Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could know what was going to happen tomorrow the day before?
In one way, that means you would’ve already lived today. Before today even happened. You would know all because you would have already done it. You could know before it happens.
There is a way to do this—it’s called “other people’s experience.”
Whatever problem you are encountering, you and I are not the first to go through it. People before us have already experienced the experience. They are familiar with, capable of, and proficient in whatever.
It is up to us to find out what they know, what they learned, and how we can own it. That can be done by reading. By watching biographies. By interviewing older and even younger people.
But be prepared to humble yourself.
When Andy was offered his first publishing contract for his first novel, The Traveler’s Gift, do you know what I did?
I walked into a bookstore and bought Book Publishing for Dummies.
Here I was—a guy who had sold over 600,000 copies of a self-published book series (Storms of Perfection Series)—buying a book on book publishing. For dummies.
But guess what? Reading the book gave me all kinds of nifty insider info on what to make sure you get in a book contract. Like a little thing called the movie rights.
Who’s the dummy now? :-)
Reading can fast forward you in any area of life. Pick a subject, any subject—and read all you can in the next 60 minutes. You are looking for one idea that could change everything or send you in another direction.
There’s a funny thing about a new idea; it leads you to another and another.
If someone is alive, then he has experience in something. Wise people want to know what that is. They ask questions. They take notes. They review and study them. They analyze, apply, and ask some more questions.
It helps to know the rules of football or any game before you get on the field. There is a playbook. These rules do not require your opinion. It would behoove us all to find out what the rules are in any endeavor we are pursuing. The great news is that you do not have to make this up as you go.
Publishers have rules. Record companies have rules. There are even rules that speakers follow. The more you know ahead of time the smoother it will be for you when you arrive. The less you know, the more foolish you will look…and the more you will spin your wheels and waste your (and others’) time.
Remember, you can Google anything. Literally anything—any subject, any question, anything that you need to know more about.
“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” —Dalai Lama XIV
There is a time to buck the system. To go against the grain. To break the rules. To be the person who makes the entire room do a double take and say, “Huh?!”
But you have to first know the system. Once you know the system and have mastered it, you can then tweak it and do what no one else has ever done. You can then do the impossible.
Don’t believe me?
Times I Mastered the Rules, Broke the Rules, and Did the Impossible:
- Made The Traveler’s Gift hit the New York Times Bestseller List…six months after its release. We followed all the rules, did everything we were supposed to do, and the book did nothing upon release. Everyone was ready to give up. That’s when Andy and I used our own money to buy thousands of copies to mail to influencers around the country. And wouldn’t you know that a copy just happened to find its way into the hands of Robin Roberts of Good Morning America? Six months after the book was “dead in the water” it became a bestseller.
- Hired college kids to create and design all of Andy’s online stuff. I spent years mastering “traditional” hiring before I got tired of traditional results. So I hired two college kids to do graphics and web coding. They created a website that got the best results I’d ever seen. They have since created their own company that was seed-funded by Techstars—Help Scout. (By the way, if you are a small company and insist on delivering outstanding customer support—you MUST check this company out!)
- Managed one single act for over 30 years. It is still a learning process. But, somewhere along the way, I created enough of an illusion that I know what I’m doing for a few people to consider me a master of artist management. The rules say I should be managing a multitude of different acts right now. But I don’t. And you know what? After over 30 years, both of us are happy, excited, and can’t wait to see what happens next.
When you do the impossible, you will look like a genius to many people. What they won’t know is that all you did was master—then tweak, improve, enhance, and perfect—what was already there.
It would be foolish to try to re-create the wheel every single time you get in your car to go somewhere. I see people trying to re-create the wheel daily. The amount of time that is wasted on something that was already done is appalling.
How many times do we do this on a daily basis? It’s childish, elementary, and idiotic. Get the manual. Get the handbook. Read the books. Seek council. Find a mentor. Hire a coach. Do not try to do this on your own or figure it out from scratch. There is simply too much information out there to not take advantage of it being so accessible.
Rulebooks for Life:
- The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino – You would not be reading this sentence if it were not for this book. It changed my life second only to the Bible.
- The Bible – Don’t let this one scare you or blow you away. It doesn’t even matter if you’re a Believer or not. There is something inside its pages for every situation and season of life. Even after 2,000 years—it is still on the bestseller list.
- The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – Another person who mastered and broke the rules. In fact, he broke them so badly that thousands of people told him he was going to Hell. None of those people wrote books that anyone reads today.
- Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar – If you think you’re not in sales, you’re wrong. We all are. On a daily basis. This book will make you better at life in general
- Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine – It’s fresh on my mind because it’s new and I just finished it. De-stress, de-clutter, and simplify your life. Principles that will be relevant 200 years from now. This is for moms, dads, and ALL others.
- Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud – Another modern favorite. Life is too short to deal with foolish people. This book will teach you how to recognize them before it’s too late.
Question: What are YOUR rulebooks for life? And what rules have you mastered and then broken?