the above two items, what would you ever need to know about yourself? Oh, you were abandoned as a child so now you are afraid of abandonment? No worries, the only people who this will affect are the ones that you might leech onto out of that fear. But that's ok: focus on sympathy for the others first and you don't have to worry about your abandonment. Beaten as a child? No worries: if you have compassion and sympathy for everyone else (including yourself!)  then you won't beat others and project your own anger onto them.

You don't need to know anything about your past. I lost a lot of money in the past. I have a lot of regret about it. But that's not a useful thought for me right now. When the regret comes up I think to myself "not useful". The other day someone asked me, "what would you change if you could change anything?" The answer for me is, of course, nothing. No matter what problems I had or have. If I changed anything then everything would be different for me. I don't want everything to be different. Then my kids would be different. Or I wouldn't have met my wife. Or I wouldn't be writing this to you. I'M TRAPPED in my present. There's nothing I can do about it.

What if I wanted to be a skin cream specialist but all I know is Internet companies and Wall Street. No problem: I'll spend the next year if I have to reading everything I could about skin cream and I'll get ahead of the 98% of the people competing against me. I'm going to put "skin cream" in quotes because it could be any endeavor. So that's it: Things, Others, Yourself.

Does this sound overly simplistic? Of course it does. If it's simple then the multi-billion dollar self-help marketing machine can't market to you anymore. They want to make it complicated! You need to go to the "No Excuses!" seminar and pay $4995.50" for five days of starvation and lecturing and sex with strangers at night (doesn't sound so bad but its a lot of money and lecturing).

But what if I were beaten as a kid? What if I was always afraid of my family running out of money? What if grew up in the ghetto? No problem. I'm here now. And it's perfect here.



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  • Another awesome blog post James.

    I tweeted you a question a while back but with the volume of tweets you receive, it probably got lost in the noise. I was wondering on avg, how much do you generate in income through the blog?

    Obviously you’re a very successful writer and blogger and I’m interested in starting a blog, not for the money but it would be nice to know how much income one can generate from a popular blog.

  • It’s been 7 or 8 years since I did Landmark, but I will say it was really worthwhile. And not as expensive as many “self-help” seminars I’ve attended since (with less useful info)…back then it was something like $375 for the weekend seminar. I will say that Landmark is probably the biggest reason my mom and I are getting along now. It also helped me learn how to quiet my mind so my “inner voice” wasn’t constantly beating me up. I got my money’s worth. 

    The negative side is the sales tactics–they are aggressive. If you want the lessons without attending, do all the exercises in the book “The Master Key System.” It’s in the public domain, so you can find it for free. But you can’t just read it–you have to do the exercises. Some of them are difficult. But it’s the same thing you’ll go through at Landmark, only at your own pace.

  • I should mention, while I do not think there is anything wrong with monetizing a blog, I have generated $0 over the past 354 posts (I think that’s all of my posts) and 80 posts in the Draft folder. 

    • PuttPutt

      Having to pay to read your tripe would be the ultimate insult to injury.

      •  Yet you continue to read it, without having to pay and in fact, without being paid.  Hmm… veddy interesting…

    •  James-

      You may be missing something with that comment.  You’ve made {at least some} money from your self published books, haven’t you?

      These sales are a direct result of the relationship you built here. I bet even the haters bought your book lol.


      •  I guess thats true althoug theres a lot of original material in my books that have been written outside this blog. But this blog itself hasnever been monetized.

        • mikeyhell

          James, FYI, but you know that stocktwits banner at the top of the page that’s always there? I’ve been reading your blog for at least a year now and not once, not once I tell you!, have I entered a stock symbol or clicked on any of those other things. It’s invisible to me. Do you want me to click there? Maybe you make money if I do. :)

    • Mohammed

      Nothing wrong James if you make money from your writing

      As long as its money from sources that are good and ethical and you resonate with

      • Mohammed

        I mean making money from this blog…either thru ads….or thru referrals etc

    • Pedro De Sousa

       Directly, right? Indirectly, I think you’re monetizing yourself every single day and I salute your for that. That’s smart.

    • not totally accurate, you made some money from books-but yeah, blog writing isn’t a path to financial security!!  Heh.

    • Travis Fields

       Well, if you wanted to monetize it…

      Craig Newmark didn’t monetize his for quite a long time. He let it build steam, etc.

      At least that’s what I recall.

  • AlexSok

    Wonderful James!

