What A Bricklayer Has To Teach About Creating Success

In “Lead The Field” by Earl Nightingale, he introduces one of my favorite metaphors for creating success in your life and career.

I don’t have the exact quote, but the metaphor goes something like this:

When you pass a building that has just started to be constructed, you see no form of the building except a layer of bricks or two. But, almost like magic, a couple weeks later, the building is completed.

This is the accumulative effect of daily success.

The bricklayer doesn’t go to his job expecting to complete the building in one day. He knows that it is a process. He also knows that getting this much done every day will yield the completed building in this many days or weeks. He doesn’t give up after one day simply because it feels like it’ll never be done…

So too can you adopt this philosophy into your life — whether it be your personal life or career.

Let’s say you are working at building a business from the ground up (like the bricklayer working on the building). Try and reverse engineer the process and break the total job into daily sections by working backwards. “In order to open my doors, I need to get all the legal paperwork done, have a website completed, have a payment processor setup, create a business bank account, etc…” Seems overwhelming, no? Of course it does!

By then breaking all those steps down even further, such as completing this particular form on this day, and this one the next day, you are creating daily successes that eventually accumulate into a finished product.

They say it takes ten years to become an overnight success… So too it takes time to have a fully completed project. But don’t let the time investment cause you to stop before you even start.

There are a few ways to help if you are somebody that gets overwhelmed easily.

First, reverse engineering the tasks down to daily minimums should help tremendously. If all you can handle is one simple thing per day, then do it! One thing is better than no-thing.

Second, use somebody to help create action plans. Maybe you personally can’t figure out how to break an overwhelming task down further, but a third party can. Having an outside pair of eyes, that sees the same world from a different perspective can do wonders.

And thirdly, there are pieces of software that help create and manage these mental maps. Utilize these to not only think about how to break large projects up, but to actually see the split parts. This will also help you keep yourself accountable by writing it down.

Awhile back, I wrote about Jerry Seinfeld’s method to becoming successful, dubbed the “chain-link method”. Seinfeld made a commitment to himself that he would write one joke every single day — whether it was bad or good didn’t matter. He would then make a big X on his wall calendar. These X’s would, at the end of the month, look like a big chain-link fence.

The point was that he was making it a habit to be successful. He wasn’t hoping for jokes to magically appear. He was actively working to write the material he needed to go onstage and ultimately become the highest paid comedian to ever exist. And it all started with one joke per day.

How can you adopt these habits into your life?

Until next time,

Jerrod H.


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