[Quiz] The Magic Word That Solves Productivity Problems

Thursday, 8:54pm
Reno, NV
I’m worth a million in prizes… yeah, I’m through sleeping on the sidewalk…” (Iggy Pop, Lust For Life)


Let’s do a quiz, what d’ya say?

Winner gets a prize.

Here’s the lead-in to the question: Over the past week, I’ve done a number of sizzling teleseminars with such luminous marketing stars as Rich Schefren, Melanie Benson-Strick, Christina Hills, and Lisa Wagner (with another one hosted by Gary Halbert’s sons coming up in a few days)…

… all focused on the “solve your biggest business problem right freakin’ NOW” attitude that saturates the upcoming Action Seminar we’re hosting.  (San Diego, February 25-26, click here for info.)

To get the ball rolling in these teleseminars, everyone emailed their list and requested folks to send in the BIG problems that keep them up at night.

So, you know, we could fix those problems, right then and there on the call.

Speed Hot Seats, we call it.  You bring the mess, we bring the mojo to make it right (and get you back in the saddle, in the right groove to get you moving toward your goals again).

These teleseminars rocked.  Totally awesome, and I hope you had a chance to hear at least one of them.

It’s always a blast to witness how fast, and how thoroughly the toughest problems you believe are holding you back… can quickly be deconstructed, clarified, de-mystified, and solved (with specific actionable steps that can be taken right away).  No theory.  Just hard-core business savvy, applied to the wound directly.

What’s this got to do with our quiz?

Well, I’ll tell you.

All told, there were over a hundred emails sent in for consideration during these teleseminars.  A deluge of nightmares, pitfalls, blind alleys, squirrel holes and “how do I even get started” frustrations.

And yet they all tended to fall into just a few very precise categories.  (We’ll be covering ALL of those categories at the Action Seminar, in depth, and we’ll perform real-time Hot Seats and copy critiques with attendees throughout the event.)  (This is hard-core problem-solving and “finally get moving on your goals” planning at the most get-it-done level imaginable.  I sure hope you’re coming to the event, so you don’t miss all the hands-on interaction with me and the Murderer’s Row of experts I corralled to help us out…)

And one of the most common (and most urgent) questions brought up… was about being productive.

As in not wasting time, getting busy with what’s important, and implementing the steps required to unleash the bounty of wealth, fame and wonderfulness that entrepreneurs seek (but few find).  (Because they’re frozen in place with problems.)

In fact, we’ve found that “productivity” ranks unusually high in most of the surveys know about.

And guess what?

While there are a multitude of courses out there, coaching programs and books and advice galore…

… there is still just a SINGLE word I’ve been using for decades that will do more for your productivity than any other tactic, secret or gimmick you will ever find.

One word.

If you’ve been following my rantings and ravings over the years, you should know exactly what this one word is.  You should, in fact, be using it regularly in your daily life.

I call it “The Magic Word“.

So here’s the quiz: What is this magic word that can work such wonders for your productivity?

What single word can wield such power, that you can transform almost immediately into someone who gets more done?

Slam your answer (and your reason why you believe you got it right) into the comments section here as fast as you can.

And, because I know there are a few ringers in the audience who have this nailed, let’s rig the game just a bit:  The winner will be the 7th person to give the correct answer.

What do you win?  How about a fresh copy of “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel” (the course touted by so many top marketers as the breakthrough program that finally got them headed toward raw, seething success).

Personally signed by me.  (It won’t make it more valuable, but you’ll have a great story to tease the grandkids with.  “Sure, I knew Carlton.  Look, he signed this book for me…”)

That’s it.  That’s the quiz.

Your real victory is in forcing your brain to think deep about this subject, of course.  Productivity is such a bugaboo with so many people… that an entire publishing industry has sprung up to feed the need for salvation.  The sheer volume of tricks, shortcuts, advice, gimmicks and secrets ladled out to solve the heartbreak of not getting shit done is staggering.  Whole sections of Barnes & Noble bloom with titles on it.

I’m sure it’s all great stuff, too.

I just prefer the more direct solutions, minus the bullshit garnish and smokescreen fluff.

I’ve been shockingly productive my entire career.  And the key has been this little magic word.  It has freed me from the time-devouring nonsense that murders other people’s effort to be productive.

Okay, enough hints.

Your turn.

Game on!

I’ll reveal the answer — and the winner — next week.

Stay frosty,


P.S. Even if you’re the type who never goes to seminars, check out the Action Seminar.  It’s totally freakin’ unique, and is geared to goose real, substantial breakthroughs in your life.

That you can put into action immediately, without waiting for something else to happen first.  This is get-it-done heaven.

We’re talking about launching the adventure of your life, finally and with some real power behind you.

Click here for details.  And hurry…

Just enter your name and primary email address below and we'll send you the new report right away.

"11 Really Stupid Blunders You're Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now."

  • ray stein says:


  • Jesse Niesen says:


  • Sharon A says:

    Hi John,
    The magic word is ACTION, because that’s all you ever talk about!

  • Jeff Elias says:

    Can’t wait to attend the seminar! Learned a TON from the SWS and I’m looking forward to getting aquainted with all the great entrepreneurs that will be there:)

  • DMVM says:


    • John Carlton says:

      I just had to register my car… I wrote a check to DMV. What that you?

      Anyway, no, the magic word isn’t motivation. That’s a great word, of course… but not the right one.

  • Joe C says:

    In honor of Jeopardy, playing now on the East Coast… “What is NO, JOhn? The Magic Word is NO.

  • Phil says:

    Hi John,

    The magic word is “WRITE” because that is what you’re all about and all you ever talk about.

    • John Carlton says:

      That is not what I always talk about, Phil. This blog is actually quite diverse in the subject matter. I may sound like a broken record on certain subjects, when it’s important that I get that point across. But really, man… check the archives, you’ll find a treasure trove of stuff about biz, wealth, success, and living life well…

      And no, that’s not the magic word. Thanks for the note, Phil.

  • Mukesh Shah says:


    FOCUS is the key to productivity and you do it like yogi.



  • Matt Kassulke says:

    Yes the answer is yes

  • Michelle says:


  • Dan Axelrod says:

    In my own experience, “clarity” is the key component of productivity. Most people are unproductive because they have A) Little to no idea what they truly want, and B) Little to know idea how to get it.

    When you have a crystallized picture of your ideal outcome and WHY you want it, you create a positive polarity that magnetically pulls you toward success-oriented behaviors instead of to what you would do in a failure-avoiding mindset. This takes care of the “motivation” issue.

    Clarity about the actual path to achievement is what allows you to be efficient and focus on the important tasks, so you can either outsource the rest or not do them at all.

    So that’s my case for “clarity.” 🙂

    See you all in San Diego.

  • Michelle says:


  • Scott says:

    I’d have to guess the word is “Deadline”

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Scott. Deadlines are definitely a primary tool in any good entrepreneur’s bag. I built my career on deadlines — meeting them, managing them, using them as motivation.

      But it’s not the magic word we’re looking for here.

  • Hi, of course the word is ACTION

  • John, I’m not sure what your word is, but mine is “FOCUS”. When attention and action are focused, productivity soars and results surpass expectations.

  • Jonathan says:

    I’m confused…

    If the 7th person to get the right answer wins, then why would anyone give an answer before at least six people have given the same answer?

    • John Carlton says:

      I dunno.

      Why would anyone write a comment and not even take a shot at the answer?

      • Jonathan says:

        It all becomes clear now…

        The reason I didn’t make a guess is because I could only see five responses when I left the comment, so I thought I had no chance of winning.

        The answer to my question is that we can never know how many responses are awaiting moderation, so even if only one comment is visible, it’s still possible to be the seventh correct answer.

        Anyway, the answer to the quiz is “no.” If you can’t say “no” then other people will set your priorities for you and you’ll never accomplish anything that is important to you.

        If you can’t say “no” to a ringing telephone or new email notification, then you will constantly be interrupted and waste a lot time getting back on task. If I remember correctly, you loose 15 minutes ever time you switch tasks, so without a strong command of the word “no,” focus becomes impossible.

        I’m kind of new to the world of internet marketing, but one of the things that has amazed me is how many launches there are. It seems like I’m constantly being told about a new product, service or training that will completely change my life forever and if I don’t buy it, I’ll be doomed to certain failure and a lifetime of poverty. Without the ability to say “no” to irresistible offers, I’d spend all my time learning new concepts and software and no time executing a plan – constantly changing directions before the old plan even had a chance to work. As the Chinese say: “He who chases three rabbits catches none.” Saying “no” to two rabbits = soup. Saying “yes” to all rabbits means you go home hungry.

        “No” is the one word that will do more to increase your productivity than anything else.

  • Kristianne R says:

    Focus. It is easy to be pulled into different directions by the latest tips and techniques. They are all distractions and you will spin your wheels trying new things until you pick one and focus on it.

  • Brian says:

    Fear. It’s the only thing I know that never fails.

  • Gary says:

    Hi John,

    I would say the word is outsourcing. You really can’t be very productive if you are also working your business.

    In order to run a business your mind has to be on new ideas and you can’t stay ahead in the game if spending months creating one focused idea, someone else should be doing that. By Outsourcing you can keep a continuous flow of productivity.

    • John Carlton says:

      Excellent guess, Gary. Not the right word, though.

      Really, this shows good thinking. It’s concrete, something you can hang your hat on, and not raw philosophy (like “focus”).

      Try again.

  • Joe McVoy says:

    I vote for FOCUS. Many of us get distracted by bright, shiny objects. When I can focus I get a lot more done.

  • Hi John,

    The magic word has to be “work”! Without doing a bit of work, none of those courses or magic bullets or books will do anything by themselves. We need to apply “work” and just do it!


    • John Carlton says:

      Nice try, but this is really, really, REALLY wrong. More people murder their productivity by believing “work” will be their salvation than any other misunderstanding about getting stuff done.

      Got another guess in you?

  • JC says:

    The magic word is “NO!”

  • John,

    I think it’s a trick question. I think the word is two-part “Strategic Focus” or just “Focus”.

    In a word, where “Good to Great” authors like Jim Collins writes about “saying No to the good and yes to the great”. The only way to do that effectively is strategic focus. If you’re doing target, plan and focus on whatever it is your want to accomplish, you’re using a shot gun strategy and hoping you’ll hit something from the blast. That’s effective to get “something” going in your business, but cancerous and counter-effective to seeing anything to completion. When you focus you’ll often finish strong and be more passionate in the endeavor you pursue.

    Remember… be a servant,
    (like ole “Frosty”

    Cory Boatright
    Loss Mitigation Specialist

    P.s. I still gotta make it to Reno and bring my six string “axe”!

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Cory. Nope, not a trick question. Nice response here, I can see you thought it through…

      … and you’re gonna kick yourself when I reveal the answer next week.

  • Ok John, my answer is GOALS. You gotta have something to aim for in your life, else you’re like a ship without a rudder going nowhere. Thanks for letting my play along.


  • James Jordan says:

    the steps of getting there are the same as the qualities of being there. Action spinning your wheels is for nil. Purpose and clarity of your essence of your goals and imagery of the achievement

  • Focus. Without putting on the blinders and just Getting It Done, it’s too easy to be distracted.

  • I think the answer to productivity is

  • I’m throwing “implement”into the ring. It doesn’t matter how much education you have or how great your goals are. Nothing matters unless you IMPLEMENT 🙂

    Staying Frosty in NJ – Melissa

  • Eric says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    the Magic Word is…


    that’s right, the dreaded “D” word.

    • John Carlton says:

      Eric, you know I love that word… and it’s been a fundamental part of the crap I teach for decades.

      Damn good word.

