How Complete Silence Helped Me Figure Out Where I Was Going Wrong

By Neroli Makim
32 Comments

Hello again dear reader, I’ve been out of the Entrepreneurs Journey loop for a few weeks now and would you believe, it doesn’t matter at all!

Yaro posted a great article on the exact topic I was contemplating for my next article as I sat in silent meditation for 10 days… I wasn’t supposed to be thinking about my next article, I was suppose to be emptying my mind of all thoughts, but it kept sneaking in.

Anyway – seriously, I truly was contemplating the differences that make people either succeed or fail in their online business or any area of life for that matter. All the while I was contemplating this, I was acutely aware that the things that ensure success and some of what I was doing were NOT the same things : /

I actually began formulating this post in my mind whilst I was reading Mark Anastasi’s new book, “The Laptop Millionaire” and writing the review for it.

I noticed certain patterns that kept showing up in the people who had taken his information and become successful after implementing it. I was also acutely aware that I was not following those same success patterns.

Here are the elements I picked up from reading Mark’s book and hearing the stories of the people who had become successful online entrepreneurs using his techniques.

Element Of Success No.1

You need to be in a position where you are either at rock bottom or you feel you have no other options and absolutely HAVE to make it work.

As I read Mark’s personal story of how he came to be a successful online entrepreneur and compared it with some of the other success stories in his book, I noticed a common thread in that many of the people involved had either hit rock bottom or felt absolutely sure they had no other options but to do whatever it took to make their online venture succeed.

How Hitting Rock Bottom Creates A Solid Foundation

Mark was penniless, deeply in debt, depressed almost to the point of suicide and living in a derelict building with other homeless people when he resolved to do whatever it took to turn his life around. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Failure wasn’t an option simply because he couldn’t get any lower than he already felt he was in life.

His absolute certainty and steely resolve to turn his life around is the first ingredient that precedes success. Twenty eight days after making that pact with himself, Mark launched his first online business that would generate $10,000 a month in revenue.

Several of the people who share their success stories in Mark’s book were in similar difficult life circumstances, which gave them the intense desire and lasting motivation to do whatever it took to be successful online. These included, Rory, who had been unemployed for a number of years and had a new baby girl to care for, Jem, a businessman who had gone broke in the recession and was left with 400,000 pounds in debt, and Corinna, who had been made redundant and her unemployment benefits were about to run out and place her in serious jeopardy of being unable to pay for food and shelter.

As you can see, all these people shared the same vital ingredient that ensures success – they were in such a tight spot, they felt they had nowhere else to go and they resolved to do whatever it took to make their online venture work. Mostly, this comes down to an unshakeable commitment to themselves and their project so that nothing else has a chance to get in the way of their success.

Element Of Success No.2

So, what if you’re not destitute, homeless, massively in debt and the wolf is not at your door? Is there another element that ensures success if you’re not at rock bottom?

Yes, and Yaro spoke about it in his article, so I’ll try not to repeat things here. It’s mindset… and if you’ve read my other articles, you’ll know I love this topic more than anything.

Mindset was another element needed for success that I noticed kept showing up in other people’s stories Mark shared in his book. Several of Mark’s students who had gone on to build successful online business were already successful in their areas of work. They had the right mindset in place to maintain the discipline and motivation to apply what Mark taught them and do the follow through work until the project became successful.

Joey Bushnell was already a successful insurance broker when he began his online business that eventually allowed him to quit his job. Paul Mahoney was a well paid executive in a large corporation in Ireland when he attended one of Mark’s seminars, he implemented what he learned and made $50,000 in seven months of setting up his online business. Sarah Staar owned her own video production company when she began her online business venture that makes her $3,500 passive income per month.

So you see, you don’t have to wait until you’re at rock bottom to succeed, you can be doing just fine in life and still create a successful online business. The distinction that needs to be made here is that these people already had the right mindset for success though.

The 3 Character Traits That Ensure Success

Both groups of people I’ve spoken about shared certain traits that made them successful in their online ventures. They were all disciplined, motivated, and committed to accomplishing what they set out to do. Also worth mentioning is that they educated themselves in what was needed to become successful online, applied it and really worked at it.  

The first group became disciplined, motivated and committed to do the work due to their difficult life situations, the second group had already trained themselves to be disciplined, motivated and committed to do the work, so they didn’t need life to to take them to the edge in order to succeed.

