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Don’t just work hard. Do the hard work.


Working hard is not the key to success; it’s merely the price of admission. 

Hard work alone isn’t enough to bring you everything you want. 

Because if you’re working hard at the wrong things then they won’t take you to where you want to go. 

You have to work hard at the right things if you want to achieve your desired destination. 

Which introduces a second element to the equation. 

Because not only do you have to work hard, you also have to work hard at the right things. 

So what are the right things?

 Actually it’s usually pretty simple to identify them. 

Typically the right things, the best things, the most significant things you can do to achieve your goal are often the things you know need to be done but you most don’t want to do. 

They are the things that nobody likes to do. 

If you’re trying to build muscle, it means doing pull ups or leg day. 

If you’re trying to lose weight, it means cutting your alcohol, carbs, or sugar intake. 

If you’re in sales, it is prospecting. 

If you’re trying to get out of debt, it’s making and following a budget.  

In other words, it’s not enough to just work hard.  

You have to do the hard work. 

You have to do the things you don’t want to do. 

You have to do the things that other people aren’t willing to do. 

You have to do the things that you know are good for you, but they are hard. 

You don’t do them because the goal is to make life as hard as possible. 

Quite the contrary, you do them because they ultimately make life easier.

But that path is predicated on the unpopular truth that the shortest most guaranteed path to a more productive life is to do the hardest parts of things as soon as possible!

You don’t just work hard. You do the hard work. 

And if you that… 

If you work hard…

And you also do the hard work…

Then you will start to find that eventually things get easier and easier. 

The 10 Most Important Books to Teach You About Money


Not counting the Bible, which has a tremendously specific amount of information written about developing a healthy relationship with money, here are the first 10 books I think anyone who wants to learn about money should have to read, the order I’d suggest reading them in, and why…

  1. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey – The first step to getting rich is to get debt-free and no one in the world knows how to do that as well as Dave Ramsey. This book has changed my life and the lives of millions of others It’s a simple plan that works, start here.


  1. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker – Believe it or not, but our ability to acquire money has everything to do with what we think to be true about it. The 17 wealth files presented here are absolutely foundational. I still read my “millionaire mind” affirmations every day and it’s been almost 10 years.


  1. The Richest Man in Babylon by George ClasonA delightful and inspiring fable, this quick and easy read shares some of the most powerful lessons you’ll have to know to become wealthy.


  1. The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley Danko – We all think that it’s the people who look rich that are rich…wrong! This book shows the data on the habits and spending patterns of the world’s millionaires. It will help you realize that being frugal, rather than flamboyant, with your money is really how you get rich.


  1. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann – Abundance is a mindset that starts with learning how to A radical flip on everything you might initially assume to be true about how you create wealth and income, this has become one of my absolute favorite books of all-time.


  1. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – Many of the books on this list talk about the power of compound interest, which is something you’ll want to become intimately familiar with. This book however, shows you the compounding power of hard work, good choices, and disciplined effort. A must read.


  1. How Rich People Think by Steve SieboldThis is a rapid-fire checklist of the differences between how rich people think compared to everyone else. It’s very straight forward, hard-hitting, and accurate. Perhaps the most distilled information available on how you need to change your thinking about money.


  1. Thou Shall Prosper by Daniel Lapin – A fascinating read about why statistically so many people of the Jewish faith are of above average wealth. Rabbi Daniel Lapin shows how the deep rooted beliefs you carry will ultimately determine how much wealth you accumulate and overflow into the lives of others.


  1. Why You’re Dumb Sick and Broke by Randy GagePrepare yourself for somewhat of a “slap in the face” when you read this one. But Randy Gage does it the way that only he can and he does it out of love with a sobering and honest presentation about some changes you’re going to have to make in your mental paradigm if you’re ever going to accumulate a lot of money.


  1. Financial Peace by Dave RamseyIn some ways, this is a bit of a repeat of Total Money Makeover but by this point you’ll want and need the refresher again anyways! This book also talks about the specifics of things like different types of insurance and why rich investors are often boring investors.


Admittedly, I haven’t read every book out there on money, but I have read a lot and these ones are all certified winners. Growing up in and around lower-middle income people, we had a lot of love but I had to really work to change my thinking about money. The books on this list will both inspire you and teach you the critical concepts that you will need to be able to accumulate wealth and bless the world all around you.

The “New” Smart

It doesn’t matter how many ideas you have or what the quality of those ideas are. It only matters what ideas you can implement.

In Monday’s post, we talked about how the first step of becoming smarter is just to focus on being studious and investing more time into studying rather than worrying about how naturally fast you adopt information. But the second step is even much more valuable, which is to create laser like focus around the ideas that you can execute.

