Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Guest Post: Stupid, Ugly, Unlucky and RICH

Imagine if you were stupid, ugly and unlucky.

What chance would you have of overcoming those adversities and wind up rich?

According to success analyst Richard St. John you would have a better than average shot. Richard thinks of himself as an average guy, not talented at school, not terribly handsome or particularly lucky. But, he founded a successful company and then spent more than a decade interviewing 500 people - like Bill Gates - he defines as successful. His resulting book, "Spike's Guide to Success: Stupid, Ugly, Unlucky and RICH", has created a new platform for Richard as much-in-demand motivational speaker.

Last month, our paths crossed at a speaking engagement in Halifax and Richard has been following TSB ever since. Today, author, speaker and success expert Richard St. John shares his thoughts with fellow TSB readers in a guest post designed to inspire a different level of thinking.

By: Richard St. John

When Susan Boyle walked onto the stage of Britain’s Got Talent, the audience saw a dowdy, middle-aged woman who announced she was unemployed, had never been married, and “never been kissed.” They instantly wrote her off as having no chance of success as a singer. But when I saw Susan I suspected she’d be great. Why? Because she’s not great-looking. She’s an ALP, an Average-Looking Person, and my research shows that the top people in any field are usually ALPs, not BLPs or Beautiful-Looking People.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, being good-looking doesn’t lead to success and may even hinder it. My book Stupid, Ugly, Unlucky, and RICH has many examples. But you don’t have to believe me. Just go on the web and look at photos of the world’s richest people (of course, money isn’t the only indicator of success, but it’s one of them). It’s hard to find a good-looking billionaire. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Rupert Murdoch are not head turners, just average people you wouldn’t look at twice. And even though they’re among the world’s top CEOs, they would never be chosen by a Hollywood casting agent to play the part of a CEO in a movie or TV show. They’re simply not good-looking enough. Of course, Hollywood has it all wrong. In the real world, it’s the average-looking people who make it to the top.

Why do average-looking people finish ahead of the beautiful ones? Because many beautiful people sit back in their comfort zones, rest on their looks, and float through life. Doors are opened for them. They get the best seats at restaurants. They automatically get noticed, so they never learn to do the 8 things that really will help them succeed, like WORK hard and PUSH themselves. Meanwhile, the average-looking people, like Susan Boyle, have to work their butts off and keep pushing themselves in order to get noticed – and in the end that takes them further than looks ever would. I’m not saying good looks won’t help you get a date. I’m just saying, if you want to succeed, the top 8 Success Factors are much more important than looks. PERSIST is one of those factors and it took Susan Boyle, this average-looking woman, 47 years of persistence to be able to sing like an angel, blow an audience away, and prove herself. Hats off to Susan!

Many thanks to Richard for sharing his way above average thoughts today.

If you think your organization can benefit from having Richard's insights on success, visit

"Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other"

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