The Onion Theory of Success

Ever notice how an onion looks so simple on the outside? It is a smooth simple sphere. Its exterior gives you no clue as to the complexity of the layers within.

Here is the insight illustrated by the simple onion: success is simple but not easy and that it is at the same time simple and complex.

Like an onion, the principles or essentials of success are simple on the surface but more complex the deeper you look. Any initial list of Success Essentials is short. However you can and should look more deeply into each one and learn its complexity within.

I tell you that success is simple and yet not easy in that the basic things you must do or avoid doing are really rather simple. They are a set of disciplines anyone can learn and anyone can do. They are not easy because to be successful you must do these things (or avoid other things) with discipline – consistently, day in and day out. For most people exercising that kind of self discipline is not easy. It may not be complicated or difficult to do one hour at a time or one day at a time. But for most people it is very difficult to do every day, every week and every month for years. In large part though the difference between success and failure is the willingness and follow through to master these simple disciplines and then do them without fail day after day after day.

Most of the success books you see reduce the ultimate success principles or rules down to a handful, maybe 7 or 10 or a dozen. This is done for two reasons. First because in its essence the essentials of success are really only a few key things. However to thoroughly understand those essentials and to apply them to a variety of situations requires a refinement of them.

In Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles he identifies 64 important principles for success. Is 64 the magic number? Or does this book include the magic number? Or is it the 7 Habits of Effective People or the Ten Steps to Success or any of the other many formulas you have read about? It is all of them and more. There is no magic number. You can divide this onion in as many layers and slices as you like. You can reduce it to a critical few or you can expand upon those critical few, and break them down into 64 or 100 or 1000 subdivisions.

The important thing for you to do is to work with the level of detail that is useful to you: the level that works for you. If you are a “big picture” person who would rather limit the details and work with large round numbers than you may prefer to work with the short list of essentials. If you are a detail minded person who likes to analyze the inner workings of everything you may find the long complex list more useful.

For many starting out with the simple list works best and then delving into the more complex aspects as time goes by is easier.

If you find that the short list is not working for you and you need more detail to flesh out the principle and apply it to your circumstance than use the more complex sub-lists.
Whatever level of complexity you choose or find most helpful, remember that the key is the consistent and thorough application of these principles, not for hours or days, but for weeks, months and years. This is what builds success.

You decide how deeply to peel your success onion. The important thing is to continue to use what you learn from examining that onion and never give up on that quest.

Over time these disciplines will change you. They will change the person you are and make you into a success minded and success oriented person who finds success most of the time. I say most of the time because no one is successful every single time. We all must face our setbacks and failures. Keep moving beyond those and success will be yours.

In future Blog posts here I will discuss those success essentials one by one on both the simple and the more complex levels. In 2009 I will come out with my book, The Success Essentials, which will put all of that together for you. You will see an announcement here and on the website when the book is available.

Begin peeling your onion. Success awaits.

Wishing you Success and Prosperity,

Daniel R. Murphy

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.