If you want to succeed in life—and I mean really succeed—you have to be ruthless. †

Are you dreaming of doing what you love, being content, not having to worry about bills and working only if you must? You can. It’s possible.

The secret is that before this can happen, you have to dream it, believe it and then do it.

The dreaming-and-believing part constitutes 90% of the process, with work being only 10%. The ruthless part means cutting out all activities—and people—that do not contribute to the above.

The face of ruthlessness

When I first started writing books after a broken marriage, I wrote novels. These novels were decent, but they weren’t my passion. 90% of my energy was spent working on the novels with only 10% believing. Naturally—on an earthly, natural level—I did not succeed. In retrospect, it was obvious because I was struggling when, in fact, as I learned later, the best writing comes effortlessly. (By effortlessly I mean 90% dreaming and believing and 10% writing).

Although what I say appears counterintuitive, it works. It really works. I understood this conclusively—i.e., fully integrated and believed my own advice—in the summer of 2018 when I created a spectacularly successful Facebook promotion for my book, 101 Gold Nuggets of Advice, which reached close to 2 million people worldwide. This kind of success can be yours if you’re ruthless and become a ‘machine.’

A machine

Let me explain. In the sense of ruthless, I mean—and repeat—cutting out all activities that contribute to pouring your time, energy and efforts into directions that do not lead to success. And by success, I mean your balanced completion in body, mind and spirit—the new definition coined by Arianna Huffington that supersedes the no longer relevant, two-legged stool called ‘Power and Money.’

Don’t get me wrong, when you attain this new definition of success—actually an old definition that’s now being remembered and reworded for modern ears by New Sages and Wisdom Keepers like Arianna Huffington—you will also get power and money; the difference being that you know better than to glorify them instead of placing the emphasis on your fulfillment and completion as a spiritual being in a physical body.

To become a ‘machine’ is to ruthlessly focus on your hopes, dreams and aspirations. Machines, however, need to be greased and—from time to time—get turned off; so, it goes without saying that you still need to sleep, get plenty of rest and attend to your bodily and spiritual needs. The machine in this essay is a metaphor for a new and ruthless way of focusing on that which propels you—healthily. A computer program is ruthless in that it is binary—yes or no—without allowing for any digressions in the coding. A Kung Fu expert is ruthless in that his moves must flow and be perfect in the sense of being devoid of any extraneous moves. In order to attain this state of mind, you must learn how to keep things simple, control errant thoughts, and maintain a Zen-like state of mind.

Bruce Lee embodies the correct state of mind

The 12 Steps to becoming a Machine:

  1. Learn how to know who you are and what you really want out of life. (To be discussed in depth in an upcoming piece for Thrive Global.)
  2. For any activity you do, ask this question, ‘How much do I enjoy doing this and is it beneficial to my success as explained in this article?’
  3. Regarding Step 2, if the answer is ‘not at all’ or you feel lukewarm about an activity, cut it out of your life, ruthlessly.
  4. Stay humble always. This is Gold Nugget #55 from my book, 101 Gold Nuggets of Advice.
  5. Don’t overintellectualize things. Allow yourself to feel more and flow.
  6. Remember that less is more.
  7. Only accept guidance from those you feel 100% comfortable and safe with.
  8. Be grateful for everything God gives you. This is Gold Nugget #53 from my book.
  9. Be fearlessly uncompromising—especially if you’re a woman, but this could apply to men, too—when you perceive that a man is trying to unjustly use male privilege over you.
  10. Understand that rejection is a stepping stone to what you really want. See my article on Thrive Global, The Transformative Power of Rejection.
  11. Celebrate small victories. They will lead to bigger ones.
  12. Let your uniqueness shine like the light of the sun. This is Gold Nugget #75 from my book.

Image credit:

(1) The face of ruthlessness* | Photo by Manyu Varna on Unsplash

(2) A machine* | Photo by Isis França on Unsplash

(3) Bruce Lee embodies the correct state of mind* | Source: Wallpapersboom[dot]net

*Title of image attributed by Luba Rascheff, not by the photographer.

† I refer to the ‘transcendental type of ruthlessness’ in Chogyam Trungpa on Buddha Nature, ruthlessness, and aggression found here.