Half Truths

True or False? “Successful people do what failures won’t”

“Successful people do what failures won’t.”

I’ve heard this countless times, haven’t you?  From Tony Robbins to
the upline trying to motivate you to approach more people.  But this
mantra never worked for me when it’s used to motivate
dead downline. Two reasons.

1. To this day, most folks are talked into the MLM business
by promises of quick money.  When the new recruit discovers
1) that there is no quick money, 2) that success requires intensive
training and time, 3) that success depends on direct sales, sharing
and recruiting, some decide that’s not who they are and it’s not
what they want.  They said yes to an MLM marriage
without really knowing what they said yes to.

Has anyone else made such a mistake?  Jumping in too soon?

So now we will call them failures in life? Is this how we help others?
Knowing when to fold your hand is a key to survival and a chance
to play another hand.

2. The second problem with this mantra? Successful people know
how to say no.

We all know focus is what leads to success.  And focus means saying
no to everything that is not your main “thing.” Focus means doing
fewer things, not more.  Successful people focus.  Like Steve Jobs.
No one would call him a failure.  Yet it’s what he DID NOT DO that made
him such a world-wide success. He commented,

“Focus is about saying, No. And the result of that focus is
going to be some really great products where the total is
much greater than the sum of the parts.”
One of Jobs’ greatest talents was as an editor, selecting
what not to [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][create or] include in a product. It was that ability which
helped him save Apple from going off in 18 different
directions and do a few things better than any other company.

Many of the people Steve Jobs said no to were upset.  Like Adobe.
Their Flash is not in iPhones or iPads.  Lost opportunity and income for them
because Jobs said no. They have not said nice things about him
since then.  It’s OK, that’s human.

But.  Do you think the Adobe CEO would have tried to persuade
Jobs to change his mind (please buy our flash software), by telling him,
“Mr. Jobs, successful people do what failures won’t”?

Failures try to do too many things. They can’t say no. They have no focus.
That is why they fail.  Be bold. Say No when it’s not right for you.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Kim, I agree. To be successful we need to know what we want and to turn away opportunities that are not right for us at the moment. There are lots of opportunities out there but the truth is that we’ve only got 24 hours in a day.

  • I see me in the last paragraph…so true…but so difficult to do something if you have so much interests…I know it is a self sabotage, but still doing it. My “why” is not big or clear enough…Thx for good post.

    • Simona,

      Yes, I so know that for myself as well. Saying no leaves all your time and energy for that thing you DO choose. Making the decision at all is what is so hard. It’s what set people like Steve Jobs apart. Don’t live anyone else’s life. Choose what YOU want and then stick with it. You might love it madly. After you’ve made your first fortune, you can look at something else. 🙂

  • Kim, I always heard this said with the words “Successful people do, what unsuccessful people won’t do.” In either case, it best be said when used in a proper context. A proper context may be when someone really wants to be successful at a particular thing and need to be reminded to get what they want they must do certain things.
    Generally, I cringe when someone uses certain catch phrases to influence people. Things like “When I looked at this, it was a no-brainer for me.” This implies that the person who being talked with has no brains unless they can see what I’m offering as I do. Plain and simple, it’s a put down. People want to run from people that say things like this.

  • “Successful people do what failures won’t.” I heard it countless times too. I interpreted it as an “ok” for doing things differently from the way most people do them. I’ve used it when talking with people in my tiny team. But after reading this post I won’t do that anymore, or only with great caution, in a proper context, as Ted rightly puts it.

    Instead I will first learn to say “No” more often myself, become focused. I will also listen better when people that I approach are telling me “No” in a not so obvious way. That will save my time in a big way. It reminds of a sticker end of the ’70s in Holland that read in Dutch: “When a girl says NO, she means NO”. Part of the problem is that in our culture it is often considered impolite to say No, for girls perhaps even more so than for boys.


    Thanks Kim for this great post

  • Very nicely said. A person in love with the network marketing model could easily watch a webinar or something similar about a new biz op everyday. Focus and consistancy is harder than ever in our industry.

    Thanks Kim

  • I really needed to read this Kim. Fantastic post.

    This is something I struggle to implement in my daily life, and I am starting to feel the effects of my lack of focus.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Kim,
    Focus in Purpose determines production. Am now more clear about where/what/why/when/how for my ‘short’ production results!
    Committing to focus, Carolyn

Leave a Comment