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The Secret Key to Success

What makes someone earn a place in an elite A-list? Why some can achieve pinnacle of success that most consider a pipe dream? Is there a secret key to their success?

If any of these thoughts have ever flickered your mind — you are not alone!

A-list is an elite group of people who have not only achieved  success, but also defined new standard for success. You can vividly visualize Michael Jordan with Basketball, A-Rod with Baseball and Leo Babauta with the world of blogging.

The secret key to their incredible success lies in one simple word  — persistence!

This simple revelation hit the nail on my head when I stumbled upon Barbara’s article several weeks ago.  It made perfect sense when I looked at my scorecard of success and failure.

I have two events to share with you to prove that — above all the factors that are required to be successful — you have to be persistent to be successful.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. — Thomas Edison

1. Build relationships.


Let’s rewind back to 1998. I worked for Johnson & Johnson and I was visiting a plant located in a small town in North Georgia. I saw a new hotel on the outskirt of the town. I went inside and asked if it was for sale. Sure enough, it was.

Next day, I called the owner to see his interest. We met at the local Denny’s to discuss the deal. Ira told me that he was upset with someone who walked away from the deal so he was not interested unless I can put $100,000 in non-refundable escrow account. I told him that I respect his sentiment but I can’t give non-refundable deposit.

Several weeks later, I called Ira and offered him dinner at his favorite restaurant. He accepted. We met and talked about everything except the hotel deal. For several months, we met regularly and shared our personal stories with each other.

In these months — unknowingly — I had done something amazing. I built the relationship with a much older gentleman who shared all his feelings without any restrictions. In fact, without my knowledge, I was being persistent in my pursuit to own a hotel.

I remember one Sunday afternoon on a hot summer day Ira called.

“When are you buying my hotel Shilpan?,” he said. “I only have $128,000 now because rest of the money has been invested elsewhere,” I told him knowing that he will end the talk.

“Have I asked you what you have?,” He said. “Don’t worry, let’s close the deal.”

Shortly after his call, a local banker called me and informed me that he has received a letter from Ira stating that $115,000 has been received as a deposit. The bank needed $108,000 to close the deal.

Needless to say, I closed that deal.  After the closing, Ira wrote a promissory note for the money that he lent me.

It took almost eight months and countless hours of genuine friendship to make my dream come true. But, it happened. It was the power of persistence at work.

This event taught me that even if I fail at making deals, I shall never fail at building relationships. I can’t change circumstances to influence outcome but I can change my reaction to the circumstance to influence outcome with persistence.

2. Never do anything just to make money.



In early 2008, I began blogging without knowing anyone on the blogoshpere. I quickly made some great friends.

Within six short months, I was getting over 100,000 page views as my articles were hitting the front page of Digg regularly.

I was about to reap the fruits of my labor with an offer to partner with likes of Mary Jaksch and Leo Babauta. And, I quit blogging. Why? I started comparing my time consumed between businesses and blogging. I was making way over six figure from my businesses while I had not made a dime from my blogging after having 90,000 unique visitors per month. I didn’t realize that I missed my success with blogging by getting so close to it — I was not persistent!

3. Rule of 80/20


I’ve learned some invaluable lessons of success from these experiences. Those who succeed are not necessarily genius right out of the box. They have done something that 80% of people don’t. They keep working on their passion till success knocks their door. They remain persistent not because they can predict the outcome of their efforts with confidence; they remain persistent because of their steadfast focus and maddening dedication towards goals.

Your name can be in this elite A-list if you learn to focus, make commitment not to quit and stay persistent no matter what it takes to succeed. Do you agree?

 Never, never, never, never give up. — Winston Churchill

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Comments (32)

Good article. I practice the never never never give up…I hate feeling defeated. Sometimes we have to toss in the towel and just admit to ourselves we cant do it all.

You can’t control the outcome but you can always try just one more time. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Love it! This is super inspiring to me. I have a habit of making a goal, hitting it, then giving up. I did that with weight loss, but I’m determined not to do that with my blog. I didn’t even start to make money, as I didn’t even know you COULD make money blogging. But it turns out you can, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep it going :)


One thing I learned from these two experiences is not to worry about money. It’s easy to say as I have other sources of income. Nonetheless, money comes as a by-product of relentless pursuit of whatever you love to do. All successful bloggers have one thing in common — their love for blogging and their persistence. I wish you the best.

[…] from Smart Street Finance writes about the Secret Key to Success: Don’t give up! Guys, this is an amazing article and is super inspirational for giver-uppers […]


Nice article. I also stopped one of my most successful blogs, but through negligence, rather than lack of persistance. I neglected to back up my MySQL database. It got corrupted, and my blog was no more.

