Rory Vaden has a somewhat peculiar area of study in that he is the world’s only Self-Discipline Strategist. However, he does great work and as a first time author his new book Take the Stairs hit #1 on the bestseller lists last week for both Amazon and Barnes and Noble, #1 on USA Today, and #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list!
I read books all the time and I have to say, Take the Stairs, is a book I will actually recommend and read again so I asked him to expand on some of the most interesting concepts presented in the book.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing business today?
Procrastination is the most expensive invisible cost in business today. In our research for the book we found a study of 10,000 US employees who were anonymously surveyed and asked the question “in a given 40 hour work week how much time do you spend while on the job on ‘non-job related activities?” The average person self-admitted to wasting 2.09 hours each day! Then we went to the US Department of Labor Bureau of statistics and found that the average American earns $39,795 per year.
Which means, that if we are procrastinating an average amount our procrastination costs employers $10,396 per year, per employee! If we are in sales or we’re a small business owner then that is what its costing us. Except no one ever thinks of procrastination as a cost because it doesn’t show up on our P and L or in our checkbook register.
According to your experience what is the key to success?
It seems that the only thing that ALL successful people have in common is that they have developed the ability to do the things that they know they should be doing in the moments when they don’t feel like doing them. In other words success isn’t about choosing to take the escalator; it’s about choosing to Take the Stairs. In a word I sum it up as discipline. The discipline to do the things we know we should be doing even when we don’t feel like doing them. But self-discipline isn’t as hard as we think – when we think about it the right way.
What we noticed is that the most disciplined people in the world don’t like discipline more than the rest of us, and they aren’t disciplined out of some weird masochistic pleasure for seeking pain. Instead, they simply process their choices through a different set of criteria from the rest of us. In other words they think about it differently (in 7 specific ways outlined in the book) and that enables them to make choices that most people can’t normally get themselves to make.
How did you get to where you are? How is your personal experience one that lends itself to the study of self-discipline?
When I was 5 years old my mother put me into martial arts, and by age 10, I became the youngest black belt in Colorado…to ever get beaten up by a girl! I used to argue with my mom “I don’t like this! It isn’t fun for me! And this isn’t something I enjoy!” and she’d always say back “That’s ok Rory, enjoying it isn’t a requirement of doing it.” So, being raised by a single mom she taught me to put a lot of faith in self-discipline.
Then when I went to college I worked with The Southwestern Company. I spent 5 summers away from home, waking up at 5:59 am, taking ice cold showers, and knocking on doors 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, on straight commission, paying all of my own expenses, selling educational children’s books door to door. It was the most rigorous and challenging thing I’ve ever done but I made over $250k in 5 summers and Southwestern taught me the skills and character I needed to be successful in life.
I’ve heard you mention that there is a perpetual enemy we face in our life that is working against us from taking action. Can you introduce that to us and share with us what the remedy is?
The Law of Diminishing Intent simply states, “our intention to take action is highest the moment we create that intention but then naturally, over time, that intention slowly starts to fade. Which explains why when you go to the gym on January 5th it is packed and when you go on March 5th it is empty. But most people don’t take action even in those few moments when they are inspired and see a dream for their own life that they want. They never even get started.
I wrestled a long time with the questions “Does that mean they’re bad people? That they just don’t have integrity? That they simply don’t have the will power? Do they not care about success? Do they not care about letting people down? Or is success just not written in the stars for them?” Until I finally realized that “No!” that’s not at all what it means – in fact it’s just the opposite. The reason most people don’t take action is because they care so much about success that they just want to wait to get started until they have the perfect time, the perfect set of resources, the perfect amount of money, etc. What they don’t realize is that perfect time never comes and with each moment that they don’t take action, the likelihood that they ever will decreases exponentially. The strategy is to learn to focus relentlessly on progress meanwhile completely freeing yourself of the demand for perfection.
Tell us about your “Take the Stairs tour.” What is it all about?
We decided with all of the momentum of this book that we should do something more productive then just go around to bookstores and beg 3 friends to come out to get their book signed. So instead we are taking a tour bus across the country to 20 states between Feb 20 and Mar 20 to support Youth Character Education. We are hosting 2.5 hr FREE events in every city where members of the community come to a live event at a local venue (high school auditorium, college, church, etc) WITH their teenagers and I teach all 7 strategies of self-discipline and the Take the Stairs mindset. We then collect a $10 suggested donation at the door and give 100% of the money we raise that night right back to that local school district foundation or some other local youth charity that supports character education. Our plan is to hopefully raise at least $10,000 at each event and over $250k total for the whole tour.
Anyone can register, its absolutely free (other than the suggested donation), and we are inviting people to come with their teenagers (8th grade and up) so they can do something fun together as a family and learn about the importance of self-discipline together. The complete list of tour locations where they can register and all of the information is available at www.takethestairstour.com
There are very few books that come along that really change your perspective … this is one of them. This is one of those books that makes you want to make a change, even when you don’t feel like doing it. It’s thoughtful yet funny, serious yet entertaining.
Rory is giving away 4 big bonuses for the first 2000 people who buy the book at www.buytakethestairs.com so check it out!
In the Spirit of Success,
Corporate Partner and Program Director