Am I A Failure?

If I’ve not been successful with my online business so far, it’s because I haven’t had the lasting discipline, motivation and commitment to do whatever it takes. Does that mean I’m a total failure in general if I’m not succeeding in an area of life I’ve said I want to be successful in?

No, of course not. It just means you have other things you value more highly right now more than being successful in your online business. Take me for example, I haven’t exercised the discipline, motivation and commitment to succeed in the project I began after reading and reviewing Mark’s book.

I said in my review of Mark’s book that unless you were going to implement what you learned immediately, or at least in the next 24 hours, there wasn’t much point wasting your time or energy on reading the book. As it turned out, I still haven’t finished implementing what I leaned from Mark! I got started for sure, I interviewed four experts to create a product… and I’m still in the editing stages weeks later… So as you can see, I’m a total failure in this online business venture.

You Are Already Successful – Find Out How

But I have been successful in another area of life where I have incredible discipline, motivation and commitment to succeed, and this area where I am successful is one of my top values in life.

Earlier I mentioned I spent 10 days in silent meditation and that mindset is one of my all time favorite topics to learn about and write about. At the meditation center, I would wake at 4:20 am along with all the other students and sit in still, silent meditation until 9pm in the evening. We had breaks during the day of an hour and a half for breakfast, two hours for lunch and dinner, but the rest of the time was spent meditating.

Since leaving the meditation center, I’ve resolved to wake at 4:30 every morning and sit in silent and still meditation for an hour, followed by 20 minutes of qi gong, and my goal is to add an hour and a half of ashtanga yoga to that every other day, plus I spend an hour meditating in the evenings. As you can see, this shows where I already have significant discipline, motivation and commitment in an area of my life that’s really important to me.

Do This Exercise To Find Your Bliss

However, I have lacked discipline, motivation and commitment in my online project I started after reading Mark’s book. Here’s how I’m turning this around and how you can too: by acknowledging where I already have the same level of discipline, motivation and commitment needed for success, I am able to get my myself off the treadmill of self doubt that says I don’t have those three essential characteristics needed for success. Then I focus on all the areas where I have these characteristics on a daily basis and gradually begin to integrate them into other projects I want to succeed at, like my online project.

I strongly recommend that you look at your own life and find out where you already have incredible discipline, motivation and commitment. Too often, when we read about how to succeed or fail in life, then we get depressed or beat up on ourselves because we don’t think we’re being who we need to be to succeed.

The beauty in this exercise is that when you look closely at your life and find out where you already are highly motivated, disciplined and committed, then you can see what it is you value higher than other things in life. Then you KNOW what you bliss is in order to be able to “FOLLOW YOUR BLISS.”

Sometimes Pain Is Bliss

BTW, I love the above quote from Joseph Campbell that Yaro referenced in his recent article. I also referenced it in my book.

Joseph had more to say on this topic than he is often credited for in that quote. He also said…

If following your bliss is just fun and excitement, then you’re on the wrong path. Sometimes pain is bliss.

What I believe he is saying is that even if you do find the thing that makes your heart sing and you devote your life to mastering it, there is always going to be painful and challenging times on the path to success. In fact, success is dull, boring and empty unless we’ve been incredibly challenged and found our inner strength and wisdom to overcome those challenges along the way.

The Next Step

Now, just briefly, back to me failing with my online venture… just because I’m busy doing all that zen stuff doesn’t mean I’ve let myself off the hook! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. One of the reasons I’m doing all that mediation, qi gong and yoga is to work on my mindset so that I can change my behavior and integrate that same level of discipline into my business.

I’ve been back from the retreat center for a week and along with the other projects and work I do, I’ve been following through on the tasks needed to complete the creation stage of my online project. After that it will need a lot of follow through in testing various marketing strategies.

So dear reader, I’ll report back to you in my next article to tell you how I’ve gone with this project. I’ll also report back on how successful I’ve been at integrating discipline, motivation and commitment into my business from a different area in my life where I already have those traits. I hope you join me in the exercise and I’d love to hear what you’ve found are your highest values where you are already disciplined, motivated and committed.

Neroli

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock

About Neroli Makim

Neroli Makim is an intuitive artist and writer who loves exploring Creativity and its relationship to personal fulfillment and professional success. She educates people about Creativity, what it is, why it’s important and how to access it within themselves. For more information, visit www.yourcreativesuccess.com.

