Top 10 Secrets To Make 2013 The Best Freakin’ Year Of Your Life (all of which you’re either ignoring or screwing up)

Saturday, 3:44pm
Reno, NV
“I’ll have what she’s having…” (When Harry Met Sally)


I figured I’d kick off the new marketing season here in a ball of fire, and just lay some Reality Checks out for you. Here goes:

Your First Big Reality Check: If you tried, really really hard, and weren’t successful last year…

… it was probably mostly your own damn fault.

Yeah, sure, the economy sucked, politicians were mean, your prospects are all screamin’ idiots, and God had it out for you. All totally excellent excuses for having a crummy bottom line again.

It’s not your fault. It can’t be your fault.  That’s… that’s just…

… that’s just completely unacceptable that it even might be your fault.

And, hey, maybe you did piss off the universe, and spooky forces beyond your control mucked things up so you had a bad year.

I believe you. I really do.


After you’ve been around the block a few times in life, you start to notice some very interesting things about success.

And the big realization, I’d have to say, is that the idea that success is somehow magically bestowed on people in a spontaneous burst of luck and being in the right place/right time…

… is just bullshit.

It is. It’s total bullshit. Hollywood likes to pretend it’s a real plot point. And folks clueless about how the world works — who spend their lives outside looking in — use this myth as a comforting excuse for their own lack of goal attainment.

Once you’ve spent even a little time with successful dudes and dudettes, you notice something startling: They all have well-defined goals, and they focus on nailing them like terriers going after a squirrel.

They are not stopped by lack of skill, or lack of time, or lack of connections in the right places.

They are not stopped by ADHD (which a LOT of the entrepreneurs I know are saddled with, btw)… or feelings of inferiority (many of the best are entirely motivated by “I’ll show you” revenge fuel)… or lack of education (drop-outs galore).

And they are not stopped by the main reason most wannabe entrepreneurs never get past that “deer in the headlights” pose: Not knowing what to do next.

Every single excuse ever floated by anyone in the history of mankind…

… has been met and conquered by people with less brainpower, less money, less skill and less luck than you.

This can really piss a guy off. Especially if you’re deeply invested in believing that anything other than growing the fuck up and getting serious about attaining your dreams is what creates success in this world.

Let me remind you:  You have one ticket in this life. And you’re already on the ride — it doesn’t “start” at some future point, when you’re finally ready or finally have your shit together.

The game is on NOW. Nobody knows how long your ride will last. There might be a little meteor headed for your ass this very second, BANG, ticket cancelled.

More likely, you’re going to continue (for a while) living in the rarest of times, considering our history. Unlike nearly ALL of your ancestors — who ground out a living with back-breaking work, under the yoke of oppressive authority, without even a vague sliver of a dream that things could be better.

You OWE it your under-nourished, vulnerable-to-germs, knowledge-hobbled, bug-infested ancestors to take FULL ADVANTAGE of the mind-bending opportunities swirling around you every second.

I mean, really.

How dare you whine about how tough it is to succeed.

Those poor schlubs in your past fought, slaved and died for centuries inching toward a reality where a person might have a little freedom to choose how they lived their life.

And yet…

… we DO complain, don’t we.

Everyone loses perspective over the course of a lifetime. It’s not like the culture helps us out. The distractions built into modern life read like a solid science fiction story. George Orwell is rolling over in his grave.

Nevertheless, just because there ARE distractions and obstacles that trip up nearly everyone trying to get something going…

… doesn’t mean that YOU have to succumb to them.

The biographies of the most successful people you know about ALL have chapters — sometimes multiple chapters — where things looked bleak, and the story could easily have played out as one of a total loser.

At some point, a switch just clicks on for most of them. One second, life seems dull and you feel trapped.

The next second… BANG, the most critical decision of a lifetime is made. And the adventure begins in earnest.

You know what that decision is?

It can be as simple as deciding to get started. To take the first step.

Success junkies talk about passion a lot. But most people confuse passion with “desire”, which ain’t the same thing at all.

Desire is helpless. A long sigh, a breathless wish.

Passion is all about movement. You’re breathless only because you’re engaged in hot and heavy action.

So, okay… you wanna hear my Top Ten list for turning your life around, starting right now?

You may not like this. I’m warning you.

Here we go…

Step 1: Stop wasting time.

You don’t “need” multiple hours every night to relax… and racking up time staring at the Boob Tube isn’t helping your brain, your digestion, your nerves or your future.

Knock off just ONE TV show you’re currently watching every week… and you’ve just found a hot little hour to devote to your new life.

