One of my earliest mentors had his office walls adorned top to bottom, side to side, with big, handwritten signs intended as cautions to others as well as reminders for himself. If youve ever been in a direct sales environment, youve probably seen such a place. Two of the biggest signs read "You Can Hire Spellers For Minimum Wage" and "Thumb-Suckers Not Welcome Here."

Crafting the Value of Your Skills

My mentor was a millionaire, and in one company, held a commission record at the time of slightly over $1 million that he earned in 37 months. But he could not spell. And flaunted it. He said that since you could hire perfect spellers for minimum wage, he preferred learning and thinking about more important things things that could not be bought so cheaply.

He was talking about the concept of value. Value is fundamental. In boom times or tough times, in big business or small business, in any occupation or career, the person who makes himself most valuable and creates the most value for others (as they perceive it and are willing to pay for it) always prospers. If your income isn't where youd like it to be, youre not creating enough value.

His advice was to devote all of your time and energy to doing and selling something that youve mastered that is also valuable to enough people that they will cheerfully pay just about anything for it. Most people who fail to achieve their aspirations in business do the opposite. They are consumed with doing things of low value, and then are surprised to discover they reap small harvests.

It's not easy to become organized, disciplined, and relentlessly focused on creating value daily by learning and experimenting more, making more useful contacts, and by doing other things that have the most value.

I've written four books that reveal different paths converging at this same point. Association with others working on this same skill is helpful. Dis-association from those not dedicated to this premise is also helpful.

Creating a Zero Tolerance Policy for Whining

Which brings me to the other sign. He had zero tolerance for adults still sucking their thumbs. If you wanted to whine and cry like a baby when something didnt go your way, you were told to go home, stick a pacifier in your mouth, and hug your blankie. The economys a bit tough right now, and I hear too many adults who sound like babies. Actually, its just one of those times that the entire economy woke up grumpy on the wrong side of the bed and is telling everybody that thumb suckers are not welcome here. And this must be your personal policy, if you are to prosper and thrive while most others do not. Which is, incidentally, all the time fewer than five percent have 95 percent of the wealth flowing to them all the time. The disparity is just more visible and stark, and the judgment of the critical marketplace more quick and harsh at some times more than others. You need zero tolerance for thumb-sucking, personally, or by anybody you permit in your world staff, associates, vendors, and even customers, friends, neighbors, media voices you listen to and authors you read.

The power of association is an enormously powerful and irresistible force for good or evil, for gain or loss, for growth or regression. Do not discount or underestimate it, and you can and should strategically use it to your advantage.

The Why People Fail articles are provided by Dan S. Kennedy, serial entrepreneur, from-scratch multimillionaire, speaker, consultant, coach, author of 13 books including the No BS. series (, and editor of The No B.S. Marketing Letter. Articles 2009/Glazer-Kennedy Insiders Circle LLC. All rights reserved.