If You Want More, Make Yourself More Valuable

Posted by Dan Kennedy on Jan 27, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Dan Kennedy

The mayor of a small town once wrote to Benjamin Franklin asking for a donation so the town could buy a bell for its town square. Franklin sent money with a note suggesting they forego the bell in favor of buying books for the town library. It is at the library we might find an answer to why so few succeed and why most fail - at anything, at everything.
Most people do not apply themselves to acquiring know-how nor apply the know-how they acquire. In short, they have the attention span of a gnat, the diligence of an idle, random breeze. They certainly don't study.

I have become quite rich and somewhat celebrated, reaching the pinnacle of success in not one but three different fields. At each required skill-set, I once sucked. For me, there has always been a crawl to competence, then a fast rise to superiority. Part of the process is getting through of a lot of information in a hurry but also continuously. For nearly 25 years, I read a book a day plus newspapers, trade journals, newsletters, visited the public library weekly; took on a needed skill and so thoroughly and intensely studied it as to become a world class expert. When I was teaching myself to be an advertising copywriter, for example, I studied no less than an hour everyday, listened to recorded material on the subject constantly, sought out and got to know the top people in the field, and when one told me to take great direct-response ads and write them out longhand 21 times each, to teach my subconscious the rhythm of such writing, I did that with 100 ads. I collected over 200 books on the subject and immersed myself in them. I built organized files of samples that fill a room. I traced one master back to his teachers, they to theirs, thus even knowing the genealogy of the field. When I am asked by fledgling or journeymen copywriters how they, too, might have clients waiting in line to pay them $100,000.00 fees when there are thousands of copywriters advertising their availability for 1/10th that or less, and I tell them this answer, they reject it. They seek rewards out of kilter with their value and are unwilling to do what is necessary to build up their value.

The same answer could be given by the top earners in insurance, real estate, retail store ownership, dentistry - name the business or profession.

The answer is the same.


I am told by people all the time that they simply do not have time to read and listen to all the material they have purchased or subscribed to. But time is democratic and just. Everyone has the same amount. When I choose to read with my mid-morning coffee break and you choose to blather about trivia with friends; when I choose to study for an hour sitting on my backyard deck at day's end but you choose to watch a TlVO'd American Idol episode, we reveal much. When someone says he does not have the time to apply himself to acquiring the know-how required to create sufficient value for his stated desires, he is a farmer surrounded by ripe fruit and vegetables, whole grains and a herd of cattle on his own property who dies of starvation, unable to organize his time and discipline himself to eat.

Incidentally, success in every business, including yours, depends on mastery of a handful of critical competencies (one of which is always marketing). The individual who sets out earnestly and diligently to acquire a wealth of know-how in each winds up with wealth in his bank account. All others watch with envy and cry in their soup, two activities they do seem to find time for.


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Topics: Business Growth, Dan Kennedy, Continuing Education, Marketing education

 parthiv shah


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