One more thing, besides persistance is necessary for success; focus on a goal. The most successful are not only persistent, they set a goal, focus on it, and when it’s achieved, they set another to achieve.


Well said my friend. I concur same thoughts with these lines at the end of the article. Success = persistence + steadfast commitment + maddening dedication. :)

” They remain persistent not because they can predict the outcome of their efforts with confidence; they remain persistent because of their steadfast focus and maddening dedication towards goals.”

Very cool post, Shilpan. Very well done with the hotel. It’s similar to how Robert Kraft ended up buying the New England Patriots, except with a few extra zeros, haha. He bought all of the land around the stadium piece by piece and even declined to purchase them before “the time was right” (he had an opportunity but let someone else buy). Then, through patience and persistence he got the right opportunity to buy at the right time. A few years later he’s holding three trophies over his head…


That’s incredible business acumen to buy a franchise that’s worth much more than what he paid for after three trophies. :)

Hi Shilpan…

love the hotel story. Well done.

Reminds me of a guy in Chicago I used to know. There was a beautiful old mansion next to a building he owned that he fell in love with.

The little old lady in it had lived there for decades and was now alone. He befriended her and took on the care and maintenance of the home so, even though he wanted it, she could stay there as long as possible.

When she finally decided it was time he, of course, got the first chance at it. He owned it to this day.

As for blogging I, too, have only recently become vaguely aware that it can be monitized. Still not sure how but that will come as the blog develops. I think.


That’s a nice story of persistence through genuine friendship. Way to go.

I have several sources of income so I am not worried about monetizing my blog but I won’t allow that factor to influence this time for sure. :)

I love this message and especially the story of Ira and the hotel. It’s funny because when I read the title of the post I immediately thought dedication and persistence and *BAM* there you are writing about the very same thing.

You were right on the money with your thinking. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Shilpan, good take on persistence. I like to call it deliberate practice. I read a book lately, Talent is Overrated, and it’s solve message is about how world’s most “talented” and accomplished people did it, including Mozart, undisputed wonder child, who turns out was not very successful with his own compositions until advanced age. They were all deliberately practising in persistent way.

Alik, well said. I believe that success likes you if you keep trying to achieve it relentlessly. :)

It’s everybody you know when it comes to success. Luck hope in to help out from time to time but I have built careers out of the people I know and continue to do so.

Absolutely. Building genuine relationships can do amazing things in your life.One who can cultivate relationship can achieve abundance in life.

Part of being persistent of course is being patient as well, and you definitely were as you built your strong relationship with the hotel owner. I’m sure you have heard it a million times “people like to deal with people they know and trust”, and that is exactly the kind of relationship you created. Great post!

I was totally clueless but, I wanted to build friendship as Ira was an astute businessman. But, as you’ve said, he was gauging deals more on the human aspects than purely on the numbers. Thanks for stopping by.

Great post Shilpan!

I have been doing a lot of self-searching and thinking about blogging and my career. I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers recently and a couple of examples there really hit the nail. One was Bill Gates and the other was Beatles.

Apparently, Beatles played in local clubs in Germany before they became famous. They got very little money, but they played 1,200 times in just an year and a half. That is a LOT of practice. We see success, but don’t always appreciate the dedication, persistence and practice that went into making it successful.

I love your remarks about Beatles and, I agree that we only know famous people after they reach the pinnacle. Journey to success is seldom an easy ride to the peak. Thanks for stopping by.

I would agree that it is largely persistance that gets you to success, but also you must have a goal to aim for, and be able to work smart maximising your efforts.


I agree that measurable, quantitative goals provide constant motivation to remain persistent.

You have a great site over here, Shilpan! I didn’t know you were so entrepreneurial. Persistence is not always easy, especially when the revenue streams are not there, but it can pay off in the end.

It’s really difficult to stay focused without revenue stream but, it can pay off handsomely for those who have laser like dedication and love for whatever they pursue. Thank you for stopping by.

[…] The Secret Key to Success What makes someone earn a place in an elite A-list? Why some can achieve pinnacle of success that most consider a pipe dream? Is there a secret key to their success? If any of these thoughts have ever flickered your mind — you are not alone! A-list is… Read more […]

[…] Smart Finance: The Secret Key to Success – The secret key to success lies in one simple word — persistence. I was inspired to […]

[…] give up. Months later — when I squashed the bug to own that hotel — I received a call from the same seller.  When I look back, my perceived result of buying a hotel with a time line that I had in mind was […]

[…] of these acts — if implemented in your life — form habits for a lasting success. These aren’t acts of overnight success or effort, but sticking with these choices for a long […]

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