Successful people have the same 24 hours in a day as everybody else, yet they have a very different mindset and focus than most people. Learn the 12 Characteristics of successful people taught by PR legend Michael Levine, who has represented Michael Jackson, Pizza Hut, and much more.Sign Up to Watch
[MUSIC PLAYING] teamtreehouse.com for success characteristics, grow your business
-Now moving on to Success Principle Number Three here to help you grow your business, OK--
-But the people who were stupid, lazy and [INAUDIBLE] did have belief that they could do it.
-Well, you know, tying into the belief that they could do it, this third characteristic is a big one. The willingness to sacrifice.
-And Martin Luther King Jr, famous civil rights leader, he once said, "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle, the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." Can you tell us about the level of self sacrifice that you've seen with the ultra, the super successful clients that you're worked with?
-Yes. First of all, what you're speaking about it so vivid, vital, important, so understated in America today. I am so, so worried, as you know, we've talked privately about our civilization. I want to do what I can, alongside good people like you, to declare and wage a war, a jihad, against this notion of effortless prosperity.
This is my final life's work, this idea. It's the most corrosive notion that somehow-- by the way, if you or anybody out there wants to write a bestselling book, it's pretty simple. Here's what you've got to do. Go call it, "How to Eat Cheesecake and Be Thin". You've just got to lie because Americans want to hear that you can eat cheesecake and be thin. But here's the problem, you can't. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. So if you want to be-- I represented some great Olympic athletes.
CLAY CLARK: Yeah.
CLAY CLARK: Oh really?
-Dorothy Hamill. Now, you say Michael, ice skaters, great ice skaters, Olympic champions. How did Dorothy Hamill do it? How did Nancy Kerrigan do it? Well, let me help. Here's what they did when they were kids. They ate, slept, and skated. That's pretty much it.
CLAY CLARK: Those are balanced.
-Occasionally go to a movie once a month, but they ate, slept, and skated.
CLAY CLARK: Yeah.
-Now, did they go to every birthday party? No. How about playing Candy--
CLAY CLARK: No.
-How about posting pictures of their food on Facebook? Nope. How about kitty pictures?
-Nope. How about wasting time on this, or that, or the other thing? No. No. Their focus, their sacrifice, their willingness in the cold mornings, in the hot summer evenings, to do that which no mortal would do, none of their friends would do, over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
On days when they felt like doing it, days they didn't feel like doing it. Days when they had colds, and days when they had runny noses, and days when their dog was sick, and all of it. All of it.
So you raised the question of sacrifice. And the thing that scares the hell out of me about our civilization is that this goal of effortless prosperity just scares me,
-It's interesting how a lot of the entrepreneurs I meet who are the most successful, whether they're sick, or tired, or they have an injury, they find a way to just get it done at work, just to show up.
-They're tough folks.
-Yeah, they're honey badgers. I mean--
-Yeah. I don't know enough-- I was reading last night your book. I don't know enough about honey badgers, but I think it's an interesting metaphor in that they just keep-- yeah, and they're tough. Women are tough, entrepreneur women are tough, men are tough, and all it. They're just tough and it helps them grow their business.
-I want to tell you a little bit about why I'm obsessed with honey badgers. They basically live off of the larva of bees and snake flesh. And so they constantly get stung and bitten. And their bodies have adapted to where they're immune to that. It's amazing. I want to ask you this.
MICHAEL LEVINE: Before I met you, I didn't know anything about it, but that's good.
-I would get you a live honey badger as a gift, but they're a little bit dangerous. Characteristic number 4 is the ability to communicate effectively. You talk about this in Guerilla PR 2.0 with such clarity. I want to read you what you wrote there, because it was awesome.
-Here's my goal. I don't have all that many goals left in life, but one of my goals is to get on your recommended book list. Absolutely! I want Guerilla PR 2.0 to be on your recommended book list.
-I love that. I can't take 100% credit for your success, but I can say I've definitely purchased at least 35 of those things.
-In retail? Yeah, yeah. None of that used stuff. So here we go. Guerilla PR 2.0. "Ramble along from kindergarten through high school without learning a thing on the subject of communications. Yet communications is the No. 1 key to success in business." Again, you talk about how people can ramble along from kindergarten through high school without learning a thing on the subject of communications.
-What did I say, number-one rule for success in business? Number-one rule for success in life. You've got to be able to communicate.
CLAY CLARK: You went on to say this-- you said that you have "personally known many people who while they had a measure of talent and a willingness to work have never been able to rise in their professions as they would like."