Tear the plasma monster off the wall and donate it to charity, and you’ve recovered a second lifetime of hours.

Look, don’t go cold turkey if you can’t handle it. But stop pretending you aren’t wasting massive piles of time doing things that… if you were to suddenly come face-to-face with one of your exhausted, oppressed ancestors…

… he wouldn’t haul off and slug you as hard as he could, for squandering a life crammed with possibilities that he never dreamed of.

Seriously… “Dancing With The Stars?” Are you fucking kidding me?

Step 2:  Take a deep breath, and allow the dreaded “D” word to enter your world.

That stands for “discipline”… something few Westerners have even a nodding acquaintance with.

It’s simple to put to work, too. Every day, do something you really, really, really don’t want to do (that needs to be done eventually). It can be doing the dishes, or exercising, or getting up early (by going to bed at a decent hour)…

… or it can be diving into that biz book on your shelf, or that DVD course you bought last year that you never tore the shrink-wrap off.

Living even a mildly disciplined life will change your future immediately. You often know what needs to be done… but you use all that potent gray matter in your skull to find ways to AVOID those things.

Just stop it. Become an effective person. Start DOING shit that needs doing. Right now, you have a backlog of chores and items on your “to do list”. It’s a happy day when your new chore is to find a new project to dive into, because you’ve mopped up everything else.

Step 3:  Be a good animal.

Eat better (and less often), treat sleep as a sacred necessity for advanced living, get your butt into the gym or onto the tennis court (or just on a trail), allow for quality “ponder” time (or uninterrupted meditation), and plan (and enjoy) life with gusto.

My motto has always been “moderation in all vices”. Steady as she goes, but let’s kick it up a notch every now and then, test the adrenaline pump.

But the Prime Directive remains: Never pretend you’re something other than a complex biological machine, requiring good fuel, attention to wear-and-tear, constant routine maintenance, and ample opportunity for gleefully maxing out the emotional, spiritual, intellectual and kinesthetic possibilities.

You could do worse than follow your dog’s lead in most of this. (Except for eating garbage, of course.)

Step 4: Face your fears.

If you’re not keeping a private journal where you can air out everything on your mind without reservation (even if you have to write in code a lot), then start one now.

The first pages can be a list of what you’re afraid of. Just get it out of your head and onto a page… so you can stop obsessing for a while. (Obsessive thinking often comes from your brain’s whack notion that if you don’t obsess, you’ll forget. I’ve found that your brain actually knows that writing it all down means it can relax with the memorization nonsense. It’s like burying your bone in a familiar place — you can stop carrying it around for a while, and concentrate on something else.)

The biggie: If you’ve got something bugging you that ain’t going away with simple pop psychology tricks (like journals), then get some pro help.  Psychology is a field that has never lost its inferiority complex among other sciences, and so it keeps dabbling in pharmaceutical bullshit and elaborate protocols for treatment.

Now, you may need high-end treatment. There’s zero shame in that — sometimes, our wiring just goes berzerk, and modern chemistry may help. I’m not a doctor. If you have serious problems, get serious help.

However, if what’s troubling you is more along the line of emotionally-hobbling guilt, or feelings of inferiority or inadequacy, or the all-too-common problem of feeling like you’re a freak trying to hide your freaky nature among the throngs of “normal” people out there…

… you’re ripe for something as simple as “talk therapy”. I’ve slugged my way through every dark alley of pop psychology there is, from Gestalt encounter groups to dream analysis to primal screaming and other stuff you don’t need to know about. (I have a mostly-worthless degree in psych, you should know, from a California university. A California university, mind you. Every shocking notion you have of what that might mean is true, I’m proud to say.)

And often, what ails us is primarily the incorrect notion that we’re “naughty” and abnormal… when the truth is that everyone out there harbors a squirming nest of personal demons and private failures.

Life isn’t something you “figure out” and then coast through. The lessons and challenges come fast and furious, and never let up. It’s sensible to be wary of danger. It’s crippling, though, to be afraid of your own shadow.

If you need help, get it.

The people having the most fun (and scoring the big results) in life aren’t normal. They’ve just come to terms with their individuality, and figured out how to rock on with the hand they’ve been dealt.

You can do it, too.

Step 5: Stop lying.

To others. And to yourself.

This doesn’t mean you suddenly become that azzhole who constantly delivers “the truth” to everyone around them. The “truth” is hard to ascertain in many situations, and living well includes being diplomatic and sensitive to other people’s feelings.