      Not the magic one, though.

      Thanks for the post.

  • Sandi says:

    Concentration – what Napoleon Hill wrote about.

  • I’m afraid it’s ACTION nothing else matters you can focus but if you sit in the middle of the road focusing on what you want you could get run over — so it definitely has to be move it –ACTION.

  • Clay says:


    You won’t get anything done unless you’ve got a deadline.

  • The magic word is “Start”.

    as in start your engines.. once you’re racing you want have time to waist on philosophy.

  • Mike Singer says:

    Joe C has it right: “No.” Most people think it’s about saying no to other people. True enough sometimes, yet often it’s more about saying no to yourself. Like an angry parent to a kid who wants to watch TV when he really needs to practice the sax for an hour first … so he can actually ACCOMPLISH that dream he has of being a hot jazz man one day.

    There’s a time for brainstorming. That’s yes time. Then there’s a time for action.

    It’s impossible to take action if you’re saying yes to anything other than what you’re trying to accomplish. Hence, you gotta learn how to say no. It’s not easy. Especially if you’re a monkey mind idea-spewing creativity machine like most of us entrepreneurial-minded folks!

    Call it setting limits (like Rich Schefren does), putting on blinders, silencing your cell phone, closing your browser, or simply locking the door. Whatever. It all comes down to this: if you ever want to get to yes, you gotta get really good at saying no. You gotta learn to be the adult in the room … ESPECIALLY when all the whining children are just other parts of your mind.

  • Danny 8 Ball says:

    Seems like I’ve heard FOCUS a million times….

    Get up in the morning, meditate, and say then “what am I trying to accomplish today? Focus on it and DO IT!

  • Brett says:

    LOVE. Because you cant succeed without loving yourself, loving what you’re doing or loving your clients!

    • John Carlton says:

      Naw… I know lots of miserable-ass marketers who get amazing amounts of stuff done… without a quivering drop of love in their system.

      They’d be better people if they hooked up an IV to the love in the universe… but they don’t. And they remain productive.

      Nice try, and I wish it was true. But it’s not the word… (sorry, Beatles)…

  • Ed Bagley says:

    The word: Action, as in “Do It Now!”

  • Phil says:

    The answer is FOCUS.
    Without this single five letter word, you will not get anything done and you will fail, guaranteed.

    • John Carlton says:

      It’s not focus.

      It’s not focus.

      It’s not focus.

      I’ve known dudes roiling with ADHD, compulsive disorders, and brains that are constantly distracted by bright shiny things.

      And yet, some of them still get lots of shit done every day.

      Not focus.

  • Lou Dalo says:

    Thanks for the invite to play John; would love to accept but got some pressing priorities.

    Gonna have to say “No”.


  • Anatoly says:

    My choice is “confidence”

  • Allen Kerry says:

    The ‘magic’ word is MOVEMENT…

    It’s always better than meditation.

  • Aleksandra says:

    I’d say MONEY. When the price tag is put on things,usually people get to work 😉

  • Yep…I vote for Focus. You have to be focused on the goal, prize, end point, what-you-want, etc. You can take all the action in the world, but if it’s not “focused” action it won’t matter a hill of beans (sorry for the cliche).

    That’s my answer and I hope I’m the 7th correct answer. Can I vote again if I’m not? 😉

  • The magic word is ABRACADABRA, everyone knows that.
    Now that I’ve got your attention with my witty and compelling headline, I’ll now attempt to convince you that the question itself may not be the best question to ask.
    ACTION is all well and good, except if the action you are taking is leading nowhere, then taking MASSIVE ACTION just gets you nowhere faster.
    FOCUS as other commenters have noted only has value if you are focused on the right things.
    The real question maybe should have been, Where should you FOCUS and take ACTION in order to make massive productivity gains ?

    The answer to that question can only be LEVERAGE !

    The case for the defense.
    As an individual, you are limited by the number of hours in the day. So no matter how focused you are, or how much action you take, your productivity is capped.
    By creating processes and systems that can be taught to others, you can leverage your results by engaging others or Outsourcing your timesucking manual tasks so you can acheive exponentially more with the same 24hrs a day everyone has available to them.

    I rest my case …..

    • John Carlton says:

      Now, this dude from Perth makes an excellent case for his answer. This is an example of great critical thinking.

      Not correct, but this is the kind of brain-exercise that makes even getting this wrong, worth it.

      Nice, Alan. Thanks for the note.

    • Wow Alan, that was exactly what I was thinking about, “leverage”; when you don’t see that you actually have the solutions to what you think are problems, and how to use all your assets to maximise and optimise your results.

      Leverage is the answer to possibility. It leads to optimisation and maximisation.
      Things that can be achieved while we think it would be impossible; this triggers also the “belief”. If you believe it’s possible, you will succeed at achieving it.

      But beyond belief there is something else that gives an even greater context, where “leverage” is just a module that we need to use over and over again: “scenario.”
      “Scenarise” your success.

      If you can become the hero of your own success scenario, I mean real live case scenario, then you activate automatically all the focus, all the passion, all the determination, all the action, all the leverage and “focused strategy” you need to use in order to execute anything and everything towards your goal.

      But you need to 1-imagine your own scenario and 2-live fully your scenario in each and every aspect of it.

      So, my personal guess for a magic word is “Scenarise”

      (Clin d’oeil to Cory Boatright for “strategic focus,” it may not be the magic word here, but it is certainly the strongest module that I was thinking about too)

  • Lori says:


    (because if you are able to fine tune this, you are well ahead of the pack)

  • ChrisSurf says:

    I would go with focus

    Desire comes to mind as well.

    F O C U S

  • Manju Thirani says:

    It’s Focussed Action-laser-sharp action towards your goal,not just getting distracted by shiny objects,but taking the action neccessary to glide you towards your goal.
    And your favourite signature line:
    Stay frosty.

  • Lynn Contic says:

    I’m brand new to the field of affiliate mktg & I’m currently in information overload mode. I was just introduced to your site so I haven’t heard anything you’ve posted on the subject, but my guess would be “FOCUS” because without focus it’s too darn easy to keep changing direction. I say set a plan and stick to it or you’ll never get anything accomplished!

  • Eric Barton says:

    How About Discipline John?

    You often talk about how you need to just drill down and get it done to be successful. If that’s the magic answer you wanted-can you slide my name to the 7th right answer please-lol

  • The word is MOTION. You have to get into MOTION.

  • Darn, I would have said action. But I guess Sharon’s answer helped us jump over that booby-trap.

    My second guess is practice…although I would add practice, practice, practice…because that’s the only thing that helps you get better.

  • Dave M says:

    I’m usually way to shy to leave comments on other people’s blogs but I’d do just about anything to get my hot little hands on John’s new book.

    I’m probably full of beans (usually am) but I’m going with the word FOCUS.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Dave. Welcome to the brawl here in the comments section. See? That wasn’t so bad, leaving a comment, was it.

      Lots of shy folks here. You’re among friends.

      And NO! It’s NOT focus, dammit.

      Thanks for the post, Dave. Try another one, while you’re getting in the habit of engaging here…

  • Jason says:

    Hey John,

    The answer to this question is “NO”.

  • Anthony says:

    I’d go with ‘No’…
    one of the hardest words to say when the opportunities seem to be flying all around you, but the one you’re working on is the most important one to focus on until you’ve got it right. And got it done.

  • The word is Deadline(s). I have followed you long enough to know this correct. More importantly I have used it and it makes all the difference in the world when in comes to being more productive.

    Eric Anderson

  • Alan Northcott says:


  • Daniel says:

    The magic word is “Free”.

  • Brian says:

    Hi John,

    The answer should be “Begin.”

  • Sanjay Pande says:

    Hi John,
    The magic word is “Yet” as a post fix to any sentence you speak that has a connotation in the negative sense, thereby rendering the negative a temporary phase.

    Example: “I do know how to write a single sales latter that will bring in a million … YET!”

    I am pretty sure, that is it. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    • Sanjay Pande says:

      Hi John,
      Since you have not responded to the original in the negative, I’m going to assume that its still in the running, however let’s move from a single hook to a net and test the waters further.

      I still like my original entry of “Yet”, since you are instantly converting self-imposed limitations into possibilities but it probably needs to have more substance tagged on to the end to make it even more powerful.

      Personally I think its a small but powerful word.

      Nevertheless, lets throw in some more, specifically words that can instantly transform you and work wonders for your productivity

      1. Shortcut – When your productivity is suffering you are either not doing something because you are paralyzed by fear, or distracted, or disinterested or … whatever. If you know a shortcut to get from point A to point B, it will definitely motivate you enough to give it a fair shot. Other arguments can be made against this but for now, lets just focus on instant productivity enhancements.

      2. Perseverance – A cousin of determination, but it connotes actually taking action. Perseverance alone has made people who seemed ordinary to be great.

      3. Celebrate or Reward – While some people may argue against this, a small step forward that is rewarded or celebrated will encourage more steps forward and importantly you will be making forward motion (Hopefully to your intended destination).

      4. Today – If you focus on just what you want to get done today, and do not worry about what you need to do tomorrow, you WILL get more done today. Simple things to do today. What are the “low hanging fruit” for you. Get it done and move on because tomorrow is another today.

      5. Because – It is supposedly powerful enough that the reason that follows does not matter as much as the pre-statement (even in studies in psychology). If this is powerful enough to push prospects beyond reason at times, then using this in any self-talk, should help motivate you enough to go on and get the next thing done.

      There, now you have to refute 6 (7) words instead of 1.

      Warm Regards,


      ps: Whether I got the answer right or not, this single post and the comments is a great study of human psychology as you have already hinted. Thank you!

  • Wow. I would have to say that with out “focus” you aren’t going to get anything done. And even though you are asking for one word, “focus” that is coupled with “purpose” will win every time. A good example is going on a diet to loose weight. If your focus in on calories, well for a while you will do well. But if you have the purpose of getting healthy and looking good then your focus becomes that much easier. So I suppose the first word of these two would have to be “purpose”. If you don’t have a purpose for what you are focusing on then you will run out of gas eventually. Purpose fuels you emotionally. If that purpose is “real”, that is what drives passion which will make focus a no brainer. Unless of course you have ADD, then there are drugs that will help you focus. 🙂 But don’t underestimate the power of purpose, even for a chemically distracted mind.

  • Jon C says:

    Answer is “no”. Make sure you say yes to the important and best tasks that will take you towards your goals. In order to do that you MUST say “no” to the time and mind killers. No to clients. No to projects. No to unimportant tasks. No to the IRS! 😉 No to making lots of comments on blogs…

  • Jenny says:

    Hi John

    I am going to go with “NO”

  • Jon "no" C says:


  • SayNoForWealth says:

    No. I’m trying to hit #7.

  • NoMagicWord says:

    No. Say “no” to everyone else on this blog. Say “yes” to me!

    BTW, it is one of the most under used words in business. I said it a dozen times today, and I will make mire money because of it. 🙂

  • Glenn says:

    A “Timer”

    • John Carlton says:

      Clever, Glenn.

      A timer can be a good tool to use, so you keep your work periods in 60 to 90 minutes segments, and get up and stretch and decompress, and re-energize.

      But it’s the magic word.

      • John, you said “But it’s the magic word”
        You meant: but it’s “not” the magic word

        A timer may be a cool tool to use when you don’t need to say no all the time while working, if such ideas hassle you and you find yourself resisting.
        But if you use the tri-partite work mantra: same time, same place, everyday; you won’t need the Timer any longer.

  • I’m going to guess “urgency.”

    Even someone with ADD and a burning sense of urgency still gets it done.

  • Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi John,

    I think the magic word is ‘No’.