  • Gonzalo Gandia

    I never heard of Landmark until today. But living outside of North America for 20 years might have something to do with that…

    I totally agree with the “keep it simple, stupid” philosophy. But it’s hard to accept most of the time. I find it hard to convince myself that “it’s really that simple”. In order to accept something is simple, the next question we inevitably ask ourselves is “If it’s so simple, than why can’t I do it? What’s wrong with me?” That’s a painful place to go to, so we’d rather think “it” is more complicated (whatever “it” is), that there must be some highly intelligent way of doing “something” that only a few have figured out…

    • The thing is, many things, in fact, are hard to do. I can’t fly a plane, for instance. But I can quantify what I need to learn to make a living. I can sympathize with others (including myself) although it takes practice (“useful” / “not useful”) and as for myself, the past is done. I need to sympathize with myself. Then I need to sympathize with others and be good at whatever my “thing” is.

      That sums up every meditation system, self-help system, etc on the planet.

      • Gonzalo Gandia

        Yup, totally agree with you. There’s a good quote from the underrated movie “The Edge” with Anthony Hopkins: “What one man can do another can do”. Although it’s a just a another version of the “If you can think it, you can do it” meme. Like you say, it may be hard to do, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it…unless it involves dunking a basketball or chucking a football 70 yards downfield. But the general idea is to keep dreaming and aim high…

        •  I can really vouch that most things are doable. I went from nothing to something in totally unrelated fields several times. Again, not everything is possible ( i actually tried once to get basketball lessons and it didn’t work out) but most things are with joy, persistence, and time.

      • Just thought I’d mention that I’ve recommended your blog to my “just getting started out in life and trying to figure it all out daughter” who, it seems to me, is sometimes overwhelmed by “conventional wisdom” that isn’t quite ringing true for her.  Thought it might give her some “new eyes”, as Gallagher said.  Thanks for helping all of us across the street.
        (ps: flying a plane is only hard if you don’t know how…just like riding a bicycle)

  • For all the shit I have been through in my life I have always said “I regret nothing.” People don’t believe me. Everyone has regrets, they tell me.

    But I don’t. And this is precisely why. Every moment that led to now made me who I am. I like who I am now. I don’t want to be different.

  • Chrispon

    I did get the sympathy with this statement ( 
    even the people who you want to have love you. :) 

  • Ceo

    Question (Un-related to post) When or at what age an entrepreneur should marry?

    •  I can’t answer. I married at 29 and it ended in divorce. I married again at 42 (post selling four companies) and I’m happily married.

  • Get 80% there in a year?

    I feel that’s a little overly optimistic and simplified. Depends on the subject matter and your definition of ‘succeed’.

    Or maybe I am just too pessimistic.

    It’s always a challenge to figure out the best way to leverage our finite time. It’s a constant battle for me.

    • DaemonC

      Showing up is 80% of the battle somtimes, given enough preparation that is. A year of constant study on the latest up to date techniques would put you pretty far ahead of most

  • Pixie

    Thanks for the ‘not useful’, I still have a few things I wish I did differently in My life (mainly involves material security, I’m a recovering alcoholic over 4 years sober), however, I love my life and where I am, I will remind myself ‘not useful’ if/when my ego tricks me into feeling shame regret or remorse. As the past is definitely where it should be, I have “now” inked in filigree on my wrist to remind me to be present, works for me.. Also if I didn’t get to a place that was so painful I would not have changed my life and now I am on a spiritual path with daily gratitude. Yes, not useful is going to be in my repertoire thanks again xx

  • Have you read Arthur DeVany’s “Everything you need to know about Zen” post?  Highly recommend:

  • PuttPutt

    James you never cease to amaze me with your inconsistencies and general ignorance. 
    So you are criticizing Bill Clinton for failing deal with Bin Laden yet you’re opposed to Bush’s Iraq/Afghanistan wars. How would you expect to catch terrorists unless you invade the countries that are harboring them?
    You can’t have it both way, and while I know you don’t consider yourself to be a foreign policy wonk, your views on entrepreneurship, education, the family structure and the economy are equally deleterious.  You kept losing money because you don’t know squat about business. Your ‘big break’ was a spinoff from that was sold in firesale in a year for probably some trifling amount. That is the grand culmination of decades of failing, and you deem yourself qualified to write about entrepreneurship? I laugh at you and your blog and no I wasn’t a victim of child abuse, an accusation you commonly ascribe to your critics.

    •  You know what “PuttPutt” sounds like, right?

  • Matthew

    Please please keep writing. I truly value what you have to say.


  • This isn’t exactly on-topic but I wanted to say something other than following around behind the trolls (it must be the season – one of them chomped razor-sharp teeth into the ankle of one of my blogroll friends and has not let go yet.)  I wanted to say that I was in the “ahem” department of a department store last weekend and someone walked up to the saleslady and said, “Which way are the Spanx?”  She was promptly directed – as it appeared to be an oft-asked question.  Of course I thought of this blog.