Lying often has nothing to do with the truth. It’s just a weak but persistent form of protection for your ego.

The key to being honest to yourself and others is to realize that you aren’t required to respond to every question put to you. It’s perfectly all right to say “no comment”, or “um, yeah, I’m not gonna share that”. (The “Magic Word” that all professionals and successful business owners need to have in their arsenal is “No”.  Said politely, with a smile, but firmly and without explanation. “I understand that you want me to answer that question. No. What’s the next topic…”, repeated as often as necessary, is NOT being rude. People learn, growing up, that persistence will wear others down and get them to do what you want. Which is fine, for the rest of the world. As a pro, however, you have the right to opt out of that game. Without explanation.)

Lying is a hard damn job. You have to remember all kinds of stuff that isn’t true, so you don’t cross up your stories.

Being honest means you are freed from the restraints of a complex relationship to what’s going on. To others, you may stop blabbering so much, and instead be a little circumspect with your answers (which is always a good thing).

You may even start listening more, which can also change your life.

Being honest with yourself is the big payoff, though. Our default position is to spin things so our little ego isn’t damaged. But you can “spin” honestly, too — there are always multiple realities to any situation, and you can look at shocks like failure in ways that put it in perspective, while being honest. (Most successful people have failed a LOT in their career.  They just didn’t take failure as the last word on the subject… but rather looked at it honestly, to learn the lessons and come back with better chops for the second round.  THAT’S how you win.)

Step 6: Do constant reality checks.

I often say that good salesmen lead better lives… because to make sales, you must see the world and everyone in it as it IS…

… not as you wish it was, or believe it should be.

People will tell you they’ll act in a certain way in a certain situation, and then do the exact opposite. They’re not “bad”, they’re just doing what people always do — ignore reality.

Top marketers constantly observe people’s actions (not their words). Gary Halbert, when he wanted to get a reaction on a new ad he’d just written, had a favorite bar he would go into and read the ad aloud. If everyone said “that’s a great ad, that should be a winner” then he knew he had written a bomb that would fail.

The ONLY reaction he wanted to hear was “Holy crap!  How can I get one of those for myself?”

This same kind of reality check needs to happen inside your head and heart, constantly. What’s really going on with you, right now? What do you want, what do you NOT want, what are you willing or not willing to do to make the good stuff happen?

Step 7: Reach out to loved ones.

People miss you. You’re horrible at staying in touch, and old timers will vouch for the fact that years can zoom by and destroy even strong relationships if you ignore the maintenance they deserve.

You don’t have to stay in touch with anyone, of course. Relationships that are burdensome can sap energy from you, and they need to be shelved if you’re gonna move forward in life.

Still… somebody’s waiting for a call from you, right now.

Make it.

Step 8: Reach out to colleagues.

People love to talk about what they love doing…

… and entrepreneurs are starved for networking with other entrepreneurs. Both to find out what’s working or not working out there for others, and to share what they’ve learned.

It can be shocking, at first, to realize just how much support you can get even from competitors sometimes. Business can be like a hockey game — brutal, but with total respect for the other team.

Every single successful marketer I know has a deep network of buddies and colleagues they call frequently, and share information that outsiders would pay a fortune for (like testing results, and experienced advice).

This is why most of the success junkies hit up events and seminars. You can’t really get to know someone from phone chats, or reading their blogs.

The real connection comes from face-to-face meetings, hanging out and breaking bread (while sharing gossip).

Step 9: Reach out to experts.

Mentoring changed my life. I’ve had multiple mentors along the way, and some didn’t even realize they WERE mentors. (I just observed them very carefully, and deconstructed what they did and how they did it. Some of the writers I learned the most from were dead when I came along, so I had to use critical thinking instead of actually working with them.)

But I also learned to quickly recognize others who had lessons for me (again, whether they realized it or not). Some thought of themselves as experts, others were just damn good at their job.

All had fountains of knowledge and skills worth exploring and figuring out.

Side note: It’s not a coincidence that many of the best marketers alive are also quite good at a musical instrument.

You know why? It’s the PROCESS of learning. It’s hard to get even the basics down for an instrument… and you must dedicate yourself (and use the “D” word) to get to a point of competence.

Most people, given the choice, will not go through the physical pain (your fingers will bleed when learning guitar) and mental anguish (because you will fail over and over again on each step — no one gets it right the first hundred times) of learning something as sophisticated as a musical instrument.

Most guitarists I know didn’t really have a choice. The desire to master the beast came from within, and we were driven to do it.