    In order to be productive you have to be able to say no to everything that wants to come between you and the work you need to do to get things done.

    You have to say no to yourself, your partner, your kids, your friends, the football game on TV, getting a cup of coffee, checking your emails, playing on Facebook, etc.

    Just say no and knuckle down to get stuff done.

  • joe says:

    “motion”… ya gotta get it moving even if it’s not perfect… i think G.Halbert would be down with motion…

  • Robert says:


  • John, your word is NO. I took it to heart last year even though its tough at first when you’re used to saying Yes. But its also refreshing and freeing.

  • Jurg says:

    The word is “deadlines.” A cousin of discipline – which is absolutely required to meet deadlines. And, I’ve got to keep working on both… 🙂

  • Steve McFadden says:


  • Francis says:

    Before I read any of the comments my guess was ‘NO’. But like most other things that hold us back, it’s easier said than done. So I’m waiting for your next post to not only reveal the word but also to help us with strategies to apply it.

    Staying ‘frosty’ in Canada

  • Henry Bingaman says:

    At this point I can be pretty confident in saying it’s NOT focus… You’ve also ruled out goals, motivation, deadlines, and action.

    The popular answer that you haven’t ruled out is “no.” But in my experience, most people go through life saying no to everything until you club them over the head, drag them kicking and screaming and force them to take advantage of the big damn opportunity banging on their doors.

    I don’t actually have any idea what you think the magic word is, but I know what my magic word is.

    Accountability. I can waste an entire day reading blog posts, watching YouTube and chatting with my virtual friends on twitter…

    But I’ve got people who are expecting me to get things done, clients waiting for projects, and partners depending on me to make us both money.

    I’m accountable to all of them. That’s what gets me off my butt and keeps me productive.

    Dunno if it’s the right answer in your book, but it’s a good answer in mine.

    See ya in San Diego… I’m looking forward to it.


    • John Carlton says:

      Now, read this and learn, folks. He didn’t get the right answer, but Henry applied game theory, critical thinking, thinking inside and then outside the box, and really went deep with his considerations.

      THIS is what you want to model when you are faced with a question or problem, and you’re mulling over possible answers.

      Great job, Henry. Wrong answer, but you already know you’ve won just by giving your brain this kind of off-track run…

  • Peter says:

    it’s probably a derivative of action such as ‘Start’ or ‘Started’ or ‘Now’

  • Suzy Molloy says:

    It has been quite amusing to read through all the previous guesses. Not because they were wrong but because so many have been so focused on the magic word being “Focus”.

    To solve problems and reach your goals you need to “PLAN”. A plan helps you maintain focus and motivation as well as providing you with the action steps to move forward.

    So my guess is that the magic word is “PLAN”

  • Nelson says:

    Since I’m always checking what I have to do and what I’ve already done. I have to say the word is do.

  • Matthew says:

    This is very intriguing . The word that comes to me is NOW .

  • Devin says:

    So many great comments on here, and reading them and John’s responses (haha) I think there is quite a bit more than a snowball’s chance in hell that the magic word is…


    By this I mean making it a priority enough to put it down on paper that it’s something you’re committing to getting done, despite all the distractions and pestering things that get in the way.

    When it becomes important enough to do, you’ll put it in writing and imprinted in your mind to get it done.

    Sort of like the person zipping down the highway to their wedding. You can bet the car on fire, the accident on the side of the road, the Victoria’s Secret billboard, even the pretty girl with a stalled car won’t keep him from his destination.

    The set-in-stone specific time that something is going to happen is what keeps people from wandering off into no-man’s-land wilderness of the internet or going off in hundreds of different ways.

    I come to this realization going in circles, and realizing the times I’ve had focus is with the military because I HAVE to be there if I want to get paid, and out of trouble. It always gets someone moving and where they need to be when they know others are counting on them, or that they will lose big time by not being there-when it’s painful enough to drop the other stuff they want to do.

    So scheduling is what I believe makes the difference in productivity.

  • Leeann says:

    My issue is always all about Prioritizing. I get bogged down in the things that should be at the bottom of the list instead of taking care of the stuff at the top of the list.

    So I will guess “prioritize”



    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Leeann. Like scheduling, planning isn’t the answer because you can have the best-laid plans and most careful scheduling is all still a good idea… until it becomes manifest in getting something done.

      Nice try, though.

  • Leeann says:

    But then…I also like Suzy’s “Plan”.

    Without a Plan you can’t really Prioritize.

    So my guess is either Plan or Prioritize.

    I still say Prioritize.


      • Joan V says:

        Hey sleep is a scientifically based answer. Without great sleep a person will eventually be able to accomplish nothing.

        But hey… I am dying to have those kickass copywriting secrets. Some day… when I grow up… my GOAL is to attend one of your conferences.

        I will go with GOALS I suppose. Although I am certain I must be at least the 20th person to say that! But there is always next time! 🙂

  • John Cumbow says:

    Ok, John…
    I vote for ‘Prioritize’

    Even if you only do a small amount of work each day, as long as you’ve got your priorities straight, you’ll always be working on the most important thing to get you to where you want to be.

    Pick your goal, set your priorities and take action.

  • Lisa Wagner says:

    The magic word is COFFEE.

    And if it’s two words – STRONG COFFEE!

    Otherwise…the magic word to work wonders with your productivity?

    Pigheaded-ness? (Wait is that 1 1/2 words?) Determination?

    If it’s not action, focus, discipline, or “no”… I guess it has to be coffee.



    • John Carlton says:

      Ha! I was wondering when you were gonna chime in, Wagner.

      Never one to follow the pack, always considering unique angles, aiming for answers that pack a punch… great stuff.

      And wrong. Though, without coffee, I’d still be in bed from last Tuesday…

      • Lisa Wagner says:

        You know how I hate being wrong…

        …I can at least feel good knowing that MY magic word for productivity is coffee. With a little bit of vanilla and coconut milk.

        The word for everyone else is MOVEMENT.

        Like the great Halbert used to say, movement always outperforms meditation. And Polish always says, a mediocre marketing campaign rolled out will always outperform the perfect one sitting in your head.

        Still wrong? Just placate me and say no. =)


        • John Carlton says:

          Still wrong, Lisa. You’re in the right ballpark, of course, but the Magic Word is a truly amazing tool that deserves its title, while stuff like movement is more general.

  • Danny 8 Ball says:

    Deadline? Works for me, and many others (from your writings, you too Johnny boy) Drop dead due dates allow you to work backwards and create milestones that create a path to completion. Even if you were the kid who never even started her homework until the night before, deadlines put the gun to your head and create action.

  • Micah says:

    It’s gotta be “Focus”! … Kidding….

    I’m guna say “drive”

  • Micah says:

    OR “change”

  • Matthew says:

    Now , everything happens NOW.

  • Hey John, after the mastermind meeting a couple of weeks ago I had a breakthrough of saying no to lot’s of things (really exiting stuff even), and what helped me also was not only saying no, but sometimes say later.
    So I’ll continue the practice of saying no, which should come in handy when becomming a dad this summer:-) See you in San Diego (got a couple of frinds to join)

  • Kelly Exeter says:


  • Kelly Exeter says:


    Because when you start trying to be everything to everyone productivity goes out the door

  • Cam says:

    Hi John,

    Wild guess of “prioritize”.

    Reason: Once you have your list of tasks, find out what is most important and focus all your effort on that first.
    1. List
    2. Prioritize
    3. Schedule
    4. Do
    5. Repeat

    Thanks for the articles. Keep up the great work and of course stay frosty.

  • Thomas says:


    Dunno how you do it, but this is how I catch the ball:

    Knowledge to order to simplify to take action on smallest first.

    So my guess is the word is SIMPLIFY.

  • Jason says:

    The magical word is “no”

  • Jason says:

    John, The magical word is “no”

  • John, The magical word that will lead you to the holy grail of productivity is “no”

  • Jerry says:

    Planning, or Imagination

  • DrDink says:

    I would think the word is “now.”

  • Nathan says:

    Hey John,
    It assumes you’ve got a plan of action, and you implement the damn thing. “Next!”

  • Kevin Craig says:

    “No” has not been ruled out, so I suspect that’s the correct answer. I would be about the 22nd to guess that now, so what’s the point?

    Give Henry B. (#79) a runner-up prize, because he had a very good answer (“accountability”), and I agree: I already say “no” to too many things. Perfectionist, indecisive, analysis-paralysis; “no” + a fancy-sounding rationalization = an easy way for me to avoid taking decisive action.

    What else do I need to increase my productivity? In a word: a “hotseat.” An outsider’s perspective and a voice of experience looking at my business and saying “no,” “no,” “no,” and “yes,” “great,” and “more of that.” And not just to be told what to do, but to witness a thought-model of relentless objectivity and expertise unfolding before me. Leave me without excuses and hold me accountable. You’ll see real productivity.

    (I checked with Wikipedia, which, as we all know, is both infallible and omniscient, and learned that “hotseat” does not have to be two words.)

  • Swarup says:

    Hey John,

    I really enjoy reading all your emails and blog posts. This quiz is exciting!

    Here’s the magic word I’m voting for:


    You gotta love what you’re doing. Right?

    If productivity is a major challenge, most people probably don’t find it FUN to do all the tasks to get the job done.

    Or if it’s something unavoidable they’ve just not learned how to make it FUN.

    FUN = 1000% more Productivity 🙂

    What do you think?


  • Mark says:

    Yeah, the answer is ‘Now.’

  • Patrick says:

    Hi John,

    I scrolled all the way down to the bottom before I have read the other comments.

    I thought it was “planning” but better than planning is…


    Yep that’s the only word that will dissolve all my worries and set me on the right path to success!!!

    I wish I could be at the conference, but I’m stuck down in New Zealand at the moment.

    I should have got mentoring years ago, it’s taken me 6 whole years to get where I am now, I would be far more advanced in my venture if I had of.

    I’ve got a plan now! Part of it is to get a mentor, but which one is best for me???

    Scrolling my way up to read the other comments now…


  • Patrick says:

    Or **”Mentoring”**

  • Darren Power says:

    Why why why.

    Nothing gets done without a reason why.

    Get a big enough reason and you can get anything done.

    The word is why!


  • Norman&Flea says:

    Hey, Folks,

    well, because am completely newly here, and I receipt only three emails and unfortunately don’t have so many time to read all regardless that would be graet spended time, anyway I dare to answer:


    Why? – simply because all other words even if used frequently they are not solo.

    Greets from fran-ce(special error) and sorry for my engRish. :-p

    THANKS for sharing,
    wishing best of in life and love to You &Yours.
    Norman/”MarketJazz&Flea’s Street team” 😀

  • Norman&Flea says:

    sorry? do you think it’s normal? because my answer disappear like fog.

    nice, that means of course that my choice was false. LOL

    good luck!

  • Chris says:

    Hi John,

    I think the magic word is ‘strategy’ because without the right strategy in place how do you know what to focus on or say no to?

  • Hey John, chipping in with –


    OK I’m not being rhetorical here but if you just ask why then you’ll probably be able to get rid of a whole lot of things on your to-do list.

    My close second to this was relax – personally I like to take time out because it gives me perspective – but I’m guessing you’re not a relaxing kinda guy??!

    Have a great weekend!


    • John Carlton says:

      You know what, Cathy? That’s not the Magic Word… however, at the risk of sending folks scurrying down a rabbit hole, I will say that you’re on the right track. In the right groove, so to speak… certainly, “why” is a powerful word, and as you’ll see when I reveal the Magic Word next week, it’s a great secondary tool-word to use during the process.

      Great guess. Wrong, though.