    And I wanted to thank you for suggesting “Shark Tank.”  I watched it for so long (it’s addictive, isn’t it?) that I fell asleep in front of it the other night.

  • Insightful as always!

  • I just read an ugly comment a few comments below. For me your writings are having an enormous entertainment value along with Information value.

    • I got rid of the ugly comment and I did it for a couple of reasons:

      A) I always encourage disagreement here. Look at the prior post, as an example. SO I never delete comments that disagree with me.
      B) the comment contained many factual errors about me, errors which he could easily have looked up because they are publicly available.
      C) I view this blog as my house. My friends always come in here and disagree with me. But nobody comes in here and the first thing he says (if he is a stranger) is “you are a stupid asshole”. If that were to happen there would be no reason for me to fight him, I would just ask him to leave. Which is what i do with inappropriate comments. 

      I also view the community here as the beginnings of friendships. And being inappropriate to other commenters is not the best way to build a community of friends in my opinion.

  • Capo Regime

    What is this seminar for $4900.00 that I can write off as education and have sex with strangers?  Share please!

    Do check the link another commenter put on Arthur Devany on Zen.   Devany is a genius (he really is) of course James would be upset that Art thinks that Yoga is idiotic–which it is. 

  • DaemonC

    James I hope you are right! I really need to know this.

    • DaemonC

      Once again this is pretty awesome, James. And let’s remember to appreciate all what life has to offer on this great green earth.

  • Almost one more in the randomness category. I have definitely read the absolute opposite some other place. Know everything about yourself etc.

  • Scott Trader

    Thanks James.  Love you man. 

  • Carlos

    I don’t think the Beatles are a good example of the 10 000 hours rule. They weren’t great because they had played for 1200 nights in Hamburg; they were great because they were geniuses. I’m not saying that knowing many songs of all styles wasn’t necessary for their success; it was necessary, but if they had started writing songs earlier, they would have been equally great. 

    Every musical genius needs to listen to a lot of music first, but you don’t need to play 1200 concerts in Hamburg (probably repeating the same playlist with gradual alterations night after night) to become a great songwriter. It surely helped them to learn to perform so when they got big, they were used to playing concerts.

    Several current top-earning producers/songwriters got big before they were 20 or in their early twenties. Others made it big later, but often their problem was that they lacked business savvy and it took them years to figure out how to get into the industry.

    The same goes for artists. Many artists want to make music for their specific audience and don’t want to “sell out”. If they get a record deal, the record company tells them, “Look, if you wan’t to have hits, you have to keep it simple, like ‘I met her at the party and we danced through the night, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.'”

    Honey Honey is an example of a band that has good music but lacks business savvy. They have a very good song called “La River” (, but they didn’t even bother to create a video (which wouldn’t cost them almost anything), so some of their fans created it for them. But you won’t find it on the band’s official Youtube channel. The prime example of how you can be broke despite having great songs is the band Anvil. The documentary about them is a case study of how not to market a product with mass appeal.

    I’m not saying that you don’t need to know a lot about something to be successful in it, but some people have more business savvy than others and need much less than 10 000. 

    •  Individually, none of the lads struck me as being a born genius. However, they were smart enough to get management, marketing and production help after playing 1200 nights in the rat hole…anybody who isn’t a success in the music (or any) -business- doesn’t want to be.

    • Hey Bulldog

      Great musicians/artists/anything are made over time. There’s no case where someone fell out of the sky a fullyformed genius (not even Mozart. Great early talent but in no way genius.) The Beatles had some brilliant songwriting. Brilliant. They are a key piece of modern music. But they didn’t even play the instruments on Elenor Rigby, etc. so it depends on how you’re looking at it.

      • Carlos

        Another example of how an artist short-circuits herself because she doesn’t understand how the music industry works:

        The label suggested that Santi ‘Santigold’ White should seek out “known hitmakers”, like RedOne, who worked with Lady Gaga, and Stargate, who worked with artists such as Rihanna and Katy Perry.

        “I hate LMFAO and David Guetta. (When writing the album) the label were like, ‘Where are the hits?’ 

  • Fermín

    Brilliant. Best post I have read in a long time.

    Thank you.

  • Things, others, yourself. Sort of a social graph with a product/business thrown in the node matrix..  Reminds me of Rene Girard’s ideas on desire.