MICHAEL LEVINE: Let me tell you a story about that. I represented a very brilliant comedy writer-- a great guy. And he wrote many, many, many of the humor pieces for the Academy Awards. He was the chief writer for the Oscars. When you go out and see the Oscars and all that funny stuff, he was right there. I used to represent them. I hadn't seen him in a while. We had lunch to catch up in Beverly Hills. He's such a great guy. I'd known him so long.
I said to him, "How are you? Have you been? I haven't talked to you in a while. How's the last year been for you?"
He said, "It was an interesting year, Michael. It was a good year, an interesting year, a big year."
I said, "Really, why is that?"
He said, "I had to fire my agent." I said, "Really? Oh. I didn't know that."
I said, "How long had you been with them?"
He said, "Oh, about seven years."
I said, "You had to fire an agent after seven years?" And I knew who the agent was, and I knew agency that the agent worked at. And I said, "Interesting. Why? Why did you fire him after seven years?"
And he looked at me, and he said, "Not a leader of men."
-Not a leader of men?
-Not a leader of men. Isn't that interesting? I said, "What?"
He said, "This gentleman-- nice guy, worked OK. Not a leader of men."
-You talk about this in your book, and I want to bring this up, because there's a lot of specific things. If you're watching this, you really need to go out there and get the book.
CLAY CLARK: It's Guerilla PR 2.0. Get it tonight. You talk a lot in that book about how if you're an effective communicator, there's different characteristics that are very common there. Some of the things is being confident when you speak. And you have a lot of these characteristics that you've laid out specifically in the book. Can you quickly talk about what it means to be a poor communicator?
Self-awareness is a huge thing. For me growing up, I wasn't very self-aware until I had the wise counsel of some mentors who pointed out some things I could do better. And now I try to point out the things I could do better to myself by listening to myself or editing myself or watching myself or asking other people for feedback. What are some of the most glaring examples of poor communication that you think the average person maybe could work on if they're serious about getting good at this skill?
-One, not listening. Good communicators are good listeners, by definition. Good communicators are very curious folks, by definition. Good communicators love and study language. By definition.
-So if you have somebody who is not a good listener, Michael, are they a good communicator? No. No. Michael, if the person doesn't love, have interest in an appreciation for language, are they a good communicator? No. Curious, if they're not curious, are they a good communicator? No. No.
Now we're in a hotel here in Santa Monica right out by the ocean. And I'm very interested in what you have to say, and I'm interested in what your crew has to say and their lives and their stories. But I'll tell you, if I'm waiting for my car with the valet parker, I'm going to ask him how he is. What's going on with him? What's the hardest thing? I might say to the park man parking my car, "Sir, tell me the truth. What's the hardest thing about your job? And what's the easiest thing about your job?"
Now if he just groans at me, I know he's likely to be parking cars five years from now. If he says, "Well, I'll tell you the hardest thing." OK, in the soulful words of Marvin Gaye, what's going on? Tell me. Let's see, where are we going? How's this story turning out? And then I know we've got some possibilities here.
-You are big into this next characteristic. You demonstrate it personally. But this next characteristic is a decision to outwork others.
MICHAEL LEVINE: Yes. Because I'm not, here why, I'm not that bright. I'm not that bright. And did I mention, I'm dyslexic? See? But I outwork you, son. I don't know if I outwork you, but I outwork 99.999% of Americans and here's why, it's not hard.
-Yeah. I want to bring this up, because this is a big quote here. Elon Musk, one of the founders of Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla, we could go on and on all the things he's done.
MICHAEL LEVINE: I wish he'd get serious.
-Yeah. Well, he says this. He says, "Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. This improves the odds of success."
MICHAEL LEVINE: The most important thing that you said was not the 80 to 100, it was the every week. See you can't do the deal. The champion doesn't practice 38 weeks a year, takes one off for Valentine's Day. That's the every week, the 52 week deal.
-Well, see, diligence is basically, a paraphrase of the definition, but it's a steady application of effort. And I think that's a huge thing that I had to learn early on in my career was I would push really hard then I'm like, I've worked hard, I need to probably. And you'd kind of get back up to the top of this mountain and then go way down the valley. And your average is flat line.
-This is exactly why I get frustrated. Now I did not go to college. And I have nothing against people going to college. I think in today's environment, it is an important part of the American educational experience. But they teach you, you're paying them a lot of money.
-A lot of money.
-Listen carefully. Here's what you paid your college to teach you. Christmas is a month. Christmas is a month. See, in colleges, they teach you that Christmas is a--
CLAY CLARK: Month
-Month. See? But in real life, they leave college, Christmas is a day. See? Now, if you're walking around the planet from 18 to 22 going to your college, paying a lot of money, giving your trusted wisdom figures, your counselors, teachers, and principals, and they say Christmas is a month, and I tell you you're gonna leave college 22, Christmas is a day.
Send us your email address, and our team of elite minds will get right on it.