  • Robert Scanlon says:

    Yes John – I might not be the 7th to get it right, but I do believe FOCUS is a far more widely shared skill amongst very successful business people (even those who purport to have ADD or similar can magically get very focused when it comes to multi-million dollar deals).

    And since the internet seems to conspire to create the “direct opposite” of focus (hey … I was just closing down here myself when I saw I still had John’s page open in a tab … and got distracted), I’d have to say FOCUS is becoming a VERY valuable skill.

    Thanks again – never a dull moment with JC!

  • Robert Scanlon says:

    Ooops. There’s obviously been a ton of posts since my tab with John’s was open … and reading up I see it’s not focus haha.

    So I now vote for RESULTS since it’s the only thing that matters.

    It’s what productivity is FOR goddammit …

    And it’s why I left the tab with this page open for so long … I was away being productive getting RESULTS.

    Nothing else matters.

    • Robert Scanlon says:

      “Nothing else matters.”

      … well outside of happiness and meaning …

      In the business world and the context of productivity, nothing else matters except RESULTS.

      RESULTS are the measure by which you know if you are productive … or not.

  • Nathan Thomas says:


  • Adil Amarsi says:

    I think it’s either No or Now.

    No – Because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself by taking on to much. And you wanna say no with a smile on your face.

    Now – This is a personal favorite as it keeps me going while I’m working. Kind of a little power word I use on myself.


  • Jay says:

    I am gonna have to say Fun. If you have fun with what your doing its not “work”. It doesnt feel like a labor, you WANT to do it and generally with a big goofy grin on your face.

  • Susie says:

    I think the magic word is “goals.” (And by the way, thanks for re-posting your “goal” post last week! I’ve saved that on my desktop for the past couple years!! And I’ve taken your advice – I set big damn goals, and I visualize them as already being accomplished.)

  • Greg Wych says:

    Decide At least that is Dan Kennedy’s “meaning of life”.

  • Barry says:

    Anger. I believe you mentioned early in your career about asking a fellow worker for copywriting advice and her response was something to the effect that you were incapable of learning the craft. Your goal for the put-down was to prove her wrong.

    • Lisa Wagner says:

      Just an aside on your post that I’ve successfully used “anger” as a great motivator in the past.

      It’s amazing the hours and determination you can put into something when you are really pissed off.

      In fact, sometimes when my clients are having a hard time figuring out what they are really PASSIONATE about – I ask them what frustrates them, and we work backwards. I have them write ANTI-GOALS of things they want but would never say out loud (i.e. wish a piano would drop on top of my competitor…) – then we go deeper into what is really bugging them. (There’s always the reason they say, and then the REAL reason.)

      Anyway, that reminded me of that. The key is taking anger and funneling that energy into action in the right direction. It’s a force if you can control can be pretty powerful.

      Not a 24/7 plan… but a little bit of it now and then keeps things interesting and fun. =)


  • Colin says:

    I’m going to say the M…word.


    As Dan Kennedy says “if no one is keeping score, what’s the point”.

  • Jacob says:

    The magic word is PASSION. With Passion you get 3,4,5 times more done.

  • Duane Ford says:

    Hi John,
    I’m not sure that I’m number 7 to say this but I believe the one word is “NOW.”
    W. Clement Stone who, for those of you not familiar with him, co-wrote a book with Napoleon Hill, said: If you think something is the right thing to do, when is the best time to do it? Do It Now!

  • Bonnie Benson says:

    I’m going with “results”.

    In the grand scheme of things, it comes down to results – focus (which was my first choice), planning, accountability, saying no are all the tools that get you to the result.

    And many thanks for the idea of the goal letter. I did mine a week ago and I’m seeing results already.

    take care,

  • Mark says:

    Hey John,

    Gotta be KNOWLEDGE.

    People flounder when they are uncertain. Mastering one’s subject or skills or priorities leads to clarity of thought and action… hence, productivity.

  • Alfred Poor says:

    I will add my vote for NOW. (I see that Matthew and DrDrink were two of the first to suggesting it.) Here’s why:

    Motivation, focus, knowledge, and even action are all important — if not essential — things to have to be successful, but they’re useless if you don’t act on them NOW. The Ant and the Grasshopper story tells us that all the positive thinking in the world can’t compensate for not getting started on your project, and sticking with it. If you put off your action until later — no matter how well designed it might be — you won’t succeed.

    So I’ll cast my vote for NOW now.


  • Ian says:

    I’m guessing implementation… can I send 6 more times?

  • Carina says:

    I´ll go with prioritize.

  • Roger says:


  • cristina says:

    Hey, John.I think the magic word is DEADLINE.What else can get you out of bed at 6 AM Sunday?
    Thank you for everything you’ve taught me.

  • Gautam Sahai says:

    Hi John,the magic word for increased productivity is “TIMER”. Gene Schwartz worked in six chunks of 33min 33sec and achieved excellence in Direct Response Advertising field. Most successful copywriters and entrepreneurs like Michael Masterson & Rich Schefren have attributed their success and increased productivity to the use of a Timer, dividing their work in blocks of 45 minutes. I think you have also stressed the importance of a Timer in increasing your productivity. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to take part in this quiz.

  • Alexander says:

    The word is: TESTING.

  • Alexander says:

    Maybe the word MEASURE is more specifically.

  • Rich says:

    This nugget of wisdom is still firmly lodged in my brain John, hope its what you have in mind here…

    … the word is “moneysuck” and it’s a mindset to filter your intended actions through…

    “When you’re the guy who knows how to bring in the bucks with your skills… should you really be wasting your time doing anything else?”

  • Hi John,

    I would say “organize.” As a professional organizer, I know how organization can help people streamline tasks and (dare I use the word) focus on income generating activity. That’s my best guess! Love your posts!

    Sheri Jo

  • Brian says:

    Hi John,

    I think one very important word is “motivation” and hope that is the magic word.

  • Danny says:

    The word is PASSION and all it encompasses. Without passion all you are left with is work, the one thing human beings are naturally conditioned to minimise. Passion overcomes the human instinct. Doesn’t mean you’ll be a successful marketer because you could be passionate about all the wrong things. But even in this case you’ll get a lot of wrong things done!

  • Mags says:


  • Mags says:

    1. List
    2. Prioritize
    3. Schedule
    4. Do
    5. Repeat

  • Mags says:

    I’d say we are getting close? With Prioritize?

  • Belinda says:

    without strategy almost every point above will be wasted.
    Focus is only of use if you are focusing with a sound strategy of what to focus on. You can be focussed without being more productive. You need a strategy to focus on.

    Action is useless without a sound strategy behind it. It is easy to take action – far more difficult to take worthwhile, targeted action that achieves results – for that you need strategy.

    YES? NO? What are you saying yes or no to? You need to have a strategy that provides the framework for what to say yes and no to. Otherwise you are just missing opportunities, or taking too much on.

    Outsourcing – what are you outsourcing, who are you outsourcing it to if you don’t have a strategy? You could be outsourcing a bunch of ad hoc random tasks that won’t actually make you any more productive. A srategy lies behind successful outsourcing – knowing what you are doing and why and what parts of that others should be doing for you.

    Motivation – it’s great but without a strategy to follow you can be motivated about many things that won’t make you more productive. Strategy can harness your motivation into productive channels.

    Discipline again is a great trait but without a strategy to be disciplined in. Discipline will not make you more productive just more virtuous.

    Concentration – what are you concentrating on without a strategy. I can be quite disciplined and focused in my concentration on Facebook but that doesn’t make me more productive. Right now I am concentrating on writing my answer but it isn’t making me more productive.

    Can’t remember what else may have been mentioned above however as you can see my answer is strategy because without strategy everything else can just be misdirected and not make you more productive. If you have a strategy you know exactly what has to happen to be more productive.

  • Trevor says:

    I will say the magic word is “Proactive”

  • Ian says:

    Hi John,

    I think the word is implement.

    As they used to say in Mass: Sometimes I sits and thinks, sometimes I just sits.

    But it’s when you implement that things get done.


  • John says:

    Hi John,
    I’m going with FEAR. Being one of the strongest emotions humans possess, it forces people to do things whether they want to or not. If you fear something, you WILL take action.

  • Jeff Syme says:

    I’ll take 2000 for “Suckers” Alex.

    What has just been published as a fresh, intriguing quiz on the blog? Figure out the most critical (but criminally ignored) pro-level biz trick to finally getting lots of stuff done and all contained in a single word?


    121 folks brain bending to let the smoke come out. Chew on that. 😛

    (All in good fun)

  • Moelwyn says:

    Hi John,

    Instead of posting 3 guesses, I’ll guess all at once ‘Knowledge’ ‘Apply’ ‘Test’

    Great fundamentals for success especially in that order.

  • Tim says:


    Thinking about this I would have to ask what is a basic, deep down thing that motivates a person into action. To be highly productive.

    It has to be something simple, primal even. So I would have to say that the magic word is:


    I’m not saying you have to live your life like a timid little mouse, but a little fear is good. It keeps you sharp and out of danger and there is nothing like that image at the back of your mind of life in a cardboard box on the mean streets to motivate you into taking the action needed to make your living.

    So to recap, Fear is my guess.

  • Don says:


  • Peter Wright says:

    You have already ruled out most of my early choices, like “Focus, “Action” etc. I see that you still haven’t disqualified “No” unless I missed it.

    Therefore Henry may well be on the right track here.

    There is one word I have not yet seen, and that is:


    Why think? because it’s the hardest work we do and unless the right thinking gets done up front, no amount of focus action or passion will do the job.

  • Jason says:

    The answer is “no”

  • Brian A. says:

    magic word is no

  • Stella says:

    I believe the word is “decide”. Decide to commit. Decide to plan. Decide to act. Decide to register. Or decide not to.

    If you don’t decide, the decision will be made for you and you won’t like the results.

  • Jim Cameron says:

    Greetings John,
    My vote is for “Next”
    It presupposes motivation, intent, planning, motion, focus, mindset etc.
    It also serves to redirect my consciousness after a break, phone conversation, or any type of interruption

  • Moelwyn says:

    Oh and then you need lots of ‘Determination’

  • Matt Stewart says:

    Hi John,
    Just to recap you asked:

    What is this magic word that can work such wonders for your productivity?

    What single word can wield such power, that you can transform almost immediately into someone who gets more done?

    So far these are the profferings that have been shot down in flames:

    Systimizing [sic]

    ‘No’ ‘focus’ and ‘now’ were popular choices too.

    When I saw ‘discipline’ ‘goals’ and ‘strategy’ I thought I’d been scooped. I liked the accountability post. But no, the guessing game goes on.

    I’d better throw my hat in the ring too.

    “Learn’ I thought, would be a good contender. If you keep making the same mistakes because you didn’t learn form them then that is really going to crush your productivity. But maybe that is a given and a bit ‘passive’.

    My best guess is ‘commitment’. Commit to the goal, commit to what you damn well believe in. Commit to drag your ass out of bed each morning when your biz got slammed the whole of last week. Commit to writing that eye-searing copy. Commitment, that’s the magic word.

    p.s. Admit it. You’re loving this, watching us chase our tails and not getting close.

    p.p.s. With over a 120 posts so far there is going to be epic levels of self-flagellation when the magic word is revealed.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Matt. Of course I love this — but not in a Hannibal Lector type way (“Bwahaha, the little darlings are eating themselves alive!”)

      This is Socratic learning at its best. If I just ladled out the answers, you’d read ’em, yawn (and scratch yourself), and wander off to go surf porn or watch Dancing With The Stars or something else vapid and irrelevant to success.

      Most of the comments here are just slapped out — they throw out a word, or make a bare case for their answer. The winners (you know who you are) have already taken home the prize, because they kicked their brains into gear and really put some oomph into thinking this quiz through.

