Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The Shortcut to Success

Whether your goal is to be salesperson of the month, to get promoted at work, or to lose 15 pounds, there’s a shortcut you can take to reach your goal much faster. A shortcut the world’s most successful people take to reach higher levels of success. But first you need to get over yourself.

For most people, the biggest challenge on the way to achieving their goals is conquering themselves. That was certainly true for me.

When I was 21, I decided to take up the sport of luge with hopes of competing in the Olympics. Learning how to luge has hard. Getting over my hardheadedness was much harder.

I’ve always been very independent. That’s a nice way of saying I don’t like people telling me what to do. I like to be in control.

Even so, before I went to Lake Placid to learn how to luge, I promised myself that I would submit to my coaches’ leadership. After all, who was I to question the Olympic coaches?

But it was hard for me to follow their advice. And I paid the price.

The first couple of years I broke my foot twice, my knee, my elbow, my hand, my thumb, and a couple of ribs.

At first, I was crashing four out of five times. But I kept at it. And after a while I was crashing three out of five. Then one out of ten. By the end of the second year I was crashing one out of a hundred. I finally figured out how to drive that darned sled.

Then, I started competing internationally to try to be one of the 50 men who would compete the Olympics.

I got to compete in the Calgary, Albertville and Salt Lake City Olympics. But it would have been much easier if I’d followed my coach’s advice right away.

Olympic coaches and business leaders agree that very few people want to follow the leader anymore. That’s a problem, because it keeps them from being their best.

In the old days, if you wanted to master a craft you became an apprentice. You found someone who was an expert and you followed their advice.

What’s the point of having a mentor or a coach if you don’t follow their advice?

If you want to be your best, you have to follow the leader.

I knew that I needed to follow coach but I resisted it for three Olympics.

I fought it. My need for control controlled me. It kept me from being my best.

Why is it so hard to let go? Why is it so hard to follow the leader?

The need for control comes from fear – fear of failure, fear of the unknown, and sometimes even fear of success.

Being in control feels safe. But being in control keeps you in your comfort zone.  You can’t improve if you’re in your comfort zone.

Letting go is scary. But letting go gets you out of your comfort zone so you can improve.

When I realized that being in control was hurting me, I was finally able to let go.


Six years after the Salt Lake City Olympics I decided to start training for the Vancouver Olympics.

Only the top 40 men would get to compete in Vancouver, not 50 like before. I was always ranked about 45 in the world, and I was by far the oldest competitor. If I hoped to make it, I was going to have to do something I’d never done before. I was going to have to follow Coach’s advice right away.

Success is a decision. Sooner or later you decide you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I decided to start following my coach’s advice right away.

The faster I followed my coach’s advice, the faster I improved. And I was able to do things no one had ever done before.

At the Vancouver Olympics I became the first person to compete in four Winter Olympics in four different decades.

Eight years later, at 55, I broke my personal best and became the oldest person to ever compete internationally in the sport of luge.

Best of all, I discovered that you don’t lose yourself when you follow the leader. Rather, you can become better than you ever were before.

Following the leader is the shortcut to success.

What if next time you’re trying to achieve a big goal you looked for someone who’d already done what you wanted to do?

What if you followed their advice right away?

And what if you shared this simple idea with your friends?

You’d create a better life, you’d start a ripple effect of success, and you’d make the world a better place.

Ruben Gonzalez

Four-time Olympian, Keynote Speaker, Author of The Shortcut TheLugeMan.com