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Dan Kennedy: Deposits. Withdrawals.

Dan Kennedy

Dan Kennedy, The Millionaire Maker

I am ex-boozer. For a while, after quitting, I had to decide not to have a drink everyday. Now it’s on rare occasions that I consciously decide not to. I became a non-drinker. But I’m also a diabetic, and every meal I decide not to eat something toxic to me – or to eat a little – or to say the hell with it. Every doughnut shop I drive past is a decision. Every milkshake I don’t swing into a drive-through for, a decision. Most days I work in complete isolation. No one sees me at all. So I must decide whether to work on the planned work or welcome a distraction or be de-railed by a new urgent.

We are the sum total of all the “to” and “not to” decisions we make, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, situation-by-situation. Most successful achievers can point to a handful or two of Events Of Monumental Importance in their lives, and too often credit those, or observers credit those, for everything. Rarely so. Each of those capitalized on only because of countless, smaller decisions and choices.

Mark Burnett met Donald Trump essentially by chance, thus ‘The Apprentice’ born. No. Burnett had built a track record; Burnett recognized the opportunity; Burnett had the idea; Burnett had the guts to go pitch it; Burnett had polished presenting skills, to make an effective pitch; Burnett had mentally organized his pitch.

Many of our daily decisions contribute to or take away from our growing preparation for opportunities. What you read, what and who you study, the breadth and depth of knowledge you develop, the portfolio of skills you expand and polish, the people you link yourself to and associate with – these are all “deposits” to a growing reservoir of “capital” that, when the right opportunity shows itself, you have ready to invest. But some, maybe much of what you waste time on, mental junk food you consume, lack of serious study and skill development, poor associations – these are all “withdrawals” that drain your capital reserves, so that when opportunity confronts, you are too weak to take advantage.

EVERYTHING is either a deposit or withdrawal. Every item of food consumed. Every minute given to choices of books, newsletters, TV programs, movies, dinner companions, conversations. When you see somebody in very good health at age 80 or in surprisingly poor health at 45, don’t be so foolish or generous as to chalk it up to good or bad genes; it is as much or more about deposits and withdrawals. When you see somebody living in a paid-for million-dollar home and captaining a thriving business, and see someone else losing his home to foreclosure and boarding up a failed business, do not be so naïve or liberal as to chalk it up to luck, or upbringing, or the ever-popular circumstances beyond one’s control. It is as much or more, deposits and withdrawals.

There was a very popular bestseller titled ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.’ Popular because the masses do not want to sweat anything. At all. Period. But successful achievers know how necessary sweat is. And they know there are no decisions so small you need not sweat ‘em. Every one counts because they all add up.

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