Still, I’ve met others who did it to please parents, or just because their reference group of friends all did it. And they got the same benefit as the driven ones: The realization of what it takes to learn something new.

It’s a process. And you CAN learn it, and you CAN do it. It just takes a little guidance.

There are a lot of great experts out there who teach.

There are also a lot of bogus assholes who fake it, and if they teach you anything at all, it will be to never trust someone without vetting them first ever again.

The key is to first find ONE expert you feel you can trust. Make them earn your trust. Triple-check their credibility and credentials.

Through this first relationship, you will be introduced to other teachers and guru’s they recommend. It’s still up to you to be an adult, and be critical of anyone you get advice from until they’ve also earned your trust.

But the first move is always yours.

When you’re ready, reach out. Get involved, take advantage of all interactive opportunities, and don’t be shy about sucking up all the free stuff that experts willingly ladle out.

Much of the rookie entrepreneurial world is populated with cynical fuck-ups who would rather tear an expert down, than learn anything. It’s like TMZ for business — there will never a lack of rubber-necking, sneering wannabe’s trashing everyone who has dared to be successful.

You can hang with these types, if you like. You’ll be entertained.

But you won’t get anywhere in life.

Cynicism is for bench warmers.

You wanna play, put your ego and your sneer away. Find the experts with the experience and the willingness to teach that fits what you need…

… and get involved.

Step 10: Master the art of setting good goals…

… and putting together a doable plan to achieving them.

This is not something you can do intuitively. Nearly everyone thinks they understand what a real goal is. And they also feel they should be able to achieve a goal just with positive thinking (and maybe a few inspirational catch phrases).

And they are wrong.

Goal setting isn’t rocket science… but it is more like learning a new instrument than it is like buying a new car. Change doesn’t come easy — there are all kinds of obstacles in your head, your heart, in the universe and in the cards that need to be met and conquered along the way.

There is a process.

Most people don’t even know what they really want. They just know they lack happiness or fulfillment or something…

… and early goal setting under these conditions will be wildly ineffective.

Fortunately, with just a little bit of coaching, you can become a goal-achieving monster.

And that is the key to moving from where you are in life, to where you want to be.

Now, it’s late, and I’ve given you too much good stuff already in this post.

If you’re ready for more of the real shortcuts and inside advice to making this coming year your best ever…

… whether you measure “best ever” in terms of cash, or happiness, or achievements, or all of it put together…

… then I recommend you at least check out the Action Seminar we’re hosting in March. Yes, next month.

Get the details on the Action Seminar by clicking here.

And yes, it’s a live event, so you’ll need to travel and get your act together enough to attend. We’ve made that part as easy as possible, by having the seminar in San Diego (with one of the easiest airports in the country to get in and out of)… where it’s also going to be nice, with ocean breezes and suntanned happy folks everywhere (even while your home town gets slammed with another blizzard or locust invasion or whatever other horrors winter usually brings).

Plus, we’ve arranged for discounts at the hotel. Good times.

And get this: There is NO PITCHING at the event. It’s all workshop and interaction and information-sharing. That makes it totally freaking UNIQUE in the entrepreneurial world (which is why the only two other times this event has been held are now legendary).

But best of all, you’ll get to hang out with a small army of experts we’ve hand-picked… along with a roomful of other entrepreneurs and veteran biz owners and rookies and budding professionals who are PERFECT for networking and forming new joint ventures and sharing info.

Skip it if you’re scared, or distracted, or “out in the weeds” with your life. Your choice.

But make your decision at least with all the facts:

Get the details on the Action Seminar by clicking here.

There are zero guarantees that this event will ever happen again. It’s tough work putting it together, and corralling all these hot experts for a whole weekend. And it’s going to be exhausting (though exhilarating, too) for all concerned…

… because there’s so much interactive teaching. This is an event focused entirely on attendees, and the needs you bring with you when you arrive.

It’s all about making 2013 your best year ever… however you want to define “best”. For most, it’s profit and income. We excel at teaching that. But happiness is also important, and we have the goods on that, too.

First step, if you’re at all interested, is to get the details.

Get the details on the Action Seminar by clicking here.

Don’t screw around and miss this event because you got distracted. Veterans and rookies alike are welcome, and will get breakthrough insight and real plans you can implement without taking huge risks, or finding new sources of investment cash, or changing your biz radically at all.

This is DOABLE stuff. It’s the key to making things happen fast… so you have the rest of the year to maximize results, and enjoy life.

From where I sit, this should be a no-brainer decision. But you gotta make up your own mind.

Check it out.

