The noble art of cracking the code

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I’m no guru nor a philosopher. I’m simply a spiritual person who happens to also suffer from a scientific curiosity of sorts and to have a habit of searching for solutions to fix all kinds of dilemmas. The thrill of research fascinates me almost as much as the joy of getting actual results. People who love astrology would say it’s the Virgo in me because Virgos are hopeless scrutinisers.

But I digress: truth is, I tend to dissect life, to study the events as they unfold, and to analyse them in hindsight -which for all the anxiety it may cause, proved to be useful more than once.

Now, over the past 5 or 6 years, I learned quite a bit. It has been one of those “wising up” phases, I guess.

And one thing I realised is that for everything under the sun, for all things we desire, for each wish, ability, or intent, there is a formula. Or if you prefer, a code. A magic formula we must discover; a code we need to crack in order to achieve what we covet. ONCE WE DO, IT’S SMOOTH SAILING FROM THERE.

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Mastering an art, skill, subject, or sport; finding love and marriage; reaching professional or financial goals; getting one’s “ideal body”; conquering one’s fears or those mental blocks that hinder one’s success, and so on…for all those marvelous things there is a blueprint.

And the funniest thing? Usually, the formula, the recipe, the enchanted potion, the bl*ody code lies right under our noses, mocking our desperation.

A few days ago I read here on Medium a couple of articles complaining about those success stories, e.g. “how I earned 10k in two weeks”, or “how I became a top writer/billionaire trader/filthy rich digital marketer*insert high profile achievement*”. The authors and readers who responded said that reading other people’s triumphs made them feel like a failure.

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To be honest, I think the exact opposite. I’m a sucker for success stories, especially those in my field. I like to know what are the best-case scenario possibilities. If people are making it big in my areas of interest, that just means I’m betting in a thriving business, instead of wasting precious time chasing peanuts. More power to you, now let me learn how you did it and adjust my own strategy.

But I do understand where those discouraged people come from: watching others succeed while we fail despite our best efforts can be awfully frustrating, especially if we started roughly at the same time as such champions.

However, feeling discouraged by our colleague’s prosperity is simply looking at things from the wrong angle: what happens is that those happy people already managed to crack the code, and you can too.

A few years back, I got quite a challenging job that relied heavily on driving sales. Although the role was within my areas of expertise (fashion, luxury and marketing) I wasn’t usually so directly involved in the sales process and felt totally out of my depth. While I was struggling not to make a fool of myself, I noticed a newcomer, let’s call her Louise, who was absolutely crushing it although she was very young and didn’t have much experience.

Instead of resenting her unstoppable victories, I decided to watch the tricks she was using, and I noticed a few things: the more important one was that she had been assigned a very ambitious manager, Rick, to coach her in her first weeks, whereas I got Annie, who had a more laid back style that worked wonders for herself, but not so well for me.

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Louise had taken the advice, leads and some top customers Rick gave her and, since she was always in touch with her clients and ready to go the extra mile, clients rolled in, bringing their friends and relatives along.

Since our work structure allowed it, I went to all the best assistant managers for advice and after some trial and error, I came up with a strategy to target big-spending clients only. It worked wonders and in a couple of months, I was unstoppable, smashed target after target, and became one of the top sellers.

Obviously, I felt quite silly because the solution was right before my eyes all along. Nothing had changed in the circumstances except my approach. I had been making my life difficult because it took me a while to figure out the right formula for that particular job. Once I did, it was a breeze.

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Similar situations happened often enough to establish a pattern, so whenever a goal is worth the effort, I try to find “the formula” and crack the code before calling it quits. It might take a while. Everyone’s timing is unique. It definitely requires study, learning as much as we can about the subject in question, observing examples and case studies, finding mentors, recycling techniques that worked for us in the past, ditching others, and developing and trying a few different strategies.

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Sometimes learning only a couple of survival tips and making do with that as you go, in pure “fake it ‘till you make it” fashion can be enough to put you on the right track. As long as it keeps your head above water, just keep swimming, like the little ant that fell into the bucket of milk and swam so hard the milk turned into butter!

We can always become experts along the way and crack the code in full later on.

Mind you, even if we do, some winning elements in that code may slightly vary for each individual who uses it, because everyone is different. The trick, I believe, lies not just in finding such formulas, but finding those that work for you and adjusting them to your modus operandi.

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And that’s it. We can apply this frame of mind to each new challenge or target. Remember, each new goal is going back to square one. It’s usually starting from scratch.

Right now I’m as lost as most people in some aspects of my work and goals. However, I know that the formula — my formula, my magic potion — is somewhere out there, hiding in plain sight, most likely making fun of my puzzled face.

I can’t promise I will succeed, but da*n sure I can promise to do my best to find the little rascal, crack it, wipe the floor with it and show’em how it’s done.

Keep pushing, swimming, looking- you might be closer to the golden key than you think. It’s probably right under your nose!

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