“Reasons why businesses fail & what you can do about it.” An Interview with America’s no. 1 business guru, Brian Tracy.


N: Knowing what you do now, how would you start over again differently in regards to business and success?

BT: I started off working as a laborer living in a small apartment, living from paycheck to paycheck. One day I had a revelation that I was responsible for my own life and that no one else was going to do anything for me. If someone says to me what should I do about my lousy business or failing marriage? I say to them, “You are responsible”. It’s up to you to make the choices and decisions. I also discovered goals and keeping on until I achieved them.

Continuous development and learning are also important. Learn what you need to do to achieve those goals. If you want to be successful, learn from the experts in your field. Ask them for advice, listen to their audios and read their books. You will never live long enough to figure it out for yourself.

I was recently in Florida doing a talk and the president of the company met with me. He’s this super star sales man and multi-millionaire. He told me privately he started off in sales 20 years ago and someone gave him my audio program on the Psychology of Selling. He was floundering at that point with sales and couldn’t deal with rejection. My program taught him how to sell. He went on to become a superstar and then into his own business. The key to his success was learning the skill.

The ultimate key to success is persistence. Once you are clear about what you want to achieve, carry on learning, never quit, and then success is inevitable. I was speaking to a multi-millionaire recently and he said the biggest reason most people fail is because they quit. 10% may be changing economies and change of circumstance but 90% is inside the person.

N: What is the main thing you think holds people back from achieving their goals?

BT: The primary reason for failure is the fear of failure. It’s not failure itself; it is fearing failure that causes the problem. Everyone is raised with a certain level of confidence or lack of confidence and the fear of failure is overcome by doing the thing we fear. Most People have it all wrong. They think they will prepare and when they feel really confident, they will pick up the phone and call that company. It doesn’t work that way. You do what you are afraid to do and the courage comes afterwards as a result of doing and realizing “I can do this.”

The other thing that holds people back is the fear of criticism, rejection and disapproval from other people. The way you overcome that is by self-actualization. A study has shown that self-actualizing people are concerned about the thoughts of others but they don’t give them a lot of weight. They listen to others’ opinions but they don’t really care about the opinion that much. The obsession of the approval of others is soul destroying. This all goes back to one thing; destructive criticism in childhood. Most adult problems lead back to this, where one or both parents criticized the child continually. “Stinkin thinking” will hold you back like a burden. Let it go.

N: Why are some people successful yet others are still left dreaming about success?

BT: Successful people are action orientated.
Firstly they are responsible for themselves and then they are action orientated. They try and try again.
I have book out called “Flight Plan”. It is an answer to the book “The Secret”. I have been teaching the Law of Attraction since the 80’s. I read the book and watched the movie; I realised that the challenge with the law of attraction is that it is not correct. It is what statisticians call necessary but not sufficient. It’s important to think positive thoughts and have a clear idea of what you want, but it is not enough. If it was enough, everybody would be happy, thin, rich and successful. The idea of The Law of Attraction is so popular because people love the idea that it is possible to be successful without making a useful contribution to other people or excelling in your field. People are looking for a lazy way to succeed and there isn’t any.

What you have to do then, is you have to take continuous and persistent action. There are 3 keys to success from my book Flight Plan.

  • Write out your flight plan. Set down your goals, Decide what it is you want, where you are and where you want to go. If you don’t do that, visualizing is not going to help you.
  • Take off. Take action and get on with it.
  • Take continual course corrections. Like the analogy, when a plane leaves Auckland to fly to Sydney, it will be off course 99% of the time. Yet it will leave at a certain time and arrive on schedule, but during the flight it will be off course. The pilot makes continual course corrections along the way. Every successful person decided what they wanted, took action and then took continual course corrections until they reached their destination. That is the difference between success and failure.

N: Where does procrastination come into it and stop people?

BT: I always ask people “what great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?” If a person could give you a magic wand and say “If you wave this wand to make a wish and you were guaranteed to succeed, what goal would you set for yourself?”

If I was guaranteed a success I would do it immediately. But the reason people hold back is because they think they will fail. No one succeeds without failing. The most successful people have failed over and over again. They make continual course corrections, but they never stop flying towards their goals. You build up your belief system by doing things and gaining feedback. You have to go out there and do it and make mistakes. As you develop competence, you develop confidence. You can only believe you are successful person from having successful experiences. So this all comes back to taking action. It takes 5-7 years or 10,000 hours of work to excel in your chosen field. The only way you will prosper is by doing something of value that people will pay you for. You can’t quit your job, sit at home and think happy thoughts and run to the mailbox each day to see if there are any checks!

N: So, how do you define success?

BT: Success is the ability to live your life in your own way.