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32 Comments

  • Hi Neroli – great post from you!

    I don’t know, if meditation is for me (I’ve never tried it), but I know, that people must to have their own plans and dreams.
    And even failure shouldn’t stop them from making things, which they like.
    So we shouldn’t look back, but move forward.

    BR, Chris

    • Thanks Chris :) Still meditation definitely isn’t for everyone, but I know a lot of people get into a meditative state through all kinds of activities too, like playing sport, cooking, even writing computer code. It’s a cool thing to find what works for you to get that state of inner stillness, cheers, neroli

  • “You need to be in a position where you are either at rock bottom or you feel you have no other options and absolutely HAVE to make it work.”

    True. You have no choice but to go up.
    We all have pain, and there is a way to get out of it through more pain. Pain is good for you. It shows you what you are supposed to work on.

    Success will always be true winner’s goal. Excellent article!

    • Thanks Samuel :) It’s hard to swallow the pain IS good for us because we never like feeling pain…but in manageable quantities, it is the things that grows & evolves us into greater people. Glad you liked the article, cheers, neroli

  • Hi what a great read, I used to do meditation, only 30 mins at the most nothing like what you did however I did get great results. I used to play a friend at squash who would beat me every week. I decide before a game to sit and meditate.I went out and thrashed the pants off him, I didn’t do it again after that and always lost. I am sure there was a connection lol.

    Yes you are right, many people fail at one thing but that doesn’t mean they are a complete failure as they are often very proficient in other things. I believe it is all about creating new habits, if you love music and are trying to make a business online, it is very hard to resit the pull of music videos and sites. I spent many years playing and dreaming to music, to this day I am very successful at side tracking life to listen to music :-)

    Cheers
    Andi

    • Ha-ha, Andi, I can’t believe you got those results and then just floated off again ;) Actually, I can totally believe it! I began meditation10 years ago & got amazing results then just let the practise go! *sigh* I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out how to behave in the manner that makes life easier for myself rather than harder : /

      Thanks for your comment, I think immersing yourself in music sounds like a wonderful thing…I guess it’s just a matter of making that into something you can monetize if that’s what you’d like.
      cheers, neroli

  • I think there’s a big difference between being at rock bottom and having a successful mindset. Believe it or not, my personal belief is that being at rock bottom is one of the most exciting times in life. Whether one likes it or not (probably not!) rock bottom is a clean slate, an empty canvas that will really allow dreams to surface. For example, years ago I was let go from an administrative position that was hellish for me and I was so damn happy and exited. I practically skipped out of the office!

    For me, the motivation and discipline stems from passion and purpose. In fact, I’m so passionate about my work that I don’t even think about motivation, discipline and commitment. I just show up each day (after the stock market closes) and do my “work.” Believe me, over the years I’ve waited for the excitement to wear off, but it hasn’t – even with times that are challenging and sometimes painful.

    For you Neroli, you clearly have a passion for connecting with inner silence. It’s that passion that pulls you like a magnet thru the possibility of a day when for some reason you don’t want to meditate. Meditation doesn’t sound like drudgery for you. You sound drawn to it naturally. That’s good stuff. Is there more to think about here? What if you did more of that in life?

    Commitment? Discipline? Ok, but with a big sprinkle of PASSION.

    Thanks for another terrific article.

    Natalie

    • Hey Natalie, that’s a cool story about skipping out of the office job that was quietly draining your life away ;) I’m so glad you were released! And i totally agree that sometimes, somehow, rock bottom does actually feel liberating…raw maybe – but so incredibly real and honest. great comment – thanks for sharing…& good point re passion too!

      cheers, neroli

  • Great post Neroli that hit a few key points – Hitting rock bottom can be a big motivator – there is no other way but up! And mind set has to be another factor that can get you to the next level and open doors. Have a great day on purpose!

    • Indeed! A great day on purpose…that’s a timely reminder for me ;) thanks heaps! cheers, neroli

  • Adversities don’t always make us rise to the occasion.

    When they do, something inside of us dares to leave the fart-stained cushion that is our comfort zone and venture into new behaviors. And it’s my firm belief that the only time we become more is when we learn via behavior change.

    I believe learning = behavior change.

