The Strangest Secret
Know what will happen to 100 individuals who start even at the age of 25, and who believe they will be successful? By the age of 65, only five out of 100 will make the grade! Why do so many fail? What happened to the sparkle that was there when they were 25? What became of their dreams, their hopes, their plans ... and why is there such a large disparity between what theses people intended to do and what they actually accomplished? That is ... The Strangest Secret.
Some years ago, the late Nobel prize-winning Dr. Albert Schweitzer was asked by a reporter, “Doctor, what’s wrong with men today?” The great doctor was silent a moment, and then he said, “Men simply don’t think!”
It’s about this that I want to talk with you. We live today in a golden age. This is an era that humanity has looked forward to, dreamed of, and worked toward for thousands of years. We live in the richest era that ever existed on the face of the earth ... a land of abundant opportunity for everyone.
However, if you take 100 individuals who start even at the age of 25, do you have any idea what will happen to those men and women by the time they’re 65? These 100 people believe they’re going to be successful. They are eager toward life, there is a certain sparkle in their eye, erectness to their carriage, and life seems like a pretty interesting adventure to them.
But by the time they’re 65,
- 1, only 1, will be rich,
- 4 will be financially independent,
- 5 will still be working, and
- 54 will be broke — depending on others for life’s necessities.
Only 5 out of 100 make the grade! Why do so many fail? What has happened to the sparkle that was there when they were 25? What has become of the dreams, the hopes, the plans ... and why is there such a large disparity between what these people intended to do and what they actually accomplished?
THE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS
First, we have to define success and here is the best definition I’ve ever been able to find: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
A success is the school teacher who is teaching because that’s what he or she wants to do. A success is the entrepreneur who start his own company because that was his dream — that’s what he wanted to do. A success is the salesperson who wants to become the best salesperson in his or her company and sets forth on the pursuit of that goal.
A success is anyone who is realizing a worthy predetermined ideal, because that’s what he or she decided to do ... deliberately. But only one out of 20 does that! The rest are “failures.”
Rollo May, the distinguished psychiatrist, wrote a wonderful book called Man’s Search for Himself, and in this book he says: “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice … it is conformity.” And there you have the reason for so many failures. Conformity — people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or where they are going.
We learn to read by the time we’re seven. We learn to make a living by the time we’re 30. Often by that time we’re not only making a living, we’re supporting a family. And yet by the time we’re 65, we haven’t learned how to become financially independent in the richest land that has ever been known. Why? We conform! Most of us are acting like the wrong percentage group — the 95 who don’t succeed.