How to Win

“Losers give other people what they want, winners give people what they need.”

-Me (Yeah, that’s right.  I quoted myself)


When I think of bad speeches, there are two that come to mind.  The first was a standup comic asked to showcase at a convention where performers go to try to book gigs.  He proceeded to spit out every airline food and recycled 80’s joke about how there are thousands of channels but nothing on.  The second was the CEO of a large company, speaking at a large event his company sponsored for high school students.  He decided that what we all wanted was to be taken on a guided meditation of the event and it’s underlying philosophical meaning.


In both of those instances, the speakers chose to deliver what they thought the audience wanted.  I’m sure they were both well intentioned, the first thinking he was going to show everyone how relatable he was so he could appeal to the widest market, and the second thinking that we wanted to hear how profound we were all being.


Instead, what we needed to hear from each of these people was completely different.  The comedian should have been showing us how he was different, rather than how he was the same.  We needed to know why we should pick him out over other performers.  In the case of the CEO, what the students needed to hear was that this speaker “got” why they were there…and it wasn’t because of the philosophy.

No Magic Bullet

People don’t know what they want, because what they want is usually not what they need.  Consider someone who’s overweight.

What they want is a magic bullet that will make them lose weight in their sleep while allowing them to munch on chocolate cake throughout the night in an Ambien-induced binge.

What they need is someone to slap some sense into them and show them what and how to eat…even better, get into the psychology of food and, assuming it’s not a genetic issue, get to the heart of why they eat and nuke it!

So why don’t people do this?  Why do we have so many weight loss “gurus” telling you that you can lose 80 lbs by following one simple rule?  Why do we have internet ads touting “One weird trick to grow your penis 4 inches in 4 weeks?”  Why do so many people still sign up for MLMs despite the fact that everyone and their uncle knows they don’t work past the first level or two?  It’s because the real solutions – eat smart and exercise, get some confidence in your tiny wiener, go start your own business – are hard.

It’s much easier to keep feeding people what they say they want, rather than what they need.  But we also do this to ourselves.

Think of all the times you’ve taken the easy way out, the times you should (Don’t punch me for using the word, Ramit) have done something, to affect a change, but didn’t.

The Facebook Effect

It’s why we have so many mom and pop stores hopping onto Facebook where they quickly gain all of their children and their children’s friends as fans, but never move past that point.  What they need isn’t Facebook, it’s hard work and solid marketing.  Microsoft isn’t a success because it has 820,000 fans on Facebook, it’s got 820,000 fans on Facebook, because it’s a success.

I’ve been a “fan” of no fewer than 8 of my friends’ and friends’ parents’ businesses on Facebook.  Guess how many I’ve bought a product from.

Did you say eight?!  What are you high?  The answer is zero.

Facebook and Twitter are great for business owners who want to have an immediate feeling of success with absolutely no effort and no results.

Want proof?  Start a Fan page today for your pet, significant other, hammertoe, or whatever, send a mass message to all of your friends, and ask them to become a fan and ask them to pass it on.

I’m certain that within a week, most average people could have over 100 fans.  Does this mean that your hammertoe is famous?  No, it just means you’ve wasted your time.

So, all those business owners “feel” successful because they got instant results, which is what they thought they wanted, when what they needed was much harder.

So, with all that said, I want you to consider your goals and any steps you’ve taken towards them.  Then, ask yourself whether you are doing what you want to do or if you are being real and honest with yourself about what NEEDS to be done.

This isn’t about sitting around singing Kumbaya.  If you’re not going to do what needs to be done, you might as well stop trying now.

So, what do you NEED to do right now to achieve your goal?


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