There Is No Such Thing As a Secret To Success

How smart people get suckered into gambling with their business

Joe Procopio


image by kamran aydinov

If someone is offering you the secret to success, run away.

Seriously, I can’t think of a more poorly-coded turn-of-phrase to describe a money-grab. In fact, it just seems dated and lazy. It’s like some copywriter somewhere didn’t take the time to dig into what the circus clown in question is actually selling — or they couldn’t be bothered to at least paint an original word picture around a well-rehearsed litany of platitudes.

I know the secret to success. No, for real this time — don’t run away.

But you’re going to be disappointed.

You know all those investor gurus that make a living selling their secret to investing? It’s the same thing.

Here’s the secret: Buy low. Sell high.

Here’s the problem: Unknowns.

No one knows what’s actually going to happen in the real world.

In business, even if you’re running a paint-by-numbers operation with a track record and proven methods and honest marketing, there are going to be enough unknowns once you hit the pavement to put both your success or failure in a world of doubt.

I liken this to poker. If you don’t play poker, skip to the next section where I’ll drop the secret to success.

Let’s say I have pocket aces. I’m going to win. Except there are five unknowns in the community cards that will follow.

Oh, there’s the ace of clubs on the flop, now I have three of a kind and I’m nearly unbeatable.

Wait, now there are three clubs on the board after the turn.

And then I get destroyed by a low-card flush on the river.

Those who do play poker are wincing because they’ve been there. Those who don’t, I actually suggest you pick up the game. Lots of life and business lessons hidden among those grizzled beardos and hoodie-wearing headphone punks.

The secret to success is to get really good at planning for the unknown.

I know that sounds like dancing about architecture, but it’s possible. In fact, anyone can do…



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at