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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Being Real and Being Successful: Part 1

I've been advising people that genuineness is a prime element in one's success in any endeavor. You will see this is the case in both personal and professional matters. Character matters, and like the spots of a leopard or stripes on a zebra, character doesn't change. It only gets revealed.

Genuineness has many advantages. It conveys that you can be trusted, that you mean what you say, that your actions and deeds carry more weight than your words and that you are perfectly happy to be judged on your record.

Contrast that approach with the people who demand that you trust them. These are the people who implore you: "Trust me." I'm not talking about the ones with decades of experience who really are saying, "Look at what I've done the last 20 years." That is not asking someone to trust you; it is asking someone to look at what you've done! I'm talking about the people who try to make you feel obligated to trust them.

Trust is not health care; it is not an entitlement. (I didn't really just write that, did I?). Business -- or any successful relationship, for that matter -- is not about one party sacrificing. A successful relationship is symbiotic, featuring a mutual benefit, a willingness to act for that mutual benefit, and an act of trade.

What is the opposite? The act of taking. Someone who demands your respect, your trust, your business, without having demonstrated his character or credentials, has not only not earned your business, but is demanding something FROM you. The code word is trust. The stated meaning is "trust me." The real meaning, the scary but true meaning, is "Give me." It's no different from the stickup man who points a (presumably) loaded gun at you and demands, "Give me all your money!"

This act is not respectful. It is not symbiotic. Rather, it is what biologists call parasitic behavior. And in nature, successful animals -- survivors -- run like hell.

Learn to trust your instincts, or what some people have called, "peasant wisdom." The world is full of stupid people -- after all, that is why the average IQ is 100 and for all you smart bankers and white-collar professionals out there, that means there's someone who's as far below average intelligence as you are above average intelligence.

This means the world is full, chock full, teeming in fact, with some really stupid, dull and boring people.

This is why the lexicon of the upper classes of England -- a declined former superpower from whose aristocracy we can learn much -- includes the word "common" as a pejorative. As in, "that is so common."

But the common people have a nose for who can be trusted. Unlike those of us who are overeducated -- and some who are overmedicated, overtherapied and overindulged -- the commoners have not learned to ignore instincts to indulge an egotistic need to prove their intelligence or affirm their educational, professional or socioeconomic status (the latter really being a form of narcissistic approval-seeking).

This listening to instinct, the survival instinct, explains why many lower-intelligence people survive (a form of success, if survival comes from self-sufficiency instead of dependency) and some lower-intelligence people are far more successful in business than many far more highly-intelligent people. Don't get me wrong; there are many pure frauds and phonies who are in positions of apparent success. But that image of success is transitory and unlikely to be sustainable. Remember, almost all frauds unravel or get discovered, and all frauds have a common core of a person who is a pure fraud at his or her core.

Genuineness, at its core, requires honesty with oneself.

The absence of this trait from your life may explain why you are not successful, why you aren't retaining clients, why you are still stuck in a cubicle, and probably why you're still single (and very likely to remain that way) despite your good looks and superficially charming personality.

The presence of this trait shows why some people will be happy and successful, sometimes despite facing incredible adversity.

In future articles I will expand on this theme to explain how to determine why you aren't successful, and how to change that.
Eric Dixon

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