Success: How to seemingly defy the laws of probability

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Googleplex

Outside one of the Google headquarters buildings. Yes, there is lots of food inside.

On the way to the Google Top Contributor summit Monday night, I wrote this posting, which became the subject of the Construction Marketing Ideas newsletter released on Wednesday.  I’m repeating it here for readers who didn’t receive the newsletter.

Can you defy the laws of probability?

Is there a way you can discover success, even in hard times, without straining, struggle or crazy luck? I believe the answer is “yes”, but you need to suspend disbelief and think from a different perspective to achieve odds-defying success.

For example, I’m writing this note in a first class seat on a flight from Chicago to San Francisco, on a flight paid for by Google, even though the search-engine giant’s revenue-generating program, which earned me this trip, disabled my account twice – and disablings are supposed to be life-time penalties.

How did this happen — and how can you succeed despite the laws of apparent probability?

The answer, I have discovered, that you can change the rules when you apply intense energy and focused perseverance to an activity or skill, to the level that you become a genuine expert in the topic area.

Your area of focus can be highly specialized and seemingly obscure and may not even relate directly to your primary business or profession – but if it is important to a sizeable group, it still has value.

How do you decide on your area of focus? Well, it helps if you really enjoy it. Then you must be pragmatic. You may love golf but you won’t win the PGA unless you are exceptional. However, could you connect your love of golf to a deep understanding of some aspect of the sport and perhaps some intensive community service and charitable objective?

Then you need to dig into the topic, deeply, far more than most people would care to try.

An example: A few years ago, when we had business operations in Washington DC, I faced the daunting challenge of $1,800 airline fares for day trips from Ottawa. I don’t fault the airlines for setting these fares – after all consultants, lobbyists and government employees on expense accounts fly this route – but I needed to spend my own money.

So I learned how to twist Air Canada’s frequent flyer Aeroplan program like a pretzel to the extent that the airline invited me to Montreal for a meeting (and then changed the program’s rules to prevent future “abuses”.)

Next, you must apply your knowledge in the service of others in your community who care about the matter.

I shared my airline observations with fellow frequent flyers on the Internet (and received an invitation in a closed group to learn even more knowledge.) More recently, I helped others who had experienced “account disablings” from Google’s AdSense program, to the extent that Google staff recognized my contributions and invited me to join a select group worthy of the all-expenses paid visit to Mountain View.

Combine the two knowledge sets and I knew how to easily exchange the free paid economy-class ticket for a first class ticket for $175.00.

Then, to achieve even more success, you need to apply this combined knowledge in the aim of higher objectives. Can you reduce poverty, help fund research to cure cancer, bring your family up with love, cohesion and respect . . . can you share far more than you hope to receive?

The end result is that you will live an incredibly rich and fulfilling life. Sure, there are curve-balls, things don’t always work right, and sometimes even when you do everything right, everything wrong happens. However, I’m a firm believer in the ideals of multi-faceted achievement, focus with specialized knowledge, perseverance and generosity of spirit.

Suspend your disbelief. Become an expert in something you care about, and share your knowledge freely and without fear to those who can benefit. Yes, you’ll live well. I count my blessings.

P.S. This resource (affiliate link) from Brian Tracy will help you discover your talents — a key element in success.  While Tracy and I have some differing perspectives on social and economic issues, his distillation of common-sense personal development ideas has influenced me.

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