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­­­What’s the One Thing You Need to Be Successful?

photo: jill on flickr

photo: jill on flickr

There are lots of people who’ll tell you they have the secret to success. They promise you that if you follow their way – if you do everything exactly like they say – you’ll be a big success in no time.

I am no different!

That’s right, my fellow Goofballs, I have discovered the basic, fundamental, totally groovy way to achieve all of your dreams.

Are you ready?












After years of exhaustive research and extensive experimentation, I have finally confirmed that the one thing you need to be successful is:

A pair of plaid bell bottoms.

bells 2 done

People see these things coming, and they say: Now that’s a successful person. Anybody who has the guts to go out in public with that much plaid below the belt, and still keep a smile on their face? Whatever they’re selling, I want it!

Which brings me to the real thing you need to be successful.

Yes, the plaid bell bottoms will help. So will a sense of purpose and spirit of determination.

But there’s more to it than that.

A while back, Melissa gave me a CD by a guy named Steve Seskin.

photo: steveseskin.com

photo: steveseskin.com

Steve Seskin is a songwriter who’s written a bunch of hits, primarily for country artists. Melissa and her brother Randy took a songwriting class with him decades ago, and they learned a lot.

While going through her CDs, Melissa found a 2 CD set of Steve Seskin performing his own songs, recorded at small venues with live audiences. She said I should listen to the CDs because this Steve Seskin guy is one of the best songwriters she knows. Now that I’m writing lyrics of my own, she thought I might get something out of it.

I did.

I listened to his creative use of rhyme, his masterful storytelling, and his ability to pack a lifetime of emotion and experience into one song. It inspired me to keep moving forward with my own lyrical expression.

photo: steveseskin.com

photo: steveseskin.com

But that wasn’t the best part.

My favorite thing about Steve Seskin is what he did after each song.

After the last chord had been played and the audience was clapping, he said:

Thank you. Thank you very much.

It wasn’t a bragadocious thank you. It wasn’t overly humble either. It was right in the middle – a full-hearted receiving of the audience’s appreciation of his songs.

I could feel him let it all in:

The love of the people who were there to listen to him sing and play. The love of his craft. The love of the journey that allows him to do what he loves, be paid well for it, and get up another day and do it again.

Yes, I was inspired by his songwriting. But I was even more inspired by his attitude.

And that, my Goofball friends, is the one thing you need to be successful.


photo: Jesus Solana on flickr

photo: Jesus Solana on flickr

Think about it. If you’re grateful for everything you have, for the people in your life, for everything you do, then you’re already a success.

Not only that, but your gratitude sets up an irresistible force that draws to you more things to be grateful for.

Sure, there are people who rely on purpose and determination alone, people who achieve huge success in the eyes of the world by an ethic of non-stop effort, but if they forget to be grateful, they’re not really successful. At least, not in my eyes.

Not that gratitude is always easy. You have to work at it. You can’t phone it in. Sometimes it’s hard to find things to be grateful for.

But if you keep exercising those gratitude muscles, you’ll find yourself in a better place every day.

Just ask Steve Seskin.

Or anyone wearing plaid bell bottoms.

bells 4 done

What are you grateful for? Share your comments below!

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22 Responses to ­­­What’s the One Thing You Need to Be Successful?

  1. Kat January 7, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Hi Z!

    I am grateful that I have been introduced to your blog. Each week I take time to savor your words, your wisdom, and your humor, and I appreciate how uplifted I feel after reading your blog!

    I’ve come to realize that there is always something to be grateful for, no matter how grand or how small. It’s a matter of taking a few moments to appreciate the sense of wonder that life is…the beauty, the beast and all that’s in between. Therein are bountiful reasons to be grateful!

    Many Blessings,

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      Hi Kat!

      Thanks for stopping by. Glad you’re enjoying the blog. I never get tired of hearing that! :)

      I love that you point out that sometimes gratitude is for small things as well as big ones. And the importance of taking the time to find things to be grateful for. The beauty and the beast – love it! :)


  2. Fran January 7, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    I am grateful for you!

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Hi Fran!

      Happy New Year! I am grateful for you too!! :)


  3. Janet January 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Do plaid pajama pants count? I wore them when I went to the mailbox, but I do have my limits…Gratitude? yeah, I can do that!

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      Hi Janet,

      Yes! Plaid pajama pants certainly count! In some ways, they’re even better because you get to wear them All Night!

      Grateful for YOU! :)


  4. Joe January 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    #1. What Fran said! :-)

    #2. In keeping with the music theme, I just watched 2 separate interviews by Tavis Smiley… one of Kenny Loggins and another of Wayne Shorter. Really interesting conversations with people who love what they do and give while they’re doing so.

    Keep’em coming!

