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Essay #3: Learning How to Manifest Success

Updated: 3 days ago

Success Series

It’s not fair. You might not have been “born to succeed.” But you can learn.

Some are born, some are mentored, most of us have to learn.

I had to relearn success at 55+.

I retired at 55, fortunate to have been an executive, working for the right company at the right time. The classic “retirement story” – management buyout, IPO, retired to start a new life doing what I really wanted to do. And then I had several years of the long, rude awakening.

I had a lot of ambitious retirement goals on paper. Start a research business, go back to school for art, law, travel, etc. I found out that paper goals are much easier than what-do-I-have-to-do-today goals.

I had 10+ years of exploration, trial and error, starting and closing one business. Then I stopped reading about success and manifestation, and instead applied my research background to create a manifestation process that worked for me. And I discovered that my experiences represented a nearly universal obstacle for most people.

I recognized the most confusing aspects of manifesting goals: being tied too much to past experiences; lots of bad habits; being in a hurry; and the subject of this story, trying to copy someone else’s success story.

My two big epiphanies about manifesting goals:

Was I original? Were my goals what I wanted? From my head and my heart?


Was I a copycat? Were my goals what I saw that other people had achieved, and I thought I also wanted?

In both cases, whether my goal was a business startup or become a writer, I had expectations based on what other people had achieved. I wanted to know how they did it and how I could do it too (within reason, I wasn’t going to become Picasso ,Stephen King or Bill Gates). I believed I had legitimate, exciting aspirations tempered with realistic, modest success goals.

I eventually realized that I was missing one critical self-assessment: I didn’t know enough about my success or manifestation IQ. What was my natural ability and style to achieve new success and manifest what I wanted?

It’s very easy to envision what you want. It’s a lot harder, sometimes almost impossible, to visualize the tools and processes you need to achieve what you want.

I discovered that I could not just copy the goals and steps another person followed to achieve their success. On paper, I could achieve the same goal. But first I had to understand and learn how to make choices and take actions that matched my perceptions and personality.

I had to adopt and adapt; to reinforce what I was good at, modify what was not quite right, learn what was missing.

A Deep Reassessment

Part of my research was a reassessment of people I knew, friends and people from my work life. I had a couple of personal experiences that represented the biggest “I want to be like X” puzzles for me.

Over my nearly 50-year career, I worked at five different companies. Except for one, in each company, there were top executives who achieved significant business and financial success. I also wanted success, more money, promotions etc. But I never did reach whatever I thought was the goal, the highest level, the CEO of a major company.

Disclaimer: By all measures, I was successful, a senior executive/partner, generally well treated and well rewarded. But I knew that something was missing in my ability to reach the very top. I worked harder; I worked smarter; I took some risks. I observed the people I thought I wanted to emulate. But I realize now a lot of what I thought I wanted was more of a scorecard success than a true desire. Still, way back then, I at least wanted to know how the others succeeded.

Here’s what bothered me:

#1. It seemed my “emulation models” achieved their successes so easily.

#2. Based on sheer knowledge and skills, I thought that I was smarter than many of the aspiration models. But I also recognized that my models were better than me in other areas.

#3. I read books and listened to CDs about manifestation, positive psychology, and success strategies. Yet, the people I had on the success pedestal never recommended metaphysical philosophies, did not quote Wayne Dyer, but did often cite the conventional pop positive psychology advice. How were they able to transform the same advice I was hearing into being a CEO of a company?

“It’s Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been” attributed to George Elliott.

Virtually all of the positive thinking advice and valuable insights from the books I read seemed to be missing something. And that started me on my original research to write the book. What was I missing? What did I have to learn?

Question: Why do I have to read a book about how to manifest, while some other people seem to succeed without ever knowing about the popular manifestation principles?

Who are success role models? The people who are successfully using the principles of manifestation might know nothing about the books or ancient philosophy—but they do know the principles by way of their instincts, mentors, the grandmother who told them, “you can do anything you set your mind to do.” Some people are born athletes, have a talent for singing, etc., and some of us have to work harder to figure out our natural capabilities.

Many of our manifestation quests are based on only one thing: comparisons. It’s logical. How else would we know what we don’t have?

What type of manifester or are you? What is your success IQ?