People might call you smart if you have good ideas, but they will call you valuable if you can implement them.

I think most of us generally determine the intelligence of ourselves and those around us by how much information we consume, can recall, or how many good ideas that we have. That is not smart – at least not by my definition.

I am reminded of my interview with Darren Hardy on my podcast when he used the term “infobesity”.  He was referring to the fact that just like obesity is not a problem based upon how much food is available but rather on how much food an individual person allows themselves to consume. Infobesity is similar in that you can have a lot of information, more than you need actually, but if you’re not able to do anything with that information then it’s just going to slow you down.

What makes you smart is that you are not looking for good ideas; but you are looking for implementable ideas.

You don’t care about the quantity of information that you consume or that you know; you care about the amount of usable information that you have.

And your goal is not to be able to retain a bunch of arbitrary facts about random things; but to develop your ability to hone in on the insights that you can take action on to make them come true in your life.

Google has given us all an equal playing field of information. Now the only real question is “who can implement?”

As it turns out intelligence, IQ, memory, capacity, problem-solving, reasoning, and all of the other mental adjectives that we used to describe “smart” in the past, have today become subservient to whether or not a person is able to use that information to create results.

That is the “new” smart.

Darren Hardy The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster Episode 93 on The Rory Vaden Show

The Entrepreneur Roller CoasterDarren Hardy is the publisher and founding editor of SUCCESS Magazine and the New York Times Best Selling Author of The Compound Effect. Darren has mentored tens of thousands of entrepreneurs and other achievers through private programs and has done one-on-one mentoring with several top CEOs, world-class entrepreneurs and other high-performance individuals. In his new book The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, he will prepare you for the wild ride of entrepreneurship. From it, you will learn the best strategies Darren has ever collected from the most successful people on the planet, covering the four essential skills necessary for entrepreneurial success: Sales, Recruiting, Leadership, and Productivity.


Show Highlights:

• Darren believes that in the coming years, the amount of entrepreneurs will grow immensely, but most of them are not ready. They will try, but they will fail.

• 66% of all small businesses fail.

• The reasons why entrepreneurs fail are not external factors, but internal. Not technical, but emotional. @DarrenHardy

• Everyone is an entrepreneur. They create and design the life they want to live. @DarrenHardy

• When you separate from the herd, you expect everyone around you to be excited. They’re not. @DarrenHardy

• When you stop being like other people, other people stop liking you. @DarrenHardy

• First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. – Mahatma Gandhi

• How many people didn’t like Jesus of Nazareth? People couldn’t stand him. Yet he made a world changing impact. @DarrenHardy

• Sometimes your ambition calls out the fear in others, making them resist you. @Rory_Vaden

• Dogs don’t bark at parked cars. Once you begin shaking things up, people will notice. @DarrenHardy

• Sales is not pushing and prodding, it’s questioning and listening. @DarrenHardy

• We live in an era of epic distractions. All these tools we built for productivity have advanced far faster than our human capacity can mange them. @DarrenHardy


If you are interested in reading Darren’s new book The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, visit


The Rory Vaden show is a weekly podcast that Rory hosts every Wednesday, which is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts and has listeners from all around the world. The show shares “insights and inspiration for movers and shakers in the world of business”™. Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews one very special expert guest and thought leader every week. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Mission: 1,000 Kids

Join me and SUCCESS Magazine publisher Darren Hardy to help improve the lives of 1,000 kids. Watch video below to learn more.

Kevin and Grant’s story was so inspiring that we want (at least!) 1,000 more kids to have this same experience!

And YOU can help!

So, à la TOM Shoes model, we are doing a one-for-one (until October 14th).

Every hardbound copy you buy, we will buy and distribute softbound copy to a deserving kid (watch video for more info).

Go here to order The Compound Effect in bulk.

Each copy = one kid… and the potential to change their life forever!

Thank you for your help! – Darren Hardy and SUCCESS Team

10 Ways You Can Help Share The Compound Effect on Facebook and Twitter

Official release date for the Take the Stairs book is….!

We’re so excited to share with you that our publisher Penguin has finalized an official launch date for the Take the Stairs book and it is Tuesday February 7, 2012! The book will go on pre-sale long before then but only to our personal followers and fans. We’ll share more with you about that in the coming weeks. There are some BIG THINGS happening with the book already that we thought you might like to be the first to know.