      A LOT of garbage is getting jettisoned by folks, too — they’re justifying their own beliefs about productivity, and laying them out in the sunlight for all to see. You can tell that, often, they’re backing off that belief before finishing writing their post… which is great. A bad or misdirected belief will hold you back, and muddy your thinking… and do so for your entire life, if you don’t purge it at some point.

      That’s what we’re doing here — getting rid of the bullshit, and boosting critical thinking.

      That said… your list is incorrect, above.

      I have NOT rejected all the words you’ve listed here as the answer.

      Now, this may mean the answer is IN your list. Or it may not mean that.

      Keep guessing. Bwahahahaha!

  • Muz MURRAY says:

    Surely, the word is “FREE”.

  • Hey Matt,
    A very interesting point.
    I know you couldn’t add my suggestion because I added it as a reply to another comment, it’s:
    I believe that if you can scenarise your whole personal case towards the goal you are targetting, then each and every word in this list of words can be just a component of the big “video” of scenarisation, and all these elements (like focus, no’s, motion…) are automatically integrated to the more “grandiose” process which is scenarisation; letting yourself live your own real-life movie scenario.

  • JG says:

    Hi John,

    The first word that came to mind was NOW..

    But after a moment of thought.. my question was “WHY!?”
    .. followed by how…

    Thanks for a great read (as always:)


  • Nelson says:

    How many tries can you get at this?

    I was hasty in my offering up the word do.
    But, I would like to pull a John Kerry.
    Because I wasn’t 100% sure what the question was. Now I see the err of my thinking and would like to offer a new word as my ballot.
    If it is allowed I would like to offer the word: I.

  • fred says:

    The word is “done”

  • Elvin says:

    To decide means to cut off all other distractions or paths that will side track your plans and goals.
    Make a decision and stick to it.

  • Roger says:

    “Decision” … without it nothing happens.

  • Rob says:

    Can’t get much smaller than this (Oh I guess there are words 50% smaller) or simpler. I remember the line from Star Wars, “Don’t think, just do!”

  • Gerry says:

    Hey John,

    Believe..that’s where all magic starts. Without belief, you will never harness all the energy you could be leveraging.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Gerry. We’ll get into this later… but if you’ve been reading my stuff for any length of time, you know that I regularly attack (and hopefully demolish) belief systems… especially for entrepreneurs.

      Most belief systems, I’ve found over my long, grueling career dealing with people, are just dead wrong and even detrimental to your quest for success.

      Instead of trying to find an elusive belief, stick to reality. It can be a bit brutal, before you get used to it, but it’s the only to fly if you truly want a seat at the Feast Of Life.

  • Greg Fort says:

    John, I hope I’m the seventh person to guess “start” as that has to be the answer. If I am, give my copy to the first person who posted it. I already have it.

  • Lisa Marrone says:

    Hi, John,

    I love your emails and SWS!

    My contribution to the melee’ here is VISION.

    It works for me, and although I’m relatively new to IM, my other endeavors have all been big successes.

    UnFrosty – here in So. California! Ha!

  • Gerry says:

    Hey John

    A I already submitted an answer which was really a subset of what I believe is the actual answer. I wrote in the answer was belief. But upon reflection, I think it’s…


  • Michael says:

    What is the single most important word that will kick start your productivity and actually get things done?

    So far in this blog post there have been many great answers and comments made. Nearly all the answers are correct in one
    way or another as they similarly fall under the one theme of the 80/20 principle. That is to do the top high yielding
    activities that will bring in the most money.

    The word most likely will fit under this one category one way or another the only question is,
    what word will John use for it?

    My answer is “Money Suck”

    Which makes me look like a complete idiot because “money suck” is actually two words and not one. But irregardless of that
    I heard John mention this a few times in a teleconference call that I had the pleasure to listen in on. He said
    whether your a guy or gal, if your the one who is bringing in the money then it’s your responsibility and your job to
    focus on “Money Suck”- Otherwise if you are caught up with activities that aren’t important and wasting your time, you’re
    literally robbing yourself of money.

    So that’s my dodgy answer. Even though it’s probably wrong I had fun thinking this one over. 🙂


    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Michael. Fun is huge when you’re on the road to success. So it’s good to hear you’ve got the right attitude here.

      Wrong answer, but not wrong in the overall scheme of things…

      The real Magic Word will make total sense to you when I reveal it next week.

  • tstan says:

    Is it “act”

  • Hi John
    My guess is the word story. Stories are what make life interesting. They can be filled with rich details or leave gaping holes that beg the listener to fill in. They create emotional hooks by pulling at the heart strings and bring a tear to the eye or make us pee our pants with laughter. Stories are what draw people in and make them want to learn more about us and, if they like the story, engage with us and and our business.

    The stories we paint in our own minds set the intentions for our dreams and lay the foundation for all of our goals and plans.
    Leaders live, create, and tell stories. Stories are a wonderful motivator when energy runs low or we need to boost our confidence.If we visualize a story that we are successful we can awaken the subconscious to help drive us to that successful outcome.

    Good stories carry through time so that you have a rich list to share with your grandchildren. Great stories change the world.

    Thanks for the fun contest. I have enjoyed everyone’s participation.

  • Bill D. says:

    Hi John,

    My answer is “Modeling”.

    Modeling encompasses just about all of the popular answers, including Goals, Prioritizing, Accountability, Action, and Finishing (getting things done).

    There’s an old saying…“success leaves clues.” So if you model successful people, systems, businesses, etc., you’ll eventually reach success, however you define success for yourself.

    That’s why you consistently cite “Think And Grow Rich” and “How To Win Friends And Influence”. These are both modeling systems, as are the seminars and info products that you and others create.

  • justin says:

    ‘pareto’ aka ’80/20′

    cuz most ppl waste to much time on shit that just doesn’t matter

  • Jurg says:

    I was certain deadlines was the the word, then discipline. But I’m thinking it’s “Goals.” You’ve even described goals as being “magically.”

  • ChrisK says:

    To quote the infamous John Carlton, “PREPARE”

    “Would you like to know what the UNCOMMON entrepreneurs and small biz owners do when looking ahead to the coming year?

    They smile. They yawn at the shaky economy. And they feel damn good about their nice, clear, unobstructed view of the coming months.

    No fog. No murderous pitfalls hidden in the shadows.

    They are uncommon, because they are PREPARED.

    They have an action plan… and they know how to implement it.

    You wanna commit business suicide? Stumble into the coming year without a clue how you’re going to grow or get better results.

    You wanna join the Feast, where the Smart Few are enjoying floods of traffic, maxed-out conversions, and the kind of almost-ridiculously-abundant free time (like a vacation every month) that most biz owners can only dream about?

    Then get hip to the amazing magic of putting together…

    A Simple
    Action Plan.

    And make sure it’s a plan you can easily (and even joyously) implement right away.

    I’d like to help you, if you think getting some honest, hard-core, proven (and specific) advice can get you off your duff… and onto the Fast Track to achieving every goal you have.

    And we can help you RIGHT FREAKIN’ NOW… if you’re finally ready to get moving.

    Here’s what’s up: There has always been a stark contrast between those who plan, and those who don’t even know how to plan.

    For nearly 30 years now, as a high-paid consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs and biz owners figure out the critical first actions to get moving in a new, profitable, easier (and more fun) direction.

    Having even a simple plan (with just a few steps to take) will change your life forever.

    But only if you are confident (and know the easy tricks) of putting this simple plan into action.

    I know how to do this. And I hang out with masters of simple-but-insanely-lucrative planning.


    … I hosted (with a mob of Hall O’ Fame colleagues and other marketing wizards) a live workshop-seminar earlier this year…

    … where attendees got direct help putting their own killer action plan together.

    And now…

    … I’d like to give you the same opportunity.

    To finally put YOUR own killer action plan together…

    … with the SAME EXACT input those lucky attendees enjoyed.


    Easy. By providing you with the DVDs of that event.

    If you’re ready to go, pop over here and grab your set:

    (Shameless re-plug for your product, heehee)

    You said it yourself:
    1. Prepare
    2. Put together a plan (or get help to make a plan if you need help)
    3. Implement it (or get help implementing it if you need help)

    So the #1 thing to do is “PREPARE”

  • Patrick says:

    It’s obvious what I need…




    I got to fly and nail a sale right now.

    However, when I come back I would like to say a few things in my defense… Your Honor.

    Clarify my case as were.

    If I’m wrong I will start the compulsory self-flagellation immediately.

    • Patrick says:


      Why a “Mentor” can help me be more productive.

      I want to start an on-line information business.

      The thing is that I’ve got so many questions… What is the best approach to take in starting my new business.

      For me everything is unfamiliar, I am green in this area and there are many ways to skin a cat (so I’ve been told).

      What’s the best way? Where do I start? Should I write a book? Or is that giving my knowledge away for nothing? Should I sell my expertise at a high price? Am I just dreaming if I’m not recognized as an expert yet?

      Heck, it takes a lot of research to find all this out… and money and time.

      The great thing is about a mentor that is trusted, reputable and successful in their given field, is they have a wealth of experience.

      So if I follow their advice and copy what they have have done, I can be successful too.

      I can get straight into being productive knowing confidently I’m on the right track.

      And if I have any concerns or don’t know what to do… all I have to do is just ask my mentor and BANG!!! I’m back to being super productive again.

      I rest my case “Your Honor”

  • Erena says:

    I think the word is “Now”

  • Erena says:

    I’d think of the few more words “Strategy”, “Plan”, “Prepare”.
    And would be very nice to have a good Mentor.
    Personally, I think, it’s the most important….when Someone’s ready, of course.

  • Norm says:

    John, I’ll choose “timer” for two reasons. The first is because you said it is in a response to Glen. Your words are “But it’s the magic word” Now at first glance the sentence reads like the word “not” is a missing. A typo. I imagine most readers mentally put the word in. But! On the other hand the sentence does tell us, in straight fashion that it is indeed the magic word. So the question is,,, did John make a typo accidentally, or on purpose?
    The second reason is because I use a one for the reason you stated.

    So John, if you did make a genuine typo and timer is NOT what you are looking for then disregard the above and I will say the magic word is… organize. Organize your day, your time, project, task, meetings, and your prospecting. As someone has surely said…An organized life is a productive one.

  • Paul Graf says:

    Hey John,
    Great question… What is this magic word that can work such wonders for your productivity? What single word can wield such power, that you can transform almost immediately into someone who gets more done?

    In the immortal words of Wet Willie – “Your MAMA don’t know no nothin about it… no, no, no”

    I use to avoid the painful experience of uncertainty and change, by constructing a nice neat little box into which I could place everything to predict the outcome I wanted in any situation. The logic being… If I can define it, I’ll make sense of it and I can control it.

    We all tend to do this in little things, but unfortunately it spills over into more important aspects of our lives without our realizing we’re running on autopilot. My problem with this is most of the time I was dead wrong in my assumptions and it cost me plenty in time, money and thinking about what I could have been or done had I taken a different approach.

    When I realized what I was doing and changed my habits, I began to see that every success I’ve ever had was a result of avoiding this comfortable self deception by learning to trust my instincts, even when it looks like I’m about to walk off the edge of the world.

    Many times what looked like certain death, turned out to be the best thing that could have ever happened to me, and actually became a stepping stone for something so much better than I’d imagined.

    It’s a very cool and humbling feeling to have something you’re working towards be suddenly taken, seemingly lost, only to have it returned to you in a more powerful way… there is something bigger going on here than most people are aware of yet.

    It all turned out to feel more like a roller coaster ride than anything else, it was incredibly exhilarating and afterward all I wanted to do was take the ride again!