From my research and personal experiences, I observed three primary types of success models or achievement personalities. In real life, they are not all equal with regard to how easy or hard we perceive our ability to succeed; the differences are a fact of life. But what each person does with their particular style, capabilities, and situation are largely under their control.

I designated three basic types of manifesters:

  1. Born with a success personality.

  2. Mentored, taught, encouraged and supported: “you can be anything you want.”

  3. Learned the “hard way” to develop our natural skills.

There is certainly overlap among the three types, and we all have some elements of each in our experience. But one type will be the dominant force in how you think about and work to achieve your goals.

Success Type # 1. Born with Natural and Active Talent.

Some people are born with a natural personality that fits well with manifestation and success principles. Optimistic, energetic, disciplined, focused, go with the flow — you’ve met these people. The supercharged, go-getter, spark plug person. We even see these traits in young children. What do we call it — a winning personality? Charisma? Some people have it, and they seem to come by it naturally and effortlessly; the traits are part of that individual.

Some people are born into a fortunate circumstance; a wealthy household, given a good education, taught responsibilities and continued to succeed in their own right.

That’s part of the probability of the universe; there’s the normal distribution of physical traits and intellectual traits. Most of us are in the middle; some are born with unfortunate limitations; others are born into a life where everything clicks.

Being born with the right traits doesn’t mean the person is automatically successful. But there are people using their natural-born abilities in the right environments and in the right way, and they are a fact of life.

Success Type # 2. The Nurtured Success

You may be familiar with the debate of nature versus nurture; what determines the outcome for an individual? Regardless of the dominance of the starting personality, some people are fortunate to have a mentor — a parent, grandparent, teacher who told them “you can accomplish whatever you want,” “you can be whatever you want to be.” We hear celebrities give speeches or accept awards and thank someone for giving them the support, confidence, and motivation to pursue their dreams.

Remember — nurturing works in both directions. Let’s call it negative nurturing. A child raised in a household full of fear, negative thoughts, despair, abuse, and counterproductive influences will likely grow up with many of the same characteristics: negative, depressed, unable to fulfill their wishes if they even have them.

Nurturing can magnify a person’s capabilities and help bring them to life, or create serious negative beliefs and suppress the person’s natural capabilities.

Success Type # 3. The Learners

That’s me. I finally realized that I was born with capabilities that had been untapped, underutilized, or misdirected. I did achieve a reasonable level of success, but I also had long-standing negative psychological obstacles. I did not have award-winning nurturing. Without getting into the gory details, I grew up without significant support or guidance for how to accomplish good things. My parents were fearful, intimidated, and believed that the world was against them. I did have a grandmother who offered a positive outlook for my future, even though she had not achieved her wishes in life. The day-to-day life of my first 20 years was pervasive negativity.

Fortunately, I had enough natural talents and a few early mentors when I started working so that I learned what to do to reach a level of success beyond what the typical hard work and a few smarts could achieve.

“It’s Not Fair”

Unfortunately, a large proportion of the population might have capabilities or opportunities, but they never recognize them. Their thoughts and self-talk dominate their choices and actions. They are overwhelmed with the daily challenges and can’t break out of the cycles of fear, doubt and uncertainty.

The “it’s not fair” conditions are facts of life. The great majority of people I researched used some versions of the principles of success and a manifestation process. Based on the laws of probability discussed in my book, that’s the way it is.

Among all people living at any time, some will always achieve what they want by a combination of circumstances; a few will fail at everything. We can observe that fortunate/unfortunate conditions, opportunities, physical and intellectual capabilities, and just good luck are not equally distributed at the human level. There will always be people on either end of the curve. But the great majority of people have the opportunity to achieve most of their goals if they know how to do it.

I think most of us always want to do more. So we have to learn more.

Some people are fortunate and recognize their ambitions at an early age. They can make positive choices and take the necessary actions. You have to decide what’s best for you. In the real world, there’s no wishing, wanting, hoping, meditating, or praying that will deliver what you want just because you want it.

Regardless of your ambition or age, you always have one more chance to get it right. It’s not a big risk, just a little work to understand how to manage your personal style of creativity, ambition and managing your positivity.

It’s worth repeating this wonderful quote:

“It’s Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been” attributed to George Elliott.

- Richard Spitzer

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