    Most people don’t. They think learning means having a realization. But the realization that affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online and that there’s 7 steps laid out for you in an information product you bought isn’t going to put any money in the bank to get you out of debt.

    But changing your “comfort seeking” behavior and pursuing “courage building” behaviors and habits will.

    It’ll be cool to see what happens as a result of you taking action Neroli and I commend you for venturing to do so and wish you the very best on your journey. :)

    • Ha-haaaaa Lewis! What a line! I’m going to have to steal “dare to leave the fart-stained cushion that is our comfort zone” right now & go and post it on Facebook :)

      Great comment, and brilliant distinction about behaviour change being the necessary element to learning. That’s so on the money…literally! Thanks for sharing that, very valuable.
      cheers, neroli

  • Nikki

    I am reading this book now. I notice that there have been a few of these books over the years that swear to millions by desperation. However, this is not so and really misleading for the beginner. I take these stories with a grain of salt. I have read stories in another book that showed someone needing money desperately and they became a millionaire in 3 months. Seriously unless you are holding onto a hot stock that you know or don’t know about, something like FB, or a piece of hot new tech, this just isn’t likely.
    I believe anything is possible but some of these quick rich stories are nothing but that, stories.
    I am not saying that the book doesn’t have relevant information. I am only in the beginning but I have read these money making methods before for free. Which I brought up because I have read many successful people say you can get all the help from the net for free plus the time it takes to gather that information. However, the story that some of these books used to narrate their methods are just plain fake. I am sorry I just can’t believe it. I haven’t read all of the book yet but I have a hard time believe these stories. Its good if it is true but I have to have some proof.

    • Hi Nikki, i like the points you made about it not being all that “easy & simple” to just go out and make hundreds or thousands of dollars in a few weeks or months…and I agree with you, and one of the failings of Mark’s book is that it does have a sales letter type feel to it that makes out it is all going to happen like a fairy tale.

      I know that most people do spend years slowly building the foundations needed to create a successful online business. In fact, in my review of Mark’s book, I made sure I listed in the “I hate” section that the “get rich quick – hard sell” type aspect of the book goes against what I believe to be the case for most people.

      That said, I did find a lot of the information and tips in Mark’s book to be really valuable and I know if I consistently applied them they would work. I’m lucky I know 4 people personally who have grown amazing online businesses and do live the dream, so I can see clearly that it is possible. For me, that was the proof i needed.
      I must say though…the “dream” does require work, a lot of it, and it never stops because the moment you do, your business does.

      Thanks for your comment, cheers, neroli

  • Nice post.

    I guess I was like the guy in number 1 except I wasn’t homeless. When I got down to my last pennies it did give me a kick up the butt.

    I love meditation too, do it every day and eventually I will go to one of those retreats. I want to do it in India and Thailand.

    • Hey jamie :) yeah, last pennies does kind of kick you in the ass to do something huh?

      Totally go and spend 10 days at Vipassana if you like this kind of thing! Don’t wait to get to India or Thailand to do it though, that might mean you have to put it off until “one day.” There are centres in a lot of countries all around the world, not sure which part of the world you are in, but there’s probably a centre nearby :)

      cheers, neroli

  • I completely agree with your point about taking some time slow down and reflect whether that means meditation or prayer. I admire your commitment to waking up at 4:30am every morning. That’s something that I’ve been thinking about…but now I will make that a goal of mine too.

    • Go Freddy! I blew it in the last week as i had some really challenging stuff going on and it really threw my whole zen thing : /

      But luckily I’ve made a pact with myself that whatever happens, when I let the things slip I’ve set my intention to do, I just pull them back in and start again….so I’ve begun again & I’m so glad I did!
      cheers, neroli

  • I’ve taken up drumming meditation as a way to quiet my mind for longer periods of time but I am absolutely in awe of the thought of meditating for ten days! Never thought I’d say this, but I am unfortunately not at rock bottom. Still, you’ve inspired me to look at where I am deeply committed and that is to my relationship, my self-development, and I am currently growing my commitment to the development of communication in other people’s relationships through my blog.

    • Nice work Sherelle, drumming meditation sounds amazing!

