In 1976, the band Rush released their hit song, Something for Nothing. The refrain of the song goes:
“Whoa, you don't get something for nothing
You can't have freedom for free
You won't get wise
With the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dream might be”
- “Drink this shake and lose 10 pounds per week!”
- “This is the last kitchen tool you'll ever buy!”
- “Use this exercise machine for 3 minutes per day and you'll look like Mr. Universe!”
It seems like human nature to want the easy way out. We're inclined to take the path of least resistance. It's seductive … and it's usually untrue. The path of least resistance is usually the path of less reward.
Copywriters are often accused of being too “hypey” or “salesy” in their work. Why do we feel that way about some copy? In my experience, we sense the writer is using an appeal to the “something for nothing” wish-fulfillment fantasy.
Most people know “something for nothing” is nothing but fantasy. Even so, people often believe what they want to believe, not necessarily what's true. They buy a system expecting it to do all the work.
I once created and sold a product called The Seminar Profit System (no longer available for sale, sorry). It was a simple audio product that taught people how to profit by attending seminars. The product focused on specific actions one needs to take before, during, and after a seminar. These actions would increase one’s chances of profiting from a seminar. In other words… the product taught you how to work.
Yet, some buyers of the product were angry that they didn't make money by attending a seminar. They reacted this way, even though they did little or none of the work described in the product. In medical terms, “they bought the prescription, but never took the medicine.” So, of course, they got no results.
It surprises me that people buy a product like this and neglect to take any of the recommended actions. Then they demand a refund, because “the product didn't work.” We ask them if they followed through on the actions laid out in the product. And they respond, “No, but…”
And out come the excuses. The attempt to disown their behavior. The desire to believe someone else is in control of their self-discipline, their diligence, and their work ethic.
One of my earliest business mentors, Earl Nightingale, said, “Successful people consistently do the things that failures don’t like to do.”
All roads may lead to Rome, but they don't all lead to success. If you want success, you'll have to take the road that leads you there. That road is the one less traveled. That road is the difficult one that demands hard work and persistence. But the destination is worth it!
Which road are you on right now? How can you be sure you're on the right road?