Get All Access for $5/mo

7 Ways to Turn Your Life Around Success doesn't come from books or blogs; the only person who can change the outcome for you is you.

By Steve Tobak Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


If you could get just one thing through your head, life would be so much better it would turn your whole world upside down. No kidding.

Before I tell you what that one thing is, I need to set the mood. Have you ever had an epiphany where you realized that everything you thought you knew was wrong? Well, you're about to. Are you ready? Are you sure? Good.

Success doesn't come from books or blogs. Just to be clear so there's no misunderstanding, there is not one person on God's green earth -- or in the virtual world, for that matter -- who can change how things turn out for you. Not a single one. Except you.

All that popular stuff you read about becoming rich, famous, or successful is complete and total BS. That's right; it's true and I'll tell you why: none of it is written by anyone who has done an honest day's work in his life. They just make this stuff up to get you to click, buy, whatever. It only enriches them, not you.

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you what will help you make something of yourself and, if you do things right, live a good life. Yes, I know that sounds a bit anticlimactic – what with all the millions everyone else promises you – but that's honestly the only thing I or anyone else can do for you. The rest is up to you.

1. Develop a strong work ethic.

In terms of building a successful career, work ethic trumps everything. What that means is doing your job and getting it done come hell or high water. It means striving to be better than anyone. It means working your tail off, meeting your commitments and making your boss, customers, or stakeholders deliriously happy.

Related: 7 Elements of a Strong Work Ethic

2. Focus on doing only what matters.

Remember what I just said about work ethic? If you want to look at it in a broad sense, you need to figure out what matters most in life and focus on doing just that. If you prioritize and are disciplined about it, you can forget personal productivity, daily habits and all that other nonsense. None of it matters.

3. Don't be a lazy slacker.

Quit screwing around and get to work. More importantly, quit screwing around and calling it work. What I mean by that is this: Everything you think will advance your prospects – building your personal brand, social networking, seminars, coaching sessions, reading blogs and self-help books – is a waste of time. All of it.

Related: 5 Types of Toxic Employees and How to Deal With Them (Infographic)

4. Quit searching for answers.

There are none. Actually, let me rephrase that. There are no answers that don't come from one of three places: Education, experience and introspection. They are the source of all learning. When I say education, I mean real education. School. Experience means working in the real world. And introspection means sitting quietly and listening to yourself. Notice: no books, no blogs.

5. Make smart decisions.

Smart people with good instincts and lots of experience take smart risks and make good choices. That, hands down, is the most important factor in determining how things turn out for you. Workers are paid to work. Managers are paid to manager. Top executives are paid to make smart decisions that end up making customers happy and making investors lots of money.

6. Accept that nothing you have to say matters to anyone.

There is no reason for the vast majority of you to be generating content. None. After you've become successful in the real world, then your experience, knowledge, insights, and opinions will matter. Until then, quit wasting your time and everyone else's. The sooner you accomplish great things in the working world, the sooner you'll have something to say that matters.

Related: Seven Ways to Boost Employee Morale

7. Build real relationships with real people.

Sure, social networks make it easier to connect with people, but every business and career opportunity that's ever come my way has been from a real person I knew personally. Every single one. People will not lift a finger to help you until there is a real, human connection. One real relationship in the real world is worth 1,000 friends and followers in the virtual world.

Just so you know, all of this used to be common sense but, in today's world, it's wisdom. So be it. The sooner you understand that success comes only from you, your work, and your experience, the sooner you'll turn your life around and become a huge success story. So get to it.

Steve Tobak

Author of Real Leaders Don't Follow

Steve Tobak is a management consultant, columnist, former senior executive, and author of Real Leaders Don’t Follow: Being Extraordinary in the Age of the Entrepreneur (Entrepreneur Press, October 2015). Tobak runs Silicon Valley-based Invisor Consulting and blogs at, where you can contact him and learn more.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

The Side Hustle He Started in His College Apartment Turned Into a $70,000-a-Month Income Stream — Then Earned Nearly $2 Million Last Year

Kyle Morrand and his college roommates loved playing retro video games — and the pastime would help launch his career.

Growing a Business

How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

Wondering how long your marketing emails should be? Here's what consumers say — so you can send them exactly what they like.

Business News

A Former Corporate Lawyer Now Makes Six Figures on YouTube — Here's How She Does It

Here are the secrets to starting and growing a successful YouTube channel, according to a YouTuber with millions of subscribers.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

New Southwest Airlines Major Investor Wants to Force Out CEO, Slams Company's 'Stubborn Unwillingness to Evolve'

Elliot Investment Management announced a $1.9 billion stake in the Dallas-based Southwest Airlines on Monday and is urging shareholders to vote for new leadership.