The book as of now will have distribution in more than 80 airport stores and should be in most major brick and mortar retailers. Media is building as well as we just found out that we’ll getting a personal interview with Darren Hardy from SUCCESS Magazine for his Success Audio Series which goes out to an exclusive group of 30,000 people in Darren’s fan base in early 2012. We’ll be a guest on one of Roxeanne Emerich’s programs for financial institutions later this fall, and keep your eyes out around March of 2012 and you might just see a cover story here and there on the Take the Stairs movement.

The most important part of all the things related to the book is we are currently planning a 14-20 city nationwide tour (with a tour bus and all) where we go to cities and host FREE events for teenagers, parents, teachers, coaches and school administrators, where I’ll be teaching all 7 strategies that are in the book LIVE. We are passionate about reaching people with the message of self-discipline and plan to see several thousand people face to face in a 3 week time span. We want to give teens and parents a chance to come to an event that will be fun for both of them. We’re currently looking for sponsors for the tour to undercut the price of it so we can make it free but make no mistake the tour is happening for sure one way or another!

To give you a little preview of what is to come in the book itself here are some of the reviews we’ve gotten from other authors who have had a chance to read it and endorse it!

“This book is a compelling and challenging call for all of us to accomplish greatness. It not only shows you how to make self-discipline more sustainable, it will reignite your passion to achieve.Andy Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift & The Noticer

“I always say that personal finance is only 20% head knowledge—and 80% behavior. Behavior change is hard, because it requires something a lot of people are missing these days: self-discipline. If you want to make a change in your money, business or relationships, do not miss Take the Stairs. It gives you the tools you need to take control of the only person holding you back: yourself!” –Dave Ramsey, host of The Dave Ramsey Show and best-selling author of The Total Money Makeover

“This book on self-discipline shows you how to develop the courage, character and determination you need to succeed in anything you attempt. It can change your life! Brian Tracy, New York Times bestselling author of Eat That Frog

“The easy way is never the excellent way. Rory Vaden knows this and teaches you the timeless truths of achieving excellence in your personal and professional life. Take the Stairs is a refreshing look at what it really takes to succeed.  For get rich quick or wish upon a star, go elsewhere. For an agenda for excellence, read this book. Rory gets it.”– Mark Sanborn, Bestselling author of The Fred Factor and You Don’t Need a Title to Be A Leader


“Take the Stairs will change the way you work and live. Rory Vaden has created a gem of a book that will inspire you to do the little extra things that make a HUGE difference. This book gives you a solid plan for success. Two words, BUY IT!” – Chester Elton, Best-Selling co-author of “The Carrot Principle” & “The Orange Revolution”


“‘Get rich quick, easy and painlessly’. Don’t be fooled. There is no escalator to the top. This book will tell you the truth about what it really takes to become a massive success in every area of your life–if you choose to Take the Stairs.”Darren Hardy, Publisher SUCCESS Magazine, bestselling author of The Compound Effect



“If you rarely finish the books that you buy, Take The Stairs will be a change for you. After just a few pages, I was hooked, and I read this absolute treasure of inspiration and practical advice in one sitting.  Rory is the real deal.  This isn’t a book of cheerleading and motivational platitudes.  This is the book that can change your life.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to take quality of work and life to a higher level.” –Joe Calloway, Bestselling author, Becoming A Category of One


“Pure and simple, this should be the only book on the shelf in this category- because it’s the only proven way to achieve authentic, sustainable success. In his book “Take the Stairs” Rory Vaden provides a timeless message with a timely sense of urgency.  While too many spend their lives searching for the ever-elusive shortcut to success, Rory lays out the only sure path in existence – having the discipline to be clear with your goals, work hard and do what most people are unable, or unwilling to do.  Rory Vaden believes it, teaches it and lives it every day.  Buy this book and heed this message!”- David Avrin, Author of It’s Not Who You Know – It’s Who Knows YOU! (2010 John Wiley & Sons)


“You can’t spend 30 seconds around Rory without getting inspired to change your life. You’re about to spend a few hours with him. Get ready.”Jon Acuff, Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of Quitter, Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job


“An inspiring and empowering book on how to harness your potential and become great.” – Randy Gage, author of The Prosperity Mind

There is lots more information to share about the tour, the new website for the book, a whole new look for Take the Stairs and several other details about the book itself (possibly including a free chapter if we can talk our friends at Penguin into it! ;)) Sorry we are not yet allowed to release the cover of the book yet but should have that for you within the next two weeks along with the official subtitle. You’ll see it here first though for sure!

Thanks for all of your support and encouragement and of course we’ll continue sharing ideas and best practices here on the blog in the meantime. Please leave a comment below if you have anything you want to share or if you have questions!

See you in the stairwell,

Rory Vaden
Take the Stairs – Success means doing things you don’t want to do