Why the Best Advice on Success Is Wrong

By Ruth Barringham

I’m an avid reader on the subject of self-help and success and I do glean a lot of useful information from it all. I also try quite a bit of the advice and some of it works and some of it doesn’t, but it’s not because it’s bad information, it’s just that it doesn’t work for me.

The real problem though is that there’s one piece of advice that I keep reading over and over in so many different places, and it’s advice that is sworn to make you more successful than you already are, and it’s said to be what ALL successful people do.

So what is that advice?

The advice is that all successful people, no matter what industry they work in, they all get up early. They also set goals and make to-do lists.

This advice simply doesn’t work for everyone. For example, the author Dean Wesley Smith, stays up late and writes into the early hours of the morning and then sleeps till noon.

I also know someone who worked for years as a really successful computer programmer, who worked from home in the evenings, got up at mid-morning and spent lazy days walking, swimming and spending time with family.

Likewise, legendary copywriter, Eugene Schwartz, often said he didn’t get up until 9.30 every day and was his desk by 10 and then only worked for 3 to 4 hours.

So just by looking at those 3 individuals it’s easy to see that not all successful people are early risers and goal-setting machines.

And I find that being a writer means that it’s more important for me to be creative which means I need to be in a relaxed state of mind instead of needing to get up early and spend time trying to achieve goals.

What I find works best for me is to simply spend time writing every day. As long as I’m writing, I’m moving forward and getting my work done which is more important than chasing goals, stressing about it, and never seeming to catch up with what I’m trying to do. Naturally I do have goals but it’s not a daily thing I worry about. I just check them now and again to see how I’m doing.

It’s taken me years to figure out that the only thing I need to do is keep on writing, keep on moving forward. This also works for the rest of my life too. As long as I’m productive, I’m moving on and getting things done.

And I can tell you that getting plenty done in a day is a lot more satisfying than writing out to-do lists and trying to stick to the timeline of getting them done no matter what.

So as long as I write every day for as long as I can or as long as I want to, it’s enough, and I don’t need to worry about what time I get up every day, although I’m a natural early riser anyway.

And if it works for me, it works.

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