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The Sweet Stench of Success

Really! I don’t know why they didn’t ask you. When wanted to know the eight things really successful people do, they should have come to you. Instead, the wackadoos at went to Kevin Daum.

Now, Daum is no slouch when it comes to being really successful, and if you were looking for a guru type to write an article titled “8 Things Really Successful People Do,” it would be logical to turn to the man who wrote “Ten Things Really Amazing Employees Do,” and “10 Things Really Amazing Bosses Do.” (As far as I’m concerned, Daum has a monopoly on the “Really Amazing Things” thing.)

Still, when it comes to really, really successful people, I put you at the top of the list. Anyone who does as little work as you, and complains as much as you, and still manages to receive a regular paycheck, is clearly, really, really amazing.


While Daum’s things are not as good as your things, a brief run down could help my less successful readers focus their “efforts on rising above the tide” before they’re swept out to sea and drown. Just hold your nose and jump in.

Thing No. 1 is “Make Materialism Irrelevant.” Daum warns against a “foolish focus on the byproducts of success,” such as “fancy cars and houses.” This will be easy to do for most working people, since our bosses have managed to keep wages so low that the only byproduct of success we can possibly concern ourselves with is “eating.”

Simply by reading this column, you can tick the box for Thing No. 2, “Enhance Knowledge.” Daum is exactly right when he suggests you “connect with people who have the knowledge you need,” and I’m pretty positive you can base your entire career solely on my wisdom. Just because it hasn’t worked for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

“Manage Relationship Expectations” is Thing No. 3. The plan here is to “make choices about the people who matter,” and “make sure they understand your limitations so they don’t take it personally when you can’t be present.” You can start by managing relationship expectations at home. Explain to your significant other that you have a major limitation in engaging in any conversation eight hours before, during and after any episode of “Game of Thrones.” You would think they would get the hint when you don’t turn on the television until you put on a suit of armor and insist on being called “Kahl Drogo of the House of Targaryn,” but some people need more management than others.

Thing No. 4 is “Practice Emotional Self-Awareness,” by which Daum suggests people “use their emotions to get what they want from life.” You learned this lesson at age two, and isn’t it interesting how falling to the ground, kicking your feet and screaming until your face turns red works as well in the conference room as it did in the sandbox.

Thing No. 5 is “Commit to a Physical Ideal,” and I think we can all agree that you have not only committed to a physical ideal, but you have achieved it. That giant muffin top may not look all that attractive in a Lycra track suit, but it will provide essential ballast should a hurricane try to sweep you away. Thing No. 6 is “gain clarity about spirituality.” This doesn’t mean you have to believe in a higher being, but you do have to admit, if people like your managers keep get promoted, miracles are possible.

Thing No. 7 is “Adhere to a Code of Ethics.” That doesn’t mean you have to be honest or loyal or respectful of others. You can actually make up your own code of ethics if you broadcast your rules “loud and clear so people know where you stand.” I suggest you start every day by jumping on your desk and broadcasting to your co-workers that you will lie and cheat to get ahead, and that anyone who stands in your way will be mowed down like bulldozer rolling over a field of daisies. Yes, it’s ugly, but it’s your ethical code, and you’re sticking with it.

If this seems overly harsh, consider Thing No. 8, “Focus on Time Efficiency.” As Daum so rightly says, “you can’t reach your pinnacle if you are wasting time on distractions.” I agree 100 percent. With all the lying and cheating you’re going to have to do, it’s clear that to be really successful, doing any actual work is just a distraction.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at


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