    Additional Comment:Think of what others need/want more than your own desires for riches.  Empathy goes a long way.   It makes it easier to detect new markets.  Odd facts:1 Your blog is read by all 4 of us brothers in my family.2. Right now i am isolated on a farm in southwest Missouri.  I just heard coyotes howling.50 feet from my window is a barbed wire fence surrounding a field where 60 cows roam.Racoons routinely attack and raid the chicken coop around the corner.

  • Angel Milev

    So nice to be “trapped in the present”. 
    So many people waste their lives stuck in the past. I spent half my life trapped in the future.So, I agree on the he perfect to be here part.

    •  I know what you mean about being trapped in the future. There are so many benefits for forgetting the past and forgetting the future (without giving up on your responsibilities but only doing what you need to do TODAY).

      Two things about the past and the future:
      A) they aren’t even here NOW
      B) people are afraid they will be less happy if they forget about them not realizing they will be infinitely happier if they just rememberNOW.

  • Robin Heinen

    Compliments for perfectly summarizing in the last two lines! That’s the only message people should really understand. Stop complaining, start enjoying! Pure poetry ;-)

  • Kat

    Hi James, what if you had a section below each blog post with recommended related posts to read on your blog? That would be cool :)

    Thanks for another great post, I’m very new to your blog but really enjoying it. Even though I have to say you’re wrong about wine tasting evil.


    •  Kat, thats a good idea. I used to do more linking in posts but i read that people “lose attention” during a post then. I need to figure this out.

      • Kat

        Oh, I meant at the end of the post I.e. ‘if you enjoyed this post, here are some others you might like’. Like a trail to follow I guess. I find when I’m reading blog posts and I get into them I always want to go looking for something that then builds on it. Either way I’ve enjoyed going through your archives though.

      • Did you ever figure it out? :)

    • Although every single post is “recommended” , its still a good idea to have something like that :)

  • Why did no-one else tell be about the need for things?! This is clearly where I have been going wrong. A glaring oversight. 

    Never mind, I’m off to take over the world (inspired by you dear James). Wish me luck…

  • Jim Plunkett

    That was an excellent post

  • Markle

    James – there’s some good sense here. AND, I’m curious about the statements “Any “teaching” that involves sales techniques should be avoided. Then it’s a business and not really out for your best happiness”. This implies that no businesses are working for good or the betterment of people. Seems to me the best businesses are those that do indeed help others AND are profitable. Are these two goals mutually exclusive? And, just because I have to “sell” you somethings, does that mean it’s bad for you?

    • I’m just referring to “teachings” that try to get you to feel empowered in your life. The reason is: I think the solution is so simple it shouldn’t be branded, marked up, and exploited. Just like I drink tap water usually instead of expensive bottled water (which often contains more harmful chemicals)

  • James thanks! You are a true pragmatist. Especially #3 is very very important. Most people cannot make it because they let their past rule their future.

  • I’m gonna “bite” at this post. This is definitely one of your better ones, James. And I like that you say, “and ‘teaching’ that involves sales techniques should be avoided.” But where does that leave all the career coaches that are giving advice but really want their readers to sign up for their free newsletter? Sure the newsletter is free, but the more people that sign up, the more the career “expert” can boast high numbers of followers etc. the more advertising they can get on their blog. I’m conflicted about all of this. And I don’t have a newsletter or  anything, but I have to include myself in this camp. I guess it’s not quite the same as saying the Landmark example you talk about.

    On another note, I do question how easy it is to find time to teach yourself what you need to know about XYZ topic if you’re working fulltime and have kids and have to keep working fulltime. Yeah, I’m one of the lucky ones that can do what you’re talking about… 

    • Its hard: working full time, kids full time, and teaching yourself something new. Very hard. But add up all the times when you are not doing one of the first two things. What are you doing during those times? 

  • I think you’d like this article – It goes with the theme of living in the present.

    (And on knowing things – it probably takes less effort to know stuff than people expect, but more than many are willing to expend;-)

  • Tsolias

    James, very perspective article,somewhat original.I believe that many people including me search for what makes the self made who they have become.We are working constantly to implement what we see,hear,and read about them.Sometimes in my case this is leading to concrete stubbornes fueled by the absence of flexibility that comes with the territory of knowing and not doing.My observation about the super rich whisper me that they share a different ego of being, they act like they are detached from themselves and the change they provoke yet their actions engulf everyone around them ( and the markets too).It’s like they are a driving force (and a greedy one) who focuses outward all the time.And I am not talking about the Steve Jobs types-rather more about the average businessperson who makes the breakthrough.