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      Hi Joe,

      I love that you mentions these interviews. One of my favorite things is watching/hearing people who love what they do. Even if it’s something I have no interest in, watching their enthusiasm gets me jazzed up about my own life and my own passions. I also like that you point out that they’re doing what they love and giving to others while doing so. Sweet! :)


  5. Karen January 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    I believe that the only success worth its salt is feeling good — even downright joyful at times. From a fairly consistent good-feeling place, our desires flow to us, but the real pearl is that good feeling.

    However, plaid bellbottoms (or pajamies) are a close second!

    And as you point out, Z, one of the best feelings is appreciation. It’s really worth cultivating and no — haha — you can’t phone it in.

    I love your way with words.

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Hi Karen!

      I totally agree with you about feeling good. There’s nothing better than that. As Abe says, and I agree: Everything we want is because we think we’re going to feel better by having it. So why not just feel good?!

      And I’m glad that you agree about the plaid bell bottoms. Of course, they’re not for everyone. But for those of us who appreciate the aesthetic: Whoo Hoo!! :)


  6. Rafe A. Ellis, RScP January 8, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    I am grateful for the under current of gratitude that now runs through my Life. A couple days ago I caught myself running a list in my head of all the things I don’t have. I encouraged myself to just go with it… I said to myself, “Self… okay… keep going… what else don’t you have… before long my don’t haves turned into a gratitude list of things I don’t have, like: I don’t have a tooth ache, I don’t have a semi-truck driving through my living room… etc, etc.

    I truly do believe in the power of true gratitude; you know, gratitude that comes from the heart not just from the neck up.

    Love you my friend… LOTS!!!

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      Hi Rafe,

      Ha! I love this! I love how the “don’t haves” flipped around into gratitude. And I’m also grateful that you don’t have a semi-trick barreling through your living room.

      Melissa and I have a nightly practice that starts with first uncovering all the “junk” that lives in our minds. We clear that out and then do gratitudes. But we often find ourselves veering into gratitude, even while we’re still cleaning out the gutters. It’s just so infectious.

      I am grateful for you. So much!! :)


  7. Claire January 8, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    Maybe we can get the One Heart CHoir to all wear plaid bell bottoms for a performance. If not, then we will have to settle for gratitude. Love your writing! Love you.

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      Hi Claire,

      Hey, you know that the tenor section would just LOVE to bust out the plaid bell bottoms. I can see it now! If not, gratitude is a pretty close second. Love Love Love to you! :)


  8. Jerrine January 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    I am so grateful for every thing…the planet, the sky,the moon and stars, the sea…the plants and animals…my family …my home…my travels…my mind…my health and my interaction with infinite intelligence…I think simple gratitude is the basis of all happiness. Bill and I say grace holding hands every meal together..”Thank you for this food, thank you for what it makes us into..thank you God, thank you. “

    • Z Egloff January 9, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Hi Jerrine!

      Thank you for this list of all the amazing things that we all have to be grateful for. And thank you for sharing the beautiful food blessing that you and Bill share before every meal. I’m grateful for you! :)


  9. Jackie January 9, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    I am grateful for waking each day with a smile on my face and vitality in my body. I am also grateful to have your blog to remind me of important things – like wearing plaid – which I am doing right now!! (pi’s) Hugs to you & yours.

    • Z Egloff January 9, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Hi Jackie!

      I am grateful for your presence here, and grateful that you are displaying plaid in all its glory! :)


  10. Tanya January 10, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    those plaid bell bottoms (both pairs) are hot. I would love to have either pair. and the awesome disco hiking boots. The models’ fierce pose stances made me smile. I am grateful to you for posting these pics.

    • Z Egloff January 10, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

      I know, right? It really makes me think that if I can just get my hands on a pair of pants like that, all my troubles will melt away. I, too, will be a fierce poser! (In only the best sense of the word.)

  11. Al January 20, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    Last year I started to add a little phrase to every email I sent out to my clients. It’s a simple little sentence, takes only a few seconds to type. It goes like this:

    Thank you for your business.

    My turnover has more than tripled over the last months, tons of interesting projects coming in, and – even better – the lovely, nice, cooperative and paying-on-time clients send more work, while the not so lovely, slightly tricky and not-paying-on-time clients seem to have found someone else for the job that suits them better…. :-)

    How cool is that? It’s good to exercise that gratitude muscle. Thank you for your business and your trust in my work.

    And thanks for this blog. x

    • Z Egloff January 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

      Hi Al,

      This is wonderful. I love this!

      I’m not surprised at all to hear of the impact that this has had on your business, but I’m also grateful that you shared it, because it can be easy to forget how effective and powerful it is simply to live in gratitude and appreciation. A win-win situation if ever there was one!

      “Thank you for your business and your trust in my work.” Awesome!


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