Successful People Are Plonkers Too

An email from a reader of my online newsletter gave me cause to think consciously about something that up until then had been active on a subconscious level. Here’s what he said:

I think the fact you present your public face, and also in your newsletter you outline the fact that you are also human and aren’t afraid to present your vulnerable side when appropriate, helps.

I think what he meant – but was perhaps too polite to say – is that I’m prepared to let everyone know what a plonker I really am. And when I think about it, he’s right. Let me tell you why…

When I was growing up, and in the period before I started to have some business and financial success, I didn’t know any millionaires. I didn’t even know anyone you could describe as wealthy. Everyone I knew was just like me – or not far from it. The richest person I knew ran the local greengrocers. That gives you some idea of what I’m talking about.

Because I didn’t actually know anyone who had accumulated wealth, the rich were a bit of a mystery to me. And there’s not a great deal of difference (both literally and linguistically) between mystery and mystique. The information and impressions I had came from newspapers, glossy magazines and TV. And when presented in these selective media outlets, you don’t really get a true or accurate picture.

Everyone who’d achieved financial success seemed impossibly sophisticated or charismatic or glamorous or educated or skilled or… or… something other than what I was.

And it was all a bit off-putting and demotivating. When you aspire to something, the first stage is to believe it’s possible. If you see other people who’ve already done it – people who share your background, imperfections and insecurities – then that’s very powerful in persuading you that you can do it too. If you see people with whom you have little in common, it makes it seem all the harder and more distant.

Once I started to achieve some success, and got to meet others who’d done the same, I realised that, like me, there was nothing intrinsically special or unusual about them. The difference was in what they’d done… how they’d played the cards they’d been dealt… rather than what they were.

And so when I got the opportunity to communicate with people who were looking to move forward with their lives, it just seemed natural that I would present things as they are, rather than perpetuating myth and mystique. If you want to give people the best chance of following in your footsteps, why would you do any other?

The wealthy and successful are just like you. They started out with the same insecurities, doubts and hang-ups that you have today. They have the same stupid thoughts and, out of the public gaze, are just as capable of making complete pillocks of themselves as anyone else. They are made of no better or worse stuff than you and, as such, there are no genuine barriers to you joining them.

Kind Regards

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John Harrison  


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  Streetwise Publications