Stay frosty,


P.S. What are YOUR top ten secrets for success? Do they jive with mine, or do you have insight on something I may have skipped over?

The comment section is now wide open, and ready for threads.

This is THE most important period of the coming year. Getting your year off to the best possible start means months of doing it RIGHT, as opposed to months of wasted effort (that can murder your profits).

It’s your movie. You’re writing most of the script, and here’s an opportunity to see how the best in the game write boffo blockbusters for themselves, year after year.

Will I see you in San Diego?

P.P.S. One last thing — it’s VERY cool: When you see the little “flying box” on the Action Seminar site, be sure to click on it. That will automatically send three emails (over six days) to you loaded with actual Hot Seats I’ve performed onstage… plus an interview with the legendary Michael Gerber (author of “The E-Myth”)… and more goodies.

The Hot Seat videos are the meat of this meal, though. If you’ve never experienced this kind of “marketing intervention” before, you’re in for a shock. This is how the best (and highest priced) consultants in the universe perform their magic… identifying the “real” problems holding entrepreneurs up, solving them quickly, and kickstarting entirely new profit funnels. Right there, on the stage, in front of the audience.

It’s amazing to watch. Even more amazing to be part of… and guess what? You can ask to be chosen as one of the Hot Seat participants at THIS event in March.

Don’t miss this. Just don’t. Go here now to get the details:

Get the details on the Action Seminar by clicking here.

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."

  • rob joy says:

    Dear JSC

    You know ur posts always come in at the right time for me it’s almost like the universe knows…

    I need kick up the arse and little bit of a lapel shakin once in while and that is what this post has done for me…

    Not that I’m lazy little S.O.B

    Far from it.

    If any sain person does not appreciate wisdom and message in this post…than they are beyound hope…



    P.S Will u be putting the action seminar on DVD? as much as I would love to be there…

    To soak up everything like dry sponge and sticking round like bad smell in bar where action is at after…

    I’ve invested pretty heavy into two projects…so I need to be careful otherwise…

    I’m gonna be eatin bark off the tree’s with the possums…so if u are going to record this send me link when ur done no pitch just link…

    I’ll pounce on it like brown bear…later :O)

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Rob. I do not believe the seminar is scheduled to be put on DVDs. Certainly, do not plan for that to happen. These unique seminars are best experienced live. They’re also incredibly difficult to host, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last one. Just keep that in mind…

  • Sharon A says:

    One thing I learned about goals—DON’T wait for someone else to make up their mind to join you because they won’t. I was waiting for Husband to decide to get healthier with me because he’s been complaining about his weight for months but wasn’t doing anything. I finally realized I was hurting myself by waiting for him.

    I’m doing things differently this year. I listed my goals for health, our home, my work, etc. (fingers crossed on work; that goal is flexible). I started with the big goals; then I worked backwards and figured out the monthly, weekly and daily steps I’d have to take. I made up a calendar and wrote them all in, and I put it right next to my bed. It’s the first thing I see when I get up in the morning. When I go to bad at night I check off what I’ve done. I’m not 100 percent, but it’s keeping me on track.

    The funny part is, Husband thinks I’ve made all these changes to spoil him. He’s so happy to let me cook that he doesn’t realize I’ve put us both on a diet. I’m doing it for me but all the better if he wants to think that way. Makes my job easier, lol.

    As an aside, I’ve almost reached my goal of being weaned off the brace. My next goal is to be off the cane by April so I can go back to work part time. That will give me some pocket money while I make other changes. It’s going to be an awesome year. 🙂

  • John,

    Very timely post indeed. When I started in this business, back in 2001, I was 27 years old.

    Twenty – freakin’ – seven.

    I’m 39 this year… so I can attest that the years fly by… and there is NO way to reclaim them. I’ve wanted to write a book for the last 6 of those years, and have written little pieces here and there.

    Now it’s time to finish that book, before “The Music, Dies.” 🙂

    • John Carlton says:

      Just wait — you’ll blink a few more times, and you’ll be in your late 50s. I distinctly recall life “dragging” at times when I was in my twenties… I was so impatient, and couldn’t bare to let a day go by without some type of adventure happening. Now, weeks fly by and I’m trying like crazy to throw out anchors to slow this ride down a bit…

  • Wayne says:

    Thanks John you have put to text what has been a collage of thoughts and feelings racing around my brain, thank you for your uncanny ability to read my mind and lay down my thoughts for me. I would only add that ALL successful people believe 100% in what you say while ALL unsuccessful people believe 100% this is mumbo-jumbo hog wash! Both are right, it’s only what they believe that makes the difference.

