This Article Originally Published June 2002

by Michael Laskow

I read a good book a couple of weekends ago, and I couldn't help but think that some of things I learned from it might be valuable to you as well. The book is entitled, "100 Simple Secrets of Successful People" by David Niven, Ph.D.

The book is a compilation of various success traits as noted by numerous scientific studies. I found their findings to be eye-opening and very inspirational. I couldn't help but think about songwriters, bands and artists as I was reading the book (no big surprise there!), so I'm laying these on you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.


What is the difference between people who willingly take work home with them on the weekends and people who scoff at the idea?

What is the difference between people who work hard all day and people who do as little work as they can possibly get away with?

What is the difference between people who sign up for night school classes and those who can't imagine going back to school?

What is the difference between the most driven and the laziest person?


Researchers find that perceived self-interest, the rewards one believes are at stake, is the most significant factor in predicting dedication and satisfaction toward work. It accounts for about 75 percent of personal motivation toward accomplishment.

We all do what we do because of self-interest; we think it's the best thing for us. Those who work hard do so because they believe there is a reward awaiting them that not only justifies their efforts but also demands their dedication. Those who do not expend them-selves do so because they cannot see the long-term benefit of work outweighing the short-term benefit of laziness.

Remind yourself of the value of the things you want, and the costs to you in effort will not feel as great.

Watch a movie or TV show, and see what makes people successful and happy. It's usually some almost magical quality or event.

In real life, the main difference between people who achieve and people who do not isn't as exciting or mysterious, but is as important. It is simply conscientiousness. People who approach things with order, common sense, consistency, and persistence will ultimately succeed.

Most of the things you really want are not going to come to you overnight, this week, or next month. Most of what is truly important to you will take years, sometimes a lot longer.

How can you go on, knowing that you have so much further to go?

Persistent people arm themselves with the knowledge that what they want can be done. They focus not on the distance they must go to get what they want, but on the belief that what they want is possible, that they can do it. Persistent people also understand that as important as it is to understand the task in front of them, it is even more important to understand themselves and the perspective they have on the future.

Comparing people who tend to give up easily with people who tend to carry on, even through difficult challenges, researchers find that persistent people spend twice as much time thinking, not about what has to be done, but about what they have already accomplished, the fact that the task is doable, and that they are capable of it.

The things you want aren't easy to get; otherwise you would already have them. We are faced with the daunting fact that in an effort to pursue our goals, to ultimately make our lives better, we must first endure and sacrifice.

You could minimize your efforts now, which would offer momentary comfort but leave you ill suited to achieve in the future, or you could maximize your effort now and create an ideal future.

Among managers in upper-level positions (substitute successful songwriters, artists, and bands -ML), 84 percent report having had to deal with a "period of discomfort" in their lives. Some took career risks, worked long hours, or acquired new skills, but they saw the sacrifice as necessary to pursue employment, promotion, and success.

So there you have it gang; self-interest, conscientiousness, persistence, and sacrifice are key factors in bringing success to your life. No surprises, but sometimes it's just good to be reminded.


I wish you all success in your music careers!