Success is a fickle thing. It comes easier to some than for others, but it’s almost never impossible to achieve. With the right attitude and a few good habits, success gets easier and easier. Apparently, former president Lyndon Johnson had something to say on the topic.
I learned about Johnson’s 10 keys to success from the book “The Magic of Thinking Big“. Good book. It was written back in the late 1950s, so references to salaries and other numbers are, in a word, downright hilarious.
Few people would accuse any president of lacking in the way of success. These individuals know how to connect with people. They manipulate the world around them in their favor. Lyndon Johnson was no exception.
I thought these keys were so interesting that I needed to write about them.
Lyndon Johnson’s 10 keys to success
- Remember names. Inefficiency at this point may indicate that your interest is not sufficiently outgoing.
- Maintain a comfortable persona so there is no strain in being with you. Be an old-show, old-had kind of individual.
- Acquire the quality of relaxed easy-going so that things do not ruffle you.
- Don’t be egotistical. Guard against the impression that you know it all.
- Be interesting so people will get something of value from their association with you.
- Get the “scratchy” elements out of your personality, even those of which you may be unconscious.
- Sincerely attempt to heal every misunderstanding you have had or now have. Drain off your grievances.
- Practice liking people until you learn to do so genuinely.
- Never miss an opportunity to congratulate anyone’s achievement, or express sympathy in sorry or disappointment.
- Give spiritual strength to people and they will give genuine affection to you.
In truth, I suck at almost all of these. I am horrible with names and I would consider my entire personality to be fairly “scratchy”. Though, I am about as easy-going as it comes, and I definitely don’t consider myself to be a know-it-all (to point 4). I don’t necessarily like everyone I meet, though. At least automatically. I need to practice implicitly liking people more!
The one point that I got down pat is maintaining a comfortable persona. It’s like being with an old friend when you’re around me. I will ask you inappropriate questions after we first meet. I will pretty much agree to anything within reason. I’m not all that hard-headed. You wanna try a new IPA at the brewery? I’m game (even though I hate IPAs). Have an interest in fishing next weekend? Sure, why not (I don’t enjoy fishing). I’m a very go-with-the-flow kind of person.
Or, want to try cross-dressing to finish out the week? Okay…might draw the line here, but after a few IPAs…maybe not? You get the point.
Remembering names is super powerful. Have you ever had someone end the initial conversation with strong eye contact and a “it was a pleasure to meet you, Bill / Nancy”? When they use your name, it creates a powerful connection between you two.
My in-laws do this incredibly well. At restaurants, they make a point of getting the waiter or waitress’s name and they use it. The service has a way of getting better that way. Our drinks always seem to remain full. Sometimes, discounts (or intentional omissions) wind up on the check. We even had a waitress give us a coupon for a free beer at my favorite Tucson brewery because we were nice to her and called her by name (yes, she told us so!).
Being nice and using names really works.
Reading keys to success is a fun exercise…so fun, in fact, that I feel compelled to come up with 10 keys of my own. Whatcha think?
My 10 keys to success
- Be an agreeable person
- Be relentlessly happy – always
- Care not what other people think of you
- Never expect perfection; it is unattainable
- Don’t hate; it takes way the hell too much energy
- Do not worry about elements outside of your control
- Have confidence in yourself; believe that you will succeed
- Make the best decisions you can and commit to them 100%
- Be proactive – don’t wait for things to happen; make them happen
- Never forget your mistakes; learn from them to make fewer of them
What are your keys to success? Here’s a challenge – write about your keys to success in one of your next blog posts. Just like I did with Johnson’s keys, give us your thoughts on his keys, then write your own. How many of Johnson’s points come naturally to you?
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.