    I finally realized the world isn’t flat and my thinking shouldn’t be either, so whether we’re talking about productivity or anything else in life, for me it all comes down to trusting my instincts… Just do it, whatever it is, it’s the right course to take, you already know it, so stop trying to define it and get moving right now!

    By taking action immediately before the inspiration is gone, you say no to every distraction automatically, and your life becomes one hell of a ride unfolding in ways you just can’t predict. As a result of doing this my inspirations also became much stronger and easier for me to follow… and so the ride continues. 🙂

    For me those 3 little words (just do it) are the compass I use to chart my life and set my sails, they keep me out of the box and keep me living in the moment where everything is possible.

    In a word, my word is Attitude.

  • Funny thing how the word “purpose” is not coming up,except from me. I can tell you with confidence, that if you don’t have a strong enough “Purpose”, then you won’t do it, not for long. At one point you actually said it was “no”. Well there are the people that make excuses to never start, they are quietly chiming in “no” to starting. “Confidence” that you can succeed is huge. If you don’t believe enough, then it won’t happen. Fear holds people back from so much. If you can conquer the fear and do it anyway, well then you will thrive. So many of us keep anticipating what we will do and never actually dive in becuase we are so deeply afraid of failing. Yet, I love the expression that someone famous once said, maybe Henry Ford “failure is the opportunity to more intelligently begin again”. Therefore just “do it”. Isn’t that Nikes motto? Hm. that attitude yells out “yes”. 🙂

  • Colli Christante says:

    Suspend Disbelief

  • Shirley Bass says:

    Repetition? The more I do something . . . the more I do it. It come natural after awhile.

  • At the risk of the “second guess” disqualification…

    How about “Ask”?

  • Evan says:


    The magic word is PLEASE.

    As in please give me the answer.

    That or WHAT?


  • Maxine says:

    It’s a no brainer…OUTSOURCE!!!
    Get someone else (at a rediculously low cost)to do the mundane “must do’s”, which frees up your own time to be concentrating on the actions which grows your business.
    Go have a look at Fiverr.com. This site is just plain scary for the stuff you can get done for five bucks. Want to get more done?
    Spread the load!

  • Shari sweetnam says:

    Persistence. Hang in there long enough with the time and patience to take progressively actions and follow thru and most any problem can be resolved

  • Belinda says:

    After a ridiculously long comment punting for strategy – I actually think the word may be START!

    As I reasoned for strategy about other words being useless without a strategy – a strategy is useless if you don’t make a start.

    Or maybe that’s just my current focus as starting seems so hard in the heatwave we’re having!!

    • No Belinda! Your answer with “Strategy” is extremely powerful!
      You included the correct answer too, “outsourcing”. Your answer is very valuable because you included many important elements, but the fact is that even strong strategy can be outsourced, and sometimes it can’t be outsourced too, I think.

      But it seems that John’s correct answer (the magical word) has something to do with critical thinking too, and we need critical thinking to find the correct answer here.

      John is talking about being multiple times more productive than we are, and if we talk about productivity, it means we have already started something, and I guarantee that if you come back to read the post, you will find the answer, offered, and calling to be discovered ^^

  • Hi John,
    I’m guessing that your word is planning because without a plan you are just fumbling in the dark.
    This is what works for me…


  • Lisa Wagner says:

    “Everyone has a plan… until they get hit.” – Mike Tyson

    Not a single plan I’ve laid out oh-so-perfectly has ever come out the way it should have.

    Kinda like going out on the field having prepared for the perfect game, but everyone else forgot to follow YOUR plan.

    So… you win by taking the unexpected hits, getting bumped and bruised, but still pushing ahead because you love it. And you are dog tired, dirty, bashed up… but still have a smile on your face when you’ve won the game.

    Business is no different… and no cleaner.

    My final guess then is going to be “passion.” Because when you have a passion for the “game”, you keep at it. You realize the bumps and errors are part of the process, and you KEEP playing until you win.


    P.S. John – really enjoy these threads – lots of great answers….

  • Sarita says:

    For me the magic word is WIN- it’s positive, motivating, and action-oriented. Works for me!

  • Dan says:

    I’m going to go with “Now!”

    It’s all about taking action and doing what we can in the present, to pave the way for our future success.

  • Kerry says:

    These are two action words that I can think of: “Go” start
    Get going on one activity “Move”
    choose “one”

    Is is something along those lines.

  • Kerry says:

    Oh just thought of another – what about “Hungry”

  • Evan says:

    There is no magic word… to quote you:

    “There’s no magic word but what you need is to know the language that makes people act.”

    That’s my answer -from the horses mouth.


  • Evan says:

    Either that or “Define” or “Definition”

    As in setting a clear direction, purpose, or meaning behind your writing.

  • Patrick says:


    This word almost always makes my pulse quicken and focuses my attention instantly toward doing what I have to do to achieve the desired result on time!

  • Prioritise — you’ve got o know what to do in what order and why.

  • Jeff Marcus says:

    This may not be the word you were looking, but it has always worked for me; Persistence.

  • John Adams says:

    “Please” as in please your customer. End result of everything your are doing!

  • John Lloyd says:

    I go with prioritise. You have to know which area needs the immediate attention to focus on and take action.

  • Victor says:

    The Magic Word for me is “Awareness”

    When you’re aware of what your purpose in life is, and you are working on it, then action becomes effortless.

  • Ali says:

    The magic word is REBEL!

  • Andrew Dickson says:


    I gotta be able to let go cause until I do I’m a slave to past hurts and failures whether they be how others have hurt and failed me, or how I’ve failed myself.

    Doesn’t mean I don’t address the issue – I must OWN the fact that I, or another goofed up and sinned against me but then I make things right, choose to forgive and start afresh leaving the guilt and shame or the need for revenge etc behind.

    No freedom until I do cause ‘stuff’ will be weighing me down if I don’t. Much more could be said…

    Had thought yesterday the answer was NOW but woke up at 2am (NZ time) with this sure hoping not too late to comment.

  • Corey says:

    Focus, motivation, action are nothing unless you are getting results.

  • Akihiro says:

    Hi John
    I think the answer is “Exercise”!

  • Venus Brown says:


  • Venus Brown says:

    Oops! What I meant to say was:
    As opposed to ME.

    It’as all about the other person — not me.

    Do I win the prize?

    I like prizes.


  • CJ says:

    My guess is “decision.”

    P.S. This blog raises curiosity and intrigue…

    …it also uses a really clever involvement device. Pretty cool huh?

  • Greg R says:

    Hi John, The word you are looking for is, Prioritize. If you don’t have an order and structure to your efforts you won’t know where you are going or what you have accomplished when you do something. Things need to be organized in order of importance, so you’re not bouncing around all over the place just doing what comes to mind at the time.

  • Belinda says:

    John it’s great you’ve run this when our weather has been so hot sleep has been difficult and my sleep deprived brain wanders back to this thought.

    So first I reasoned strategy, then start. On the third night I started to think about time which brought me round to great productivity boosting word –


    The more I reason through this each night the more I think leverage is actually key to boosting productivity because it is about making the most of and more out of what you’ve got. We’ve all got the same amount of time so it’s how we use it – leverage.

    There is only so much any of us can do with the resources we have so – leverage is key.

    Anyway thanks for making me think so deeply about productivity for the past 3 nights. Off to implement some better strategies for my own productivity regardless of what the word proves to be.

    • I think you are absolutely right! I was thinking about leverage too, and leverage is what leads to “outsourcing”, especially when everything is directed by strategic thinking :p

      But I am sure John has a particular reason for going for another word. (look at the post and read it carefully, you will find the answer inside!, as simple as clicking it ^^)

  • Peter says:

    The word is “Understand”

    Understand your clients needs and satisfy that emotion.

  • Jurg says:

    This exercise is building HUGE anticipation…! I’m excited for the answer!!! Go Packers!

  • Hi John

    Greetings from New Zealand, where the Summer is hot and I’m looking forward to joining you in San Diego soon – all booked and ready. Hope the ocean is good for swimming.

    My guess is the word Passion! It gets more people out of bed and into gear than anything else, and keeps them going longer.

    Not so frosty here – all the snow has melted off our resident volcano, so if you’re visiting NZ then we’ll climb it just for fun 🙂



  • Colin says:

    In my practice patients are looking for the “Magic Pill” or the “other” answer please.

    So is there a “Magic” word that will improve productivity for everybody…probably not.

    In my line of work if I could get rid of EXCUSES then my productivity would surely improve.

    I think everybody will have to find their own Magic word…what drives them.

    We will have to match the word to each individual…in the end when people are honest with themselves it will be based around the Reward or in this case the…


    • John Carlton says:

      Good, solid thinking, Colin. However, there IS a magic word that will help you for the rest of your days… and it’s only magic because most folks fail to understand its power (or the best ways to use this power).

      Don’t get confused by the “magic” part. It’s a way to explain the transformative power of the word within the individual who learns how to use it correctly.

      I’ll reveal all this week…

  • So the “the magic word” had finally something to do with Joint-venturing?

    Maybe “connect,” “team-up,” get professionally “social”?

    Survive with a friend, coach, mentor or the three at the same time, before you can thrive and fly with your own wings?

    I can understand the force of this approach, because while I am working on my first serious project, I found there is a learning curve to be surpassed in regard of a particular skill I don’t have: coding for web development.
    My current objective is to create original WordPress themes, as just one of a series of complementary products aimed generally at general Internet marketing, and even if I have basic skills in graphic design, I can absolutely feel how uncreative I am when I dive inside php and css code learning, because I don’t have a clue about these things.
    I am dealing with this stuff just recently, and I see that it won’t take long before I find another solution because I have to get my productivity in movement faster than that.

    Since I am not the kind of people who ask for help -and I know it’s a mistake- (when I need a service I always offer a counterpart, and once I have a bidget I will certainly hire some very talented people to execute high level tasks, and learn from them at the same time,) I find myself just doing research, and looking for a way to learn from other specialist’s experience (in my current task of producing WordPress templates: web designers who already master all the business model aspects, selling their services and products, custommer service, etc…)
    So by studying their advice through their online resources and blogs, it helps a lot to see important components to consider for this business, and very good alternatives to outsource the coding to a freelancer -using some tools and resources- (at least temporarily in order to get my project on secure and proven foundations)
    Right now, I am gathering the technical knowledge required for my current product development tasks, and look at that:
    Web developpers are super communicative! I was pleased to discover it, and once I gather enough knowledge and succeed at implementing it inside my project, and reach that “plateau” where the need for maximization is huge, then I will not hesitate a secound to hire a cool coder to work with me.

    Not reinventing the wheel, applying what works first, but I am still not sure about what that “single” word is, thinking…, …

    “Hire” is incomplete, “outsource” also.
    The closer meaning towards the magic word: “accept” the idea of being helped by an already successful person that you take as a “model,” and work with that person live.

    • Or is it “Hook,” or “Hook-up”?
      I know I am very close now

      • Ok now I need to provide a logical reason about why I think I got it right, it’s so simple:

        Johnn is giving up the answer in his post. It’s just hidden somewhere, I could find it because the first time I responded, I was thinking emotionally, and I responded with impulsive passion : )

        For anyone who wants to find the correct answer, just read again the original post, is there some secret “edit” done recently, or is it really that invisible the first time you read the post?

        I wonder if anyone will consider my comment :p

        • But still, I wonder if I got the right “single” word.

          It seems the closest practical meaning is “outsourcing,” but not any kind of outsourcing:
          – engaged “outsourcing” with a person that you are compatible with.

          Especially when you are stuck with manual or too technical time consuming stuff, or any other type of inconvenience, when you try to do it all alone by yourself.

