Over the past year, I’ve been having a blast interviewing first generation millionaires and successful business owners on what their theory on success is. At the same time, I’ve been asking struggling entrepreneurs the same question. What I’ve found is simply astonishing, especially in light of how popular beliefs on success is often counter-productive to any lasting and meaningful success.

Ultimately, success or failure begins and ends in your mind. Too many people make the mistake of the “opposite assumption clause.” What exactly is the O.A.C.? Well, by way of example let me give you two simple statements that I’ll use to show you how this principle plays out in the minds of many business people.

*”Success is reserved for the ‘lucky ones’.”

*”Success is the result of planning, preparation, hard work, unwavering dedication and commitment.”

People often come up with irreversible beliefs based on these theories. Many times they determine that the ”’opposite”’ of each statement is also true.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s take the first statement, and break it down. If success is really only for the “lucky ones,” then it can be assumed that if you’re not successful, it’s because you’re unlucky. Now who’s to blame for that?

This view takes personal responsibility out of the equation because it assumes success is dependent on ”’luck.”’ Since in this belief, success is seen as an arbitrary gift giver throwing itself on the few “lucky ones” for no identifiable reason, success will seem out of your control.

OK, now let’s look at the second statement. Successful business owners all across America will often tell you when asked that success is the result of preparation, hard work and persistence.

Where do you think the difficulty might come into play if you believe this statement to be absolute truth? If we are to agree that success is the result of hard work, then are we to assume those who have been unsuccessful in what they pursue are not hard workers?

What if you put these success principles to work, by diligently researching, planning and preparing before you start your own business? Does this guarantee success?

If the end result of all your prep work resulted in poor cash flow that ultimately caused your business to go under, you could argue that even those who prepare may not necessarily succeed. Then you can feel justified in rejecting statements made by the “lucky ones” telling you that success is the result of proper planning.

And what about all those hard working folks who toil in the factories and sweat shops? After all, these people are physically the hardest working people on the planet. This is where the phrase “working smarter — not harder” comes on the scene.

Why am I focusing on platitudes and sayings on the theories of success? Because people put so much stock into what they hear as “common wisdom.” Consequently, people live by the beliefs they’ve created to support their reality about their world. What is theory becomes ironclad belief.

We will only work as diligently as we believe we should, according to what we believe is possible. Your brain doesn’t want to waste energy on something you believe is futile. So if you think it is impossible to obtain success, or that you may risk failure and attribute that to a personal flaw, you will likely not even try.

When people follow the opposite assumption clause (OAC), they will continually find themselves struggling in their business and life. Justifications, excuses and finger pointing will be the topics of conversation for these people.

Instead, you want to question the platitudes, old sayings, clich

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