      I heard a brilliant percussionist called Greg Sheehan play several times at TEDx Sydney a few weeks ago…he’s probably got some stuff on youtube if you want to check him out. It sounds like the things you are deeply committed to are very valuable and will bring you great wealth in their own ways too ;)

      cheers, neroli

  • I was always keen in doing meditation to keep myself relaxed and to control my tension and depression. Furthermore, sometimes after meditation you tend to come up with hundreds of new ideas. I always look upon myself to become someone successful not only in online business but also in Internet Marketing. Hope things will get better and better when the days goes on!!

    • Hi Ng, isn’t that one of the coolest side effects of quietening the mind with mediation? I read a brilliant quote the other day similar to your experience of getting hundreds of great ideas after meditation…
      “To the mind that is still, the whole Universe surrenders” Lao Tzu

      :) Cheers, neroli

  • This is exactly how I turned my life around too. It was when I hit rock bottom, that it suddenly occurred to me, “If I don’t take control right now, someone else will be controlling my life; I’ll be put away somewhere and have no control whatsoever over anything.” That’s the day I sat down and figured out exactly what had to happen if I was going to create the life I wanted, then I went to work on it. Today, my life is totally different, I’m following my passion, I feel great… it’s all good!

    • Beautiful story Mavis! WOnderful to hear how you made that decision and flipped yourself into a whole new paradigm ;)

      Thanks for sharing the inspiration, cheers, neroli

  • I know rock bottom; what it means to be in debt, no income and a baby to feed, all without the luxury of being able to find a job. We couldn’t do that because we were in a foreign country…so yeah, it does take a certain amount of that to reach success. I am not earning five figures a month yet, but I make enough money online to take care of rent, living expenses and 2 babies… I think that is success as far as I’m concerned.

    Thanks for this post Neroli, now I can’t wait to get my hands on The Laptop Millionaire.

    • Wow Sharon, that’s pretty intense…it would be terrifying to be in that predicament with a little one…I guess that little soul was a gift to you in millions of ways, one of them being he/she made you lock on to the unbreakable resolve to make things work no matte what.

      And well done for making it work to the level you have, a lot of people don’t get that far…I look forward to hearing when you hit 5 figures a month :)

      I think Mark’s book has some great tips/strategies, but I always say the inner game sets the template for anything you create in the outer game…in other words, the work you do on mindset is super important.

      best of luck and have fun with those 2 little angels of yours, cheers, neroli

      • Thank you Neroli. I look forward to when I hit 5 figures a month also ;).

        I love reading your column because a lot of thoughtfulness goes into it. Thanks!

  • Wonderful article. I too have been in the same shoes working hard to build my online business. Meditation is one of the best ways to have your mindset. Thanks for posting this!

  • Wow, this post really opened my eyes. I am 17 year old young entrepreneur, co-founder of Early Entrepreneur. Being young and still living with my parents, made me think that if more young people out there took these steps and had this mindset, lots of these young entrepreneurs could be making A LOT of money. Think about it, most of us young entrepreneurs have no bills to pay, debt, rent, mortgage, or wife and kids. It would be hard for us to hit rock bottom, but if you have the mindset of being successful, then the rewards will come. Being dedicated and persistent with what you love doing, will make you LOTS and LOTS of money. Really enjoyed this article, I learned a lot, will be implementing these techniques into my online businesses.

    Thanks,
    Daniel Carnett

  • Great post Neroli,

    I like the idea about looking at the things where I already am disciplined, motivated and commited. In a somewhat similar way, instead of looking at a ‘To-do’ List I like to create a - Have Done - List. Because that also helps me to look at some of the things that are already working, it gets me motivated and it can also give me new ideas for possible Improvements.

    I do believe that Walt Disney also frequently asked himself
    and his team the question: ‘How can we Improve ….,’

  • Great post – self belief really is everything, but you have to have a realistic plan to back that up too! It’s hard making a living online, thats why I think isn’t it 3% of people trying are earning the big bucks and everyone else is chasing their tails?! That’s a shocking statistic if true, but I wouldn’t be surprised! Either way you just have to do what’s right for YOU! :-)

  • Hi Neroli, this post is great! The elements you choose up from Mark’s book are really obliging. I have to agree with this. “In fact, success is dull, boring and empty unless we’ve been incredibly challenged and found our inner strength and wisdom to overcome those challenges along the way.” Being an entrepreneur running online business needs a lot of effort, patience . You need to work hard in order to be successful; You need to gain a lot of experience and hear some advises from others in order to grow. Reading this post for more than 15 mins is really worthwhile. I learned a lot. Thanks!

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