          So, I think the other persons who got the correct answer with “outsourcing”:

          20. Gary
          48. Alan from Perth
          144 Belinda
          188 Maxine

          But maybe other people used a synonym.

    • Venus Brown says:

      I don’t know what it is, but something about your post makes me feel that you need a hug. Could I be on to something? Or not.

  • Shirley Bass says:

    I like Kick-ass, because it does it for me. But that’s two words. I also like to ‘PROFIT.’ I get excited when I see orders rolling in and I’m making a profit.

  • Aaron says:

    I know it’s too late to win anything, but the magic word is ‘no’.

    I listened to a call between you and Perry Marshall recently, John, where you tell a story where you and Halbert getting ready to write copy when the office manager runs in with a list of urgent problems for you to solve.

    The list was as long as your arm. And everything on it had to be solved.

    You thought to yourself, ‘Damn, we’re never going to get any writing done’.

    That’s when Halbert closed the door. Turned your backs on those problems. And you two got on with the business of bringing in the money.

    You said, ‘No’ to taking time away from doing what you do best – making money – and left those jobs to be dealt with by other people.

    Some of them sorted themselves out. Some weren’t as urgent as they were made out to be. And others took care of the rest.

    So the magic key that unlocks your productivity is saying ‘no’ and turning your back on the tasks that will not help you achieve your goals.

  • Kate Rose says:

    I believe the magic word is strategy.

    It allows you to develop and define and delivers a game plan to follow when in action

  • ken ca|houn says:

    the right word is “BECAUSE” … though I like ‘focus a lot as well, that’s the means to achieve. Without a big enough reason why, the rest doesn’t matter.

    My vote is the word “Because”.

    What’s funny is that’s one of the most-used posts in folks answers here but nobody seemed to get it. Get it?

    then again I could be wrong. at least it’s a fun thought provoking thread.

    to profits. BECAUSE i like being rich lol.


    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Ken. Not the right word, but a very intriguing guess all the same.

      I know I’ve succeeded here when I get smart guys like you thinking in fresh patterns like this, though. Fun thread…

      • ken ca|houn says:

        right… thanks for getting the dialogue going, it’s refreshing for everyone, and helps us think about how to build our businesses more successfully… excellent thread.


  • Barnabas Ng says:

    The word should be “Enjoy”.

    When you enjoy doing what you do, being productive to make things happen will be not be a chore.

  • Stephen says:

    I like a word that Jim Rohn used a lot. “Reasons.”

    Give yourself enough reasons and you can do amazing things.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SuperSimpleGuy, wordingme. wordingme said: Quiz Time #11 (and Prize!) http://bit.ly/fmVwxF […]

  • Ingebjørg Huus says:

    Hi John,

    My 1. guess is “consistency” – You can’t be productive one day and then expect to “unleash the bounty of wealth, fame and wonderfulness” the other day.

    My 2. Guess is ACTION – that is obvious…isn’t?

  • Roger says:

    Hi John

    I think the word is “desire.” You have to have vision, goals, planning, determination and action but first you have to know what it is you really want.

  • Ethan says:

    “Momentum” – that’s my guess.

    When I’m creating, I find that when I get a little momentum through doing some work –even if it’s crappy work which can be fixed later–, the work becomes easier and the ideas flow freely.

  • auriela says:

    The magic word is “FUN.”

  • Sharon says:


    1. Action that does not produce the results that you need or want is simply a waste of time and energy.

    2. Being focused on achieving/obtaining specific results causes you to clarify what you want, how you are going to get it, and the extent of your determination to pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

    3. Instead of being stuck in a mouse-maze work mentality and attitude, it propels you to think outside the box, find loop-holes, and have an unbreakable resolve to achieve or obtain the desired result.

    4. It makes discipline become second nature because anything short of ‘the result(s)’ is meaningless. As much as no one likes pain, the loss of the gain is much more painful.

    5. Focusing on results, and only results, propels you toward the deadline with only a fraction of a sec to spare or in record-breaking time (causing headlines of an obsolete deadline).

    6. Obtaining results blows fear out of the water, tames fear, or forces you to act in spite of paralyzing fear.

    7. You will screen and choose outsourcing carefully because you want results, not excuses, delays or second best.

    8. Focusing on results makes you accountable to yourself and everyone else (for whom it matters). If you fail to get the result you want, you still have to be accountable to yourself: ‘I tried my best, I have no regrets.’

    9. Focusing on results, makes you ask ‘Why’ for every
    strategy, action, decision, word, etc. The expected result defines the importance of everything else. You don’t waste your time and energy on anything that does not bring you closer to obtaining/achieving your result.

  • mark says:

    I’m going to say Attitude.

  • Venus Brown says:

    Of course. The answer is “write” there in front of our noses all along. 😉

    • Of course: write, that’s excellent.
      And how about hiring a super talented writer to ‘help’, to write exactly about what you want, so that you would never experience the writer’s block, and keep your creativity and productivity fresh, do you think “outsourcing” this is possible in your case? : )

      • OK! This was a very bad suggestion I made, I admit, what makes a writer is his or her writing, and unless he or she no longer can write for any reason, he/she will always write in person, and any other help can still be added later, it maybe marketing, proofreading, design etc.

        And, it seems I won’t stop until I find the true “word”, I thought I found it but now I feel maybe I was wrong… gah!

  • Jurg says:

    Does the photo at the top give any clues? It looks like you went through SMF baggage claim…? Maybe “baggage” does have something to do with the “word?” “Too much baggage”…”less is more” Just say “NO!” Interesting, if so…

    • John Carlton says:

      Hey, Jurg. Yes, Sacto baggage claim — great piece of art there. Nice call.

      But it’s not a clue — more of an illustration of what “overwhelmed” looks like. Though, all clues eventually lead to the right answer, don’t they, when you put it all together…

      • Jurg says:

        Yeah, it is pretty cool…and the photo doesn’t really do it justice…how big and tall it (they) actually are…

        …and yes the clues do. I still can piece together a correlation though…at least in my mind…

        • Hello Jurg,

          If all these baggage were yours, do you think you could carry them all, alone?
          Unless you have some superhero powers, I wonder.

          With this picture of “Baggage,” John refers to qualifications and experience.
          Sometimes we are overwhelmed by our lack of skills/qualifications, and lack of experience.

          So if you decided to carry everything alone, but got stuck;

          Cathy Presland with her word from a previous comment would ask you: “WHY?”

          Why would you do that?
          But I am sure you have the have a good idea of the answer now.

          • Ok I can barely keep my eyes open ’cause it’s 4h35 AM here, but I am having fun trying to find more about John’s word:

            What if all these baggage in the picture; are those of the people who booked their places to attend a Seminar?

            If my baggage were amongst those, they could tell a story about who I am, and vice versa, you could already have an Idea about who is a baggage owner just by looking at their baggage.
            You could spot a Golf equipment baggage: that maybe a part of John’s baggage lol!

            More seriously, I read again John’s answer (yes he is already answering his own question inside his post, dig for it and unravel it) and I think that I will keep “Hook up”, for now, my personal feeling about that is in my comment ( # 219. ) and I think I succeeded at getting a good understanding of what John has to say with his specific word.
            And I couldn’t get it without John’s help : )

            (personal thinking: sometimes you send your ideas to some people in the shape of coloured lights, some people are just like black holes as they just suck in everything and give back nothing: that’s chaos. Fortunately, there are those people who are like somekind of cool mirrors, you send to them your lights, and they reflect back to you with different colours. You just have to make sure you polish your light prism, so that you get the most of everyone, being transparent with yourself, as opposed to being opaque, possibilities ar endless)
            I did this with Cathy Presland, I just told her what I thought was the right word, and she reflected back to me nicely with her word: “Help” and I think she is absolutely right. (anyone else to reflect back to me apart from Cathy, Venus and John? : )

            By the way, I attended yesterday to Cathy Presland’s very first seminar, and let me tell you that she is really really awersome!
            Check out: http://cathypresland.com/

  • Roman says:

    the Magic Word is “flexibility”

  • Automation, because once you have an automated system to handle the workload, you can multiply your productivity, and have it accomplish tasks for you while you sleep, while you go on vacation, while you spend time with family and friends… whatever.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. =)

  • Okay, either that or supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. =)

  • Peter says:

    The word is “simple”

  • Peter says:

    Simple with “meaning”

  • gary says:


    as in “sell the damn thing”

  • How about “pain”? We all want to avoid it even more than getting anything else.

  • Carlos says:

    How Can I possibly go back and read all the comments other than by actually doing it?
    How Can it not be any of the former?

    One Thing I can say is that I’m not sure HOW Unless I actually do it.

    the answe is “HOW”
    John, You know I’m right!!!

  • Patrick says:

    “GunToTheHead” Lol

  • M Hopkins says:

    What I’m surprised at here is of all the people who suggest words that have already been discounted by John. This clearly shows that most have not read the thread.

    I think John gave up telling people it’s not e.g ‘Focus’ or ‘Action’ a long time ago.

    You see, if you take the time and do the groundwork first you would become far more productive.

    From all the suggestions so far I like ‘Write/Writing’ because I feel it’s the most important piece of the jigsaw.

    You can find the best niche, best product/service, create a visitor friendly website and get all the traffic in the world, but if your ‘WORDS’ don’t compel someone to take the desired action your doomed.

    At the end of the day, ‘WRITING’ is what John is all about and has mastered.

    • John Carlton says:

      Thanks for calling folks out, M — it would pay, you’d think, to read the entire thread here to get an idea of what others have said, and what’s been shot down. It’s fine to skip it all, too, of course… but really, if you’re looking to learn something and take advantage of this opportunity to expand your critical thinking abilities, then diving in makes the most sense.

      And, nope, “writing” won’t help with your productivity. It’s not the magic word. I know a lot of people who write obsessively, but never finish anything and never get anything done. I’ll be revealing the word soon…

  • Robert Scanlon says:

    Came back for another read … John your thought-provoking methods are wonderful … and something I’d like to model better.

    And to everyone else, kudos for the brain-stimulation!

    I re-read John’s post.

    I searched his site and read many of his other (brilliantly penned) articles.

    I came to understand that this is a man who gets seriously upset when other people quote “problems” at him (as reasons for being stuck or unproductive).

    John again says in this post how folks are “frozen with problems”.

    Well no-one can be productive if all they have are problems.

    But turn any one of those “problems” into an OPPORTUNITY … and you’ll laugh all the way to the bank.

    So I vote for OPPORTUNITY.

    If I feel I’m being unproductive, or overwhelmed (with “problems” even) then all I need to ask myself is:

    “What’s my OPPORTUNITY here?”

    That’ll get me off my butt.

    (Also I think John wants us all to realize what an OPPORTUNITY the Action Seminar is … LOL)

  • Carlos says:

    HOW Can It be possible?

  • Carlos says:


  • Susan Mazza says:

    The magic word is: PROMISE

    People use tools like goals and to do lists and have all kinds of strategies for prioritizing their seemingly ever growing growing lists of “should” be doing to identify the “must do’s”. The list will always grow, there is always more to do.

    The question for me is what drives the choice of what I do and do not do, of what I say no to, of what I focus on, of what I force myself to do and deliver no matter how hard it is to be disciplined?

    The promises I make to anyone. When I make a promise (a specific what by when that I consciously make) to anyone (not an I’ll try, I’ll do my best, I’ll do it if I can get to it, I have an intention to do it but in reality will only do it if it happens to float to the top of my priority list,etc.) – as in a sincere commitment to deliver what I say I will no matter what I find a way to focus and act to deliver on that promise.

    That’s my shot anyway…and I had the benefit of reading all the answers that came before so I didn’t have to repeat the first ones I thought of.