    • John Carlton says:

      I know it’s a cliche, but there really are just two types of people sharing air in our world: Those who get shit done, and those who bitch about not being “able” to get shit done. Politics do not matter, gender doesn’t matter, upbringing or money or education or anything else… doesn’t matter. It’s all about the attitude, and the realization that “if anything is gonna get done, you’re gonna have to get it moving yourself”. Thanks for the note.

  • John —

    You are such an absolute joy to read I actually got through the entire post, all the points and…they REALLY sank in!

    My own 10 match yours perfectly. Different order. Slightly different emphasis here and there. But dead-on as a total which I see that it HAS to be.

    This list in this post is TRULY what you need do know for success. Everything else is specifics. And they all apply somewhere in this list of ten.


    You might not know it but this and several of your other posts, in addition to the great copy writing you do, make you one of my leading “mentors who don’t know it.”


    — Alan

  • gary says:


    As always, you hit the nail on the head once again. I was just laying out my year and looking at how many terrible things happened this last year: lost my mother, father and one sister in seperate deaths, nearly lost another sister to cancer, had a new business partner come in and completely shred my business…. ruining it totally(my fault, I took their bait of how wonderful they could do).
    But you know what? I am here and I am laying out my new year and the weird thing about it is that I am calm, way calm and excited for what the future looks like. I’m 53, how lucky am I to be able to start new and just go for it and rise up out of the smoldering heap that last year brought.
    It’s going to be a great year!

    Thanks for the little kicker in the backside, because it’s way too easy to sit and do the “poor me” thing. I get bored listening to me whine!

    Keep writing them John, we all can use your “therapy” style alot more!


  • Always a pleasure to hear from you John! I’ve got most of my goals set for this year and I have already embarked on a new project. I’m looking forward to the magic year 2013 will be…for those who take the steps you mentioned above. Take care,

  • Carl Picot says:


    What a great post John … yes the big ‘D’ or as Tony Robbins put it You must either feel teh pain of Discipline or the pain of Failure… which is the worst?

    I am not in the US or I would be strait to the seminar 🙂 Another Sweatshop in the making 🙂

    Yes I was glued to the post .. all the way to the bottom ..

    awesome stuff 🙂

    cheers Carl

    • John Carlton says:

      Thanks, Carl. Amazing how many people get scared off by the length of my posts. I “get” it, new world with less attention spans and all that… but really, man. Transformation doesn’t come in a pill form…

  • Another post that’s acted as a timely kick up the butt for me…

    You’re so right – it all starts with attitude. Attitude followed by focus, followed by channeling focus into being specific with your goals, followed by action.

    And of course parking those excuses in the long-stay, in the next bay to the word “try”…

    On which note…

  • G says:

    when’s the book coming?

    get your rebel newsletter going again (physical)

    Who do we have to murder?

  • Rod Smith says:

    Loved the top 10 secrets. We are all full of bullshit from time to time and it is always good to get reminded of that fact. I personally need at least 8 of the 10 reality checks drilled into my head on a daily basis. Luckily I am married to a woman that likes to do this often!!

    Very funny post but so damn true!

    • John Carlton says:

      I have consistently entertained the idea of hiring someone to just stay behind my desk all day, and whack me upside the head whenever I do something stupid. But I don’t think I can handle the concussions…

  • solomon elei says:

    Hi John,

    It is Solomon. I really admire you concepts and I think day are very real and true. I will also tell you that I don’t have money for now in physical currency or cash but I do understand that there is knowledge in abundance in this millennium dispensation. All thanks to the almighty God. I acknowledge your presents tremendously. You have great charisma and self-esteem. I really really admire you. I wish I speaking with you face to face but it’s all good because I have understand the reality in doing business or life. The actually truth is to be morally disciplined and professionally disciplined.

    I think like you, honestly speaking. I really don’t lie.

    I will not make it to the action workshop/seminar. It is also not a do or die affair but I promise that I will continue to follow you till I scale up my marketing and income, then I will appear to you face to face.

    I hope to be constantly hearing from you and also getting your teachings. As you well know you are my mentor.

    Stay frosty that is the logo or keyword that connects me spiritually to you because I don’t trust anybody because I fell they don’t also love me. It’s only on the Internet I started trusting because I realize that if you have not reached a certain level of intelligence and awareness, there is no way you can build or stay clean because you are not disciplined a enough. They can pretend to be disciplined enough but the start point is that are you spiritual in awareness.

