I’ve spent more money than I should have trying to learn about success. But I’ve come to learn that most of what I need to know about success is available free of charge. A good example: here’s a great list of questions if you’re interested in providing a service (a blog, a business, consulting – basically any service you can think of):
- What needs do people have that I can fulfill?
- What trend or trends are present here?
- What opportunities do they present?
- What are the current gaps in the marketplace?
- What is the insight that can lead me to create greater value in this segment?
- How can I leverage what I know about this category or industry that makes sense for my [work] and my brand name?
- How can I test the efficacy of my idea?
That’s a small sample, just for illustrative purposes. Where did those questions come from? These success ideas came from Thomas Edison, and they are remarkably applicable 100 years after he said them. I am trying to apply these ideas to my thought process about future work after my current career winds down. And if you don’t think that the traditional type of work most of us corporate types do isn’t winding down, you aren’t looking at the trends.
As someone who aspires to write about success, I’m always amazed at how many inspirational or useful pieces have already been written. So much of what’s written about inspiration, getting rich, etc. has already been covered better and earlier. Even what I’m trying to write about success has probably been covered better by people like Ben Franklin or Andrew Carnegie already. It’s there and it’s available, and we (I include myself) often don’t take advantage of it as much as we could.
The simplest, most straightforward success ideas are right there. They are public domain works. They are free lectures. They are blogs. They are open source software tools. You don’t need to buy anything. You don’t need to attend a seminar. So much knowledge is free already – the concepts behind wealth and health and happiness. Don’t buy another self-help book, just hit the Internet. In 10 years it will all be monetized and privatized, but right now it’s the biggest treasure trove of free information the world has ever seen.
My favorite source of free information (these days) is Project Gutenberg and blogs (mainly because I love reading the books and blogs on my Kindle
- 300 Free Online Courses from Top Universities | Open Culture
- Free Online Course Materials | MIT OpenCourseWare
- Free audio of some great success literature like The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
And of course hundreds of blogs and online magazines. Any other suggestions?