    Of one thing I am very clear – the answer is NOT FOCUS!!

  • Steve Marks says:

    The magic word is “decide” Until you make the decision to take the action that you need to take their wont be any focus, any motivation and definitely not the results you want.

  • Sanjay Pande says:

    Hi John,
    Here is another one of my thought processes and reasonings

    “… there is still just a SINGLE word I’ve been using for decades that will do more for your productivity than any other tactic, secret or gimmick you will ever find.”

    Adding another entry here for something everyone needs – PERSPECTIVE

    No matter how bad you feel your situation is, its just a matter of perspective and for either you yourself or for someone else to break it down and explain it to you.

    Whats the worst that can happen? What are you really afraid of? Failure? Success? Too few orders? Unable to handle to many customers? All just annoying things in your head.

    Deal with it! Some of them are good problems to have.

    Did you know that there is a motivational speaker who has no limbs. While he is extremely successful as a speaker, can you imagine the trouble he has doing simple things – like brushing teeth, making and having a cup of tea … use your imagination!

    If you do cannot imagine … watch this


    Now, do what you need to and get stuff done

    The next word is FINISH what you started

    Too many people get hung up and jump from one thing to the next before completely executing one thing. I am just as guilty as most people, but the single most important thing you can do for ANY project is to FINISH it and give it your best shot before you decide to run with it or abandon it

    A couple of others would be ATTITUDE (This can really help or hurt your PERSPECTIVE).

    The other is CHOOSE/CHOICE. Its up to you really to CHOOSE how you react or don’t.

    So 4 more entries for moi


    Warm Regards,


  • Carlos says:

    Ok, hear me say the right answer is “results”!!

    what results you are looking for will lead you to being more in “control” of you productivity…obviously it will take some “passion” for you to actually go for the “results” you really “Want”!!!

    It all comes down to reaching a result!!

  • Persis says:


  • Persis says:


  • Persis says:


  • “Work” is the magic word. You can work anywhere anytime doing copywriting and never need to have a 9 to 5 job to pay the bills.

  • Susanna Jade says:

    I didn’t see perseverance, or steadfastness, persistence – never give up, keep at it. Without perseverance it’s difficult to succeed at anything. I say, drumroll……


    • Sanjay Pande says:

      Hi Susanna,
      Just fyi, I did mention Perseverance earler which is another one John has not shot down yet

      Take Care,


  • James Michael says:

    Hello John,

    I knowingly know that my answer “No” is not known to

    be the answer yet. And now knowing “No” has been

    stated no more than 17.5 times (with 2 folks saying No

    twice), it is noteworthy to know that a prize is not the

    inspiration of my post.

    “No”, on the contrary.

    Not letting anything or anyone get in my way of success

    while screaming at a full concert pitch of conviction,


    “NO” to any task, event, person or techno gadget that will

    not or does not, allow me to get closer to my stated goals.

    No, thank you,


    p.s “NO” way I am going to miss your “Action Seminar”

  • carlos says:

    Ok, I really want to figure this out!
    If you have a Goal, You Obviously Have a Result In Mind! Having Concrete Goals can Bring Clarity to your Results and will improve your chances of actually attaining them and make you more productive. All of this combined with your niche and market knowledge will clear the road for success!

  • Bill D. says:

    I think the answer is “help”, as in get the help you need to get you to wherever you want to go in business and in life.

  • Kristianne says:

    I’ve been thinking about this since last week. What SINGLE word would cause me to be more productive each day… Then my phone rang and when I saw the number, realized that I was supposed to have done something a few hours ago and the first word that popped into my head was oh shit!!! That word will get me jumping out of bed and flying out of the house.

    I am guessing “Shit”

  • cristina says:


  • Jay says:

    Confidence, if you dont have it, you aint got it. No matter how good your ideas or plans, if you dont have the confidence to put yourself out there…
    So John, My submission is confidence, because when used right its unstoppable. You attack and overcome obstacles, people are drawn to and want to work with you.

  • These damn quizzes hurt my productivity big time. Please stop them. 😉

    One thing I learned from the past quizzes: Patience, just wait for your first guesses to show up in the thread. That way, people think for you, John annihilates options and your machine gets easily deep into the thinking game. It’s also fun to watch how the guesses come in stacks. Even people loitering around hitting on women, awesome.

    Now, let’s get at it.

    First we have to realize that words live from the definition we give them, so the search for a word is ultimately not the search for a word, but for a concept that can be expressed with different words. Then by thinking about those words, their definitions may become clearer and that is always a good thing. Now we gained insight and can choose the word and definition that fits us best. Through constant use of this word with its now associated definition this really can become a trigger.

    Now, the tracking. The question is about productivity.

    What does the word productivity mean?

    Productivity is a measure of output from a production process, per unit of input. (Wikipedia)

    So to be productive things link thinking, desire, goals, planning, prioritizing, focus, concentration, next action steps, projects, sequence, components, staff, outsourcing, leverage, automation, imagination, passion, drive, motivation and so forth are PREREQUISITES or MAGNIFIERS. They can all be enhanced to increase the speed of flow or production, but they do not really get you to the end of the production unit. And we realize these happen to be the words that are annihilated, so far we’re on track.

    Read on.

    Before we focus on that end point, just a quick note: Could it be that most people don’t even get into production mode because they are stuck in the steps that have to come before that (the afore mentioned)?

    So what awaits you at the end of your productivity of your productive time? Well, duh. There is the finished thing, your product, your result, the thing you set out to bring into the world, the thing done, a check mark, in short completion of what you set out to do, to produce.

    To prove the point a quick example:

    Boy loves girl. Desired outcome: a kiss.

    Boy A:
    Strategy: Find an approach that will work (focus on process).
    Result: dreams, dreams, dreams.

    Boy B:
    Strategy: Get a kiss (focus on completion on the end result).
    Result: action, reaction, new advanced action, reaction… repeat… eventually a kiss.

    What got him moving? The vision of completion, the end result he wanted to achieve.

    OK, now let’s check if Mr. SecretMentor Carlton talks about this too and which word he uses.

    Enter google.

    Search term: completion site:http://www.john-carlton.com/

    Results 4, excerpts:


    “Finish stuff.”

    “there are two main problems affecting a majority of entrepreneurs:
    1. Getting started… and…
    2. Finishing the necessary details.”


    “One decent idea, taken to completion, beats the crap out of a thousand brilliant insights never acted on.”

    Search term: finishing site:http://www.john-carlton.com/

    Results 47

    Search term: results site:http://www.john-carlton.com/

    Results 174

    OK, clear answer this is definitely getting attention on the blog and the preferred word for describing the outcomes of productivity is FINISH.

    Fine, at the beginning of this process I was fixed on completion, then I switched to results for I want the result not the completion. But then the afore mentioned example helped me to clear that up. The aim of productivity is to get the thing done, whether this will yield the desired result is still to be seen. I cannot know this at that point in time. If it’s not working, it’s back to a new attempt, an new productivity outburst.

    What I learned:

    Productivity only makes sense if you are really producing something, e.g. if you have an end result / outcome that is worth the effort and worth achieving. That’s why you have to do the thinking, goal setting, planning… stuff. This also allows the measurement of productivity.

    But once you are in production mode it’s all about finishing what you set out to do.

    Last step, choose the word.

    Well that’s easy now. It’s: FINISH

    And hell, this is really great, right now I realize that I work like crazy on this comment just to finish it.

    Also, what is written on the band in a all those races: FINISH

    Awesome metaphor, for you win when you cross the finish line, no matter if you are first or last. For you did it, you ended that cycle of productivity and only then comes the measurement and judgment of how well you did.

    OK, this comment cost me about a $1,000 in productive time. Crazy, who says free mentoring is free. Also this was hard work, you know, thinking.

    Was it worth it?

    Yeah, I’m already one of the winners. Thank you.

    Now, dear reader, go out and finish something worthwhile

    Get lots done

    Karl c]:-)

    PS: For the fun part, John, could you please sign the book “To my dear friend Karl Knoeringer, the brilliant thinker!” That would really help with bragging to the grandkids, and even the wife 😉

    PPS: Amazing how we are starved for a word.

  • Marcus says:

    How could I resist? You’re such a tease Mr Carlton – one word that’s going to improve my life, make me rich, get results and bring me breakfast in bed – I got to know!

    My grey matter suggests ‘Prioritize’ it’s easy to be busy doing unimportant things and convince yourself you’re being productive. Hey I do it all the time.

    Looking forward to the revelation…

  • dean says:

    “HOW” am i going to get to the seminar.
    “HOW” am i going to read all the rants.
    “HOW” am i going to win this quiz.


  • A “hug” = a “hook”

    “Hook up” with potential partners/friends, exchange reciprocal hugs with them, everyone helps each other, so cool : )

    One partner: that’s already super cool.

  • Mike Hill says:


    After grinding out a couple of soul-sucking careers where everything was measured in terms of money and position, I feel well qualified to answer this question.

    Ok, I have no idea whether it is the answer to your question, but it damn sure is the answer to mine!

    The Magic Word is Joy (feel free to also consider fun).

    I can tell you that I am exponentially more productive doing things that bring me joy than I am with things that need to be done in the service of ego, greed, or obligation.

    Personally, I never really performed better when feeling like the sword of Damocles was hanging over me while I banged out another compulsory assignment. I just performed with more tension.

    Granted, some people seem to like this kind of atmosphere, and get really creative and inspired…even productive.

    Eventually it takes it s toll though, and productivity has to go down. It’s like the psyche revolts (as well as the circulatory system).

    When joy is the motivator in your work, goals are easier to set, focus is easier to attain, getting started is something you can’t wait to do, and higher productivity is a natural phenomenon…not a Clickbank system.

    Anyway, that’s my answer…it’s been fun.


  • carlos says:

    This Is a TEST, It’s only a Test!

  • Stany says:

    I go for for “HABIT”.

    Keep repeating productive actions so you get better and faster.

    This quiz sure keeps us procrastinators busy 😉

  • Debi says:

    The magic word is FAILURE. If you aren’t motivated and productive you’ll fail to reach your goals. Thinking of the word failure will keep you productive if you do not want to become one.

  • thanks for the share…

  • Troy says:

    Imagination – nothing exists without it.

  • Ernie Diaz says:

    The magic word is “Why?”

    eg Why does my client need this service?
    Why would she listen to me?
    Why did this copy work and that didn’t.

    Gets the gears rolling. Of course, the other W’s (Who, What, When, hoW, Where) are golden too.

  • Geoffrey says:

    Dude, for some reason I pulled up this old post, and don’t see that it’s been put to bed. Man sometimes I get real, real tired, and just need to get put to bed. And, when I’m ready for bed, i’m ready for bed NOW. And, dammit, I’m hungry, right NOW dammit. And, I need to make some freakin money right NOW dammit.

    The answer, I believe, is NOW!

  • Nico Commandeur says:

    The Magic Word…


    When you have a lot of experience in sales (example) you can tell a person a loy of this subject

  • Nico Commandeur says:

    I know it.. The magic word is…. Fun.

    If you do not enjoy in what you are doing,.. nothing will come out of your hands

  • Kenny says:

    Hi John,

    I think the answer is clearly “NO!”

  • Believeth says:

    The Magic Word is…


  • Fazila Patel says:

    Hi, John
    Been past a year and more, and someone did win
    So what was the *word*?
    Me would have chosen “Expectations”

  • Bill says:


  • Bill from Australia says:

    Nah, I take that back.. rush o blood… Nupe.. Action is the basis of productivity. It is the vehicle but not the steering. What helps provide the structure for me, the bones of the the skeleton so to speak is


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