    We know that the spiritual controls the physical and a well known statement from King Solomon of Israel “Every thing is vanity upon vanity”. From my own few is talking about the material things, that was when I realized.

    Feel good in this world feel of player haters.

    Stay frosty and best wishes.


    Feel me.

  • Mitch Tarr says:

    OK, I’m in. See you in San Diego.

  • Ken Ca|houn says:

    Brilliantly written as usual — you make a great point about little/no tv, it’s amazing how much time people waste. I like reading business books, playing guitar, watching educational videos during evenings, no more than 2-3 hrs/week on any kind of movies/tv show dvds.

    Very true about reality checks, self-discipline and honesty, plus a massive dose of Focus (I had signs made up with just that word on it, been in my home office for years, along w/whiteboards).

    I think one of the most valuable things you’ve posted as well is the need to turn to a trusted expert, like yourself, to help bridge the gap and clear things up, fast. Biggest challenge for folks who haven’t made it, is knowing the stepping stones from as-is to ‘to-be’, and unless they get some geniune, authentic help there’s a lot of wasted years and tire-spinning potential.

    Have a great seminar, always a fan, since what I learn from you helps me make a lot more sales, and connect w/my customers. Your writing’s an inspiration on how to really connect, on a visceral level, with folks, I’m still learning every blog post here from you… thanks.

    to focus,


    • John Carlton says:

      Always good to hear from ya, Ken. Thanks for the note. And why the fuck aren’t you coming to the event, anyway?

      • Ken Ca|houn says:

        lol I know I should get outta the house more often; would be great to see you in person, got webinars 2 of the 3 days you’re running it tho..(I have 1550+ scheduled for my saturday shindigs, do ’em like clockwork), did 122 webinars last year, doing more this year, fun to have an audience… you guys have a great time. Maybe u can invite me to speak next year and i can schedule around it, looks like you’ve got a super lineup this year.

  • Tim Gross says:

    Nice inspirational list, John. I like your phrasing of “Be a good animal”… Makes it seem really obvious. That’s a big one for me, as is seeking out the advice of experts. And the “It’s your fault” is bigger than it seems, because it removes the “I’m helpless” mentality to give yourself a kick in the butt.

    I’d add two things:

    1) Test new ideas extremely quickly instead of spending 3-4 months to create/roll out something it turns out nobody wants. I break that rule occasionally and it’s always to my detriment.

    2) Use a timer for each task you do during the day to realize how much time you’re really spending on things. It’s quite the eye-opener.

    • John Carlton says:

      I just used that timer advice (which I only sometimes use myself, but the concept is solid) in an article I wrote last week for Dan Kennedy’s newsletter (where I guest post a few times each year). And yes, you want to find out FAST if an idea has legs or not. Allow the reality of a good idea the world’s not ready for sink in before you lose the ranch…

  • Martyna says:

    I just can’t believe that the seminar is in the US. Why not in Europe?

  • Jonathan Ward says:


    Great shit here. Grateful to the friend and colleague who turned me onto your work. I’m an old guy (53) who is embarking on something like career #6. You speak the truth.

    I’ll be back.

  • Marlo Sison says:

    Just a few paragraphs in and I can definitely say this is
    probably one of the best blog posts I’ve read so far from
    your blog, and given your posts, that really means a lot.

    This is total ass-kicking to success.

  • I’m a Christian and some of your language offends me. Would you consider cleaning up your act? I’d really appreciate it and so would God.

    • John Carlton says:

      Sorry, Diane. This probably isn’t a blog you should come back to. I speak the real language of the real entrepreneur. Language cops are gonna have a hard time dealing with the biz world if they can’t handle earthy language. And, you didn’t really expect me to slap my forehead and say “Oh, drat. I’ve been offending people with language. I need to go back and scrub all the bad words from every post going back 10 years”, did you?

      I’m sure there are nice, grammatically correct and swearing-resistant other blogs out there for you to read. I doubt they have anything useful to share, but your ears won’t burn…

  • Andrew says:


    Hello John, I’m new here. My name is Andrew, I’m a guitar teacher & heraldic artist ( I paint coats of arms). I just discovered you in the last week or so. This is the first post of yours that I read.

    Boy did it hit home with me.! Since I’m surrounded by musicians who blame everything but themselves for their failures in life. I decided last year I didn’t want the rest of my life to go the same direction as theirs. I’m 37, they are about 10-20 years older than I am and still don’t have a reliable means of transportation.