    By the way,I am a 25 year old, a (very) “small” business entrepreneur and a Greek citizen too. It is funny to read that people pay these huge sums of money for seminars.I mean,are careerist public speakers for real?Have you ever met a real businessman who stated that a “guru” or a “seminar”  improved his finance?These here are taken only as fads,probably because our economy is so tough that it makes sense that no guru will blow away the beast that we face every day.

    Also interesting about your article is that if we use reverse logic within your 3 rules

    Ignore Every Detail Of Your Industry
    Ignore Other People’s Problems (Commercialy Speaking)
    Think Only About You and Only You

    result?….it makes for a lousy businessman,

    But great dictator and leader’s alike know how to make people not thinking about themselves.So is this last role some kind of sophistry?

    Although politician here in Greece like Evagellos Venizelos,Papandreou or Karamanlis have stripped robbed the common lot throught the years,during the crisis,their propaganda through the media is that we must sacrifise ourselves in order to avoid bankruptancy(while they drink martinis and leaving in mansions).So what you do is to propose the death of ego so that the ego can gain from its own death? If death is not a fancy word we can use the word “eradication” Very interesting themes you put forward in this blog.

    However James I sense that you neglect to mention how much feelings weight in human behaviour.What are the top 5 or 20 emotions you need to feel to succeed? haha that would be something.

    Also any cure for people who are passionate about money but not about their industry? I am one of them.That doesn’t of course make me special,everybody(almost) is passionate about riches-in the fantasy world.

    Sorry for my bad English,

    Reading your blog every week,you are cool,

    From Greece,



    •  I’ll answer your main question. You say: “Also any cure for people who are passionate about money but not about their industry?”

      This condition corrects itself over time. Hopefully before you go from young to old.

      • Tsolias

         James,how you mean that the condition corrects itself over time?

        Thank you in advance,

  •  ANother winner, James!
    We are suckers for Three’s.
    However, this is The Only Two Things You Really Need To Know to Succeed…and Just One of a Gazillion Things You Don’t Need…

  • Here’s another answer:  put in an extra 5 minutes.

    at my 1st “professional” job out of college I worked for a small company with very ridged rules regarding time.  two 20 minute breaks (Although a pal and I quickly figured out that if we invited the president of the company to join us and we listened to his geezer stories that could easily stretch to an hour), an hour for lunch and quitting time was 5 pm.

    This was in Chicago and along about 4:40 or so people would begin to gather their belongings to get ready to leave.  In the big open bullpen area there was a large clock.  Usually by 10 to they’d be already, bundled up in their winter coats ready to go.  There they’d sit watching the second hand slowly sweep away the minutes until 5.

    The moment it hit the magic number, there was a rush thru the door and by 5.02 the joint was empty.  Just by staying till 5.05 I became the hardest working guy in the place.

  • Erhard was not ever a Scientologist and he didn’t start Landmark. Landmark was started by his former employees

  • Travis Fields

    …perfect until I HONK YOUR NOSE that is!

    (I’ve always been tempted to do that to a Yoga Teacher, but they’re so darned serene.)

  • The David

    I agree with your post. I discovered a new, more fact-based religion, but no one can understand it except a few individuals close to me, and I would never market it.

  • chrisG

    I truly enjoy reading your posts and am starting to use some of your thoughts and ideas in my own life.   If you don’t make money of your blog —- what do you do for income?  I found out about your from a interview where you talked about the economy with one of the blowhards from a money newletter.  (He said gold was kind and you were like – what does gold do that is productive? I was hooked and looked you up and now read your blog very often!

  • Entrepreneurmonk

    You may or may not make money, but there is a value in all the people who like you enough to comment on your posts.  
    Friends are the most valuable thing we have, because when we are in need they will provide, and the thing humans need most to be happy, being a social creature, is friends and not feeling alone.
    I would say you have made a true fortune here.

  • Ericgigliotti

    Are you in any way related to Jesus Allaha or Buddha…Just wondering…

  • stalkinghorse

    I did Landmark a while back and found it pretty useful. Congratulations for not falling into one of the extremist damnation or salvation views of Landmark that seem to be most of what one finds on the net. Here’s a reasonable, thorough review someone did of the course that’s kind of like what I’d write myself if I wasn’t too lazy to bother: 

  • Jo M.

    This is a terrific blog, and I’d like to add something important to James’ list: Having worked in the cosmetics industry, I could make a list of 100 reasons NOT to go into the skin care busineness. BUT, the successful person will follow James’ list and MORE, and uncover the hidden opportunities everyone else misses. Because there is probably ALWAYS a list of 100 reasons not to do every occupation–it’s the mega successful who cut through the thick jungle of NOs and find the million dollar idea. Just tell yourself, IT’S THERE, and find it!