What Won’t You Do To Succeed?


Years ago, while attending a Dale Carnegie convention I was watching a speaker explain the complexities of playing the harp, while playing the harp. He gave a complete talk on discipline and work ethic while playing classical music on the harp! It was and still is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

I commented to a colleague sitting next to me that “I would give anything to be able to play a musical instrument.” He immediately replied that since I couldn’t currently play a musical instrument it was apparent that in fact, I actually wouldn’t give anything at all.

I disputed his viewpoint by saying that I knew what I wanted, not him. He calmly replied that if I would in fact “give anything” to play a musical instrument then I would be able to play the musical instrument of my choice.

I said I saw his point but said that I was just too busy to be able to commit to lessons, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn, I just didn’t have the time to learn.

It was then that he said the most amazing thing, he said “then actually it’s not that you would give anything to be able to play a musical instrument, it’s really that you won’t give anything up to be able to play a musical instrument.”

He went on to say that it was really a question of priorities. He said that if learning a musical instrument was truly a priority then I would stop doing something that was a lower priority so I could start doing something that was a higher priority.

I don’t really remember much of what the speaker said, I don’t recall the songs he played on his harp. But I do recall the lesson I took from my colleague seated next to me: What you don’t do will have as much impact on your success as what you do.

When was the last time you did a daily activity check to see what you could eliminate from your busy day? When was the last time you stopped to ask yourself is what I’m about to do going to keep me busy or make me productive?

Stop doing the low productivity things that we all do at times. Stop doing the urgent “stuff” that prevents you from doing the truly important things.

There is no question about whether you have the time to succeed, you do. You’ll just have to stop doing something so you can do something else. That means the real question is: What won’t you do to succeed?

6 thoughts on “What Won’t You Do To Succeed?

  1. Steve, very timely post. As leaders we must remain focused on the things the bring success to the team. It is very easy to become distracted by “busy” work. To be continously growing in our lives, we must keep priorities in line, and focus in on things that help us to achieve our goals.

    1. That’s so true David, I often catch myself doing very low productivity “stuff” that does little to help me achieve my goals. My team follows right along so my “distractions” really kill us. When I focus on the right things, at the right time, we do great things.

  2. So have you stopped something to learn a musical instrument yet? I like this, sharp and to the point šŸ™‚

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