The Single Most Important Factor in Success

I have taken inspiration from a post by Dan Kennedy.  These words ring true for so many people.

It’s been almost eleven years since I retired from the military.  I have written books, talked in front of crowds, been on Executive teams crafting business strategy.  None of this most people would have thought possible. Before that, I entered the military at age 18, travelling across the world, becoming a paratrooper, Master Jumpmaster, Special Forces soldier, Warrant Officer, Special Forces A Team leader.  Once again, if you would have asked, many people would have said that Martel was not up to it.

SpeakingThe fact was that many would have told me not to try it. The reason I was able to do what I have done and continue to do many new and different things is that I refuse to take no for an answer.

I think the overwhelming majority of people in my boots would have given up.

But I did not.

The result being, I have done many amazing things and still get to do what I most want to do.

I believe you are never too old, never too young, never too poor, never too anything to be required to give up on your dreams. They never give up on you.

Most people who make a lifelong practice of giving up on their dreams, ideas and opportunities wind up mastering only one skill: excuse-making, so they have a long, comforting list of reasons why they have not done more with life.

I prefer results.

Time and time again, I have seen that THE single biggest difference between successful people and ‘the mediocre majority,’ between leaders and followers, between those who enjoy generally rewarding lives vs. those who lead mostly frustrating lives, is this…

How easily they take ‘no’ for an answer.

If you wanted to focus on the one single behavior that has more to do with success than medium_9698367137any other, this is it.

Most people take the first “no” that comes along, in trivial as well as important matters.

Somewhere along the way, people lose the ability to refuse to accept a ‘no.’

Children do not take no.  You will see a child in a store ask again and again if they can have candy, a toy.  They have not lost the ability to see possibilities and have not yet been conditioned to accept no, or you can’t, or you shouldn’t.

It’s New Years and everyone is setting goals for next year.  Goal-setting’s fine all well and good, but what good is it if you are willing to give up on or compromise the goals you set? The real key to success is “adamant refusal.” What conditions or circumstances or limits do you adamantly refuse to accept?

You need to have your big emotional purpose that gives you the motivation to not give up…and then refuse to accept that it can’t happen.

Consider financial success? Put up a sign that says, “I’m 46 years old. I’ve got an education, a family to take care of, a lifelong dream I want to fulfill and I’m embarrassed to still be struggling and broke in this land of abundant opportunity.”

You need to have the goal behind the goal.  For me, it was always to prove to myself I was better than anyone else thought. While I know now that what other people think really doesn’t matter, that was enough then to make me refuse to take no for an answer.

You have to identify an emotional reason for doing what you do. You have to get to the point of adamantly refusing to stay where you are and not getting what you want.

Don’t accept that you must wait for the right time…that nothing can be done…or too easily take no for an answer.

It has never been easy for me.  For most everyone, it isn’t easy either.  It only looks easy on TV.  In reality, it is extremely hard and miserable.  Getting fit will require sweat and hunger.  Making more money will require you to turn off the TV and do something to bring in the income. Your big emotional reason will keep you going.

Be relentless. Keep working long after others have given up. Think about what you want and work at it every day if not more often.

Don’t be afraid to be a pest or bother other people.  The only way to move forward is to take action. Call, chase down, bug, badger every and any person who might help you. Don’t give up. It can be done.

Let us know what you are going to do different in 2014 in the comments.


photo credit: jseft via photopin cc


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  1. Fernando says

    Dreaming the virtually impossible into something possible will always be the first hurdle in ones subconscious mind forging the correct tone and attitude towards achieving said goal will start you on your life’s journey, It will take you though many trials and wonderful learning experiences once you conquer your most inner self then you will be much closer to seeing your dreams turn into physical reality.

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