Looking for the Secret to Success?

There isn’t one.

And if someone tells you they have the secret to success, they’re lying.


I used to look for success in books, or those ten step articles on the internet. You know, the ones with the click bait titles like 10 Easy Steps to Riches. I spent too much of my time reading and taking notes and doing exercises. A lot of good all that time did me, right? If I had all that time back… It would have been better spent experimenting with my own path.

How do they get you? They tell you that they’ve studied the greats and compiled all their life lessons. They’ve pains-takingly analyzed and synthesized until they discovered the magical steps you can follow. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Let’s put it to the test, shall we?

Here is a list of hugely successful, contemporary writers:

  • J.K. Rowling
  • Neil Gaiman and
  • Andy Weir (that guy who wrote The Martian)

If I take crucial aspects from each of their stories, I can create:

The 3 Steps to Writing a Blockbuster:

  1. You need to be a single mother
  2. who never went to college and
  3. accidentally got discovered after self-publishing on the internet.

What are you waiting for? You have your path to success, now, take it!

I know that example was silly, but it’s designed to make a point. Otherwise, every single mother who skipped college could publish a free ebook and land a book and movie deal.

When you take the “typical path,” or the average path or the path other people have trodden, you miss your own path.

I’d like to quote The End of Average by Todd Rose:

“We presume the best way to be successful in life is to follow that well-blazed trail. But what the pathways principle tells us is that we are always creating our own pathway for the first time, inventing it as we go along, since every decision we make—or every event we experience—changes the possibilities available to us.” (p. 139)

Rose points out in his book that nothing is average and our insistence on averages has made airplanes crash, ruined educational systems, and confused our ideals about everything from beauty to career paths.

What’s more important is finding your individual path. Take chances, make mistakes, do your best. There is no one true path to success… there’s not even several.

Thank you.

David specializes in helping the eccentric, the misfit, the shy, and the ignored.

I invite you to learn more about how you can find your own path.

phoenix icon for correspondence course
“Year of the Phoenix Correspondence Course”


The Secret to Success is a Lie?
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