    In the last 12 months I decided to educate myself in the one area that musician/artists shun in horror……marketing! I only wish I would have discovered you a year ago, because I wouldn’t have been fleeced for thousands of dollars by a half a dozen other marketing gurus who all claimed to have the answers. (Keep in mind I make about $10,000 per year, yes an embarrassing fact at my age!)

    I’m a little angry at those gurus, because they all left out the importance of copywriting and sales psychology from their programs. They brushed over it with no detail at all! I know as a guitar teacher if I don’t put the proper emphasis in the right areas, it will lead to decades of wheel spinning and dollars down the drain. I feel like they held back what they used to sell me which is copy.

    Now I’m completely broke with my hobbling musician mobile with 190,000 miles on it and a brake light that has been on for 3 months because I can’t afford to fix it. I assume full responsibility for my position though, I got myself into this and I’m going to get out . My one saving grace is I don’t have any substance abuse issues like the other musician artists I know.

    I must be crazy, because the thing that is on my mind is saving up enough money to buy your freelancing course.

    I just wrote this because I appreciate the hope and cold dose of reality that you provide in your posts! And I did notice that frank kern, eban pagan, Jeff walker, and you play guitar. I did think that was more than coincidence.

    Ok enough from me.
    Thanks for your time.


    • John Carlton says:

      Welcome to the circus here. Yes, it’s frustrating to spend money on products that promise a lot, and don’t deliver. There’s not much I can do about that — I’ve poured myself into everything I’ve written or produced, and I stand behind it. If the other guru’s out there are more prominent, or gather more clicks, then that’s the way the market operates — most of my customers come via word-of-mouth, and are long-time readers first.

      There are 6 years of archives here on the blog, all free. I’m really trying to provide some real insight and skill sets here, as a way to give something back to the industry that saved my life (advertising). Still, when I put something out for sale, you can be sure I’ve made it worth the price… in that you can use the tactics and knowledge to further your ability to sell your own stuff (or further your career as a copywriter or consultant). I’m not shy about being a capitalist, and I make no excuses about offering product for sale… but the free stuff I offer is pretty freakin’ awesome, too.

      Yes, we all play guitar, at varying levels of competence. I’ve often wondered if there’s a connection… but I think it’s more that the entrepreneurs who gravitate to my part of the biz world tend to be rebels and outcasts, and those are the types who also love rock and roll early in life, and naturally want to play it. Some of us have been in bands, others just like to play.

      Music is a grand form of communication, just like writing. And it’s amazing how much they have in common.

      Anyway, wander through the archives here. There are many posts on music and marketing worth checking out…

  • Alan Borcic says:

    Thanks John,
    this is kick in the butt I needed. It is really interesting how people are lazy by default, and how difficult is that to fight that habit all the time.
    It seems to be constant struggle to stay on the path and not slide into oblivion.
    The harsh truth as that we are solely responsible for everything that happen to us, and owning that is prerequisite for success.
    Regardless of sex, political belief, system, education, wealth, there are people who are successful. I believe it all comes down to “burning desire” as Napoleon Hill stated in his book “The Law of Success”.
    Great post, keep rattling the cage 🙂


  • Andrew says:

    John, thank you for taking the time to reply. I just ordered you kick ass copywriting secrets. I can’t wait to get it.

    I too, am an unabashed capitalist. This is somewhat rare given my artist musician colleagues I deal with everyday. They are all doomed to failure due to “misery loves company” mindset.

    You are right, I got here by word of mouth via Gary Halbert and Jay Abraham. I discovered you all within the same month. But it wasn’t do to search engines that I found you. It seems all of the gurus roads out there, lead to the 3 of you.

    I’m glad to be here finally. I can tell that the subject matter in your blogs is what I’ve been searching for. I realized that in all of the other courses, they would all mention “target a niche” but if you don’t know how to get into your niches head…all the rest of their info is just a waste of time.

    So, thanks again, I’m working on devouring your posts, but it’s going to take awhile!


  • David Wedge says:

    I am based in the UK and just discovered your site John.

    Great post that certainly resonates with me. I have been working freelance since 2001 with all the usual ups and downs that involves.

    I loved your point about constant reality checks, I realised recently that I have been pushing so hard to make money that I have lost touch with what I actually want in life now, I am now in my mid 50’s so probably not a bad idea to reassess my goals.

    The other focus for me is marketing, I managed to get this far primarily through networking and referrals but its time to start making things happen!

  • rose says:


    I mustsay this has got to be one of the best articles i have ever read.
    Thanks for telling it like it really is.
    Not that easy to find the honesty you bring forth.
    thanks again
    you are always welcome on my screen


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