Success Secrets from a Surprisingly Successful Lazy Man

I want to write a book. I have a title - “Success Secrets from a Surprisingly Successful Lazy Man.” Let me tell you why I think I deserve to write this. I am content with my life, successful by most measures such as health, wealth and career success. I have a wonderful family and people seem to like me. This sounds vain and smug; I know it does, but I have a purpose. I write this to establish some credibility for what I write next and explain the reasons. Of course, it could all go bad; ancient wisdom tells us not to judge a life until it is done but if I wait for that you won’t hear from me.

My success would surprise most people who knew me when I was young. It surprises me. People describe me as easy-going and a little detached, maybe even lazy. One of my bosses some years ago called me insouciant. I had to look the word up. It means carefree, but it is usually not a compliment and he did not mean it as one. I am not the kind of person who is supposed to be able to accomplish so much. He told me that he could not believe how lucky I was. Things just seemed to happen and people always helped me. In my insouciant way, I told him that it was probably better to be lucky than smart, but I did think about it.

It is possible that I have just been lucky in my life and my career, which spans three decades. But I think that something else is also going on. I would like to keep on doing whatever it is that is generating all this "good luck" and I increasingly have responsibility to mentor others, which means it would be a good idea to identify more precisely what is working and what can be repeated or shared.

I don't expect what I write to be very original and I don't have a great comprehensive plan nor profound wisdom to share, but I have been keeping specific track of my activities since 1990. In fact, I would put keeping track of success and failure and trying to figure out what worked on the top of the list of success secrets. W/o that, there is no systematic learning and improvements really are mostly random.

I hope to serialize some of my "secrets" on this blog. I hope you all will indulge me.

Comments are welcome. Those of you who don't like the lack of partisan writing can safely ignore these posts or add your own comments re how stupid Republicans or Democrats are. Read if you like. Comment as friends if you like.

Posted by Christine & John at June 23, 2013 10:43 PM
Comment #367591

C/J writes; ” In fact, I would put keeping track of success and failure and trying to figure out what worked on the top of the list of success secrets. W/o that, there is no systematic learning and improvements really are mostly random.”

Ain’t it the truth…keep doing what works and stop doing what doesn’t.

I find that works in “Cash Flow” investing in the stock markets as well. There are readily identifiable stock patterns that one can follow that do a good job in predicting the future of that stock along with other indicators.

For me, I learned, the hard way, that drinking was a losing proposition for me. I had my last drink of alcohol over 23 years ago and found out that life, for me, was much better and more successful without booze.

John, I will be interested to read your forthcoming installments. Perhaps I can even contribute to your efforts in some small way. Good Luck (pun intended).

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 24, 2013 5:20 PM
Comment #367592



You know, I went to UWSP to study forestry. I think we have that common ground.

Posted by: CJ at June 24, 2013 6:54 PM
Comment #367593

We do indeed have that in common. Dean Trainer was in charge of the College of Natural Resources when I was there and Lee Dreyfus, former Gov was chancellor. Great guy and great teacher/administrator. After graduation I started a Wisconsin hunting and fishing magazine and featured him (Trainer) in an article on his frequent visits to the Black Forest in Germany.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 24, 2013 7:20 PM
Comment #367595

I think that Trainer was still there. I know Dreyfus was. I recall his red vest.

I was up there a couple years ago. Much is the same but even more has changed.

I have a blog entry from Stevens Point at

Posted by: CJ at June 24, 2013 8:31 PM
Comment #367596

I quit drinking also. It wasn’t half my life ago, just a year or so now. It wasn’t as hard as everyone made it out to be. I just decided to do it. In fact, I still have a case of beer taking up space in the fridge!

I think breaking bad habits is all in the head. Calling it a disease is creating a crutch for yourself. One that convinces you that you need someone else’s help to “cure”. Funny, how that someone else says there is no cure, isn’t it?

It took me a year and a half to quit smoking. Through-out that time I kept telling myself that I should quit. I kept reminding myself of all the cloths and the furniture and car seats I burnt holes in. I kept track of all the money I was spending on cigarettes, all the messes made inadvertently spilling that never-emptied ashtray. At the end of that year and a half I ran out of cigarettes at a time when I know my boss wouldn’t let me leave the work site to replace them. I told myself “I quit” before that last cigarette butt hit the ground. That was 13 years ago.

What makes it easy to continue avoiding a return to these bad habits is to simply remind myself what it was like before I quit them. A lack of cigarettes was the only thing that would get me out of bed, dressed, and into a cold, dark night. I remember and chuckle when I see someone else doing the same. Spending my last 10$ on a 12 pack is now a thing of the past, because I never run out of beer now! (still in the fridge!) Smelling like a brewery at work the next morning with a cow-eyed headache is just one of the memories I think of when I think, “Maybe, just one.”

Nope! Do you want another definition of Freedom?
No more beer or cigarettes.
Now that’s freedom?

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 24, 2013 8:37 PM
Comment #367599


I never smoked, but I still do like to drink. I like whiskey, beer and Port wine. I like to maintain the family tradition of drinking beer while listening to sad country songs. But I don’t drink much very often. It is indeed a choice you have to make. You should drink only in moderation. My father wanted to open a bar and call it “Moderation.” I still think it would be a good idea.

Posted by: CJ at June 24, 2013 9:18 PM
Comment #367602

That’s a good name for a bar.
I work for a guy that owns a bar/restaurant now. I’m running the restaurant side. I’m the manager/cook/waiter/dishwasher/busboy.
I’m making a good run at the restaurant side with my hamburgers. I enjoy having the liberty of controlling all the aspects of the restaurant. It’s a lot more challenging than working with someone else’s ideas and having my position defined for me. I develop my own recipes and they seem to be enjoyed. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be able to do any of this if I was still drinking. I’m glad I gave it up.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 24, 2013 10:18 PM
Comment #367605

C/J thanks for sharing the photos in your UofW blog. Between my Junior and Senior year we had a degree requirement that sent us North to the University summer camp in Chequamegon National Forest for six weeks. We had two weeks each of intensive work in forestry/wildlife, water and soils. I recall the hoards of mosquito’s and deer flies. I had to wear a head net in the woods to survive. Those were great times, LOL.

I fished a lot of trout streams in Nicolet National Forest and would camp out in a tent for a week with fresh caught trout for breakfast every morning.

Publishing a hunting and fishing magazine was the very best job I ever had. Imagine taking a hunting or fishing trip, buying a new bow or rifle…and having it be tax deductible.

It would be great to sit at an evening campfire with you in the great North woods sometimes and talk about nature. How I love the peace and beauty found in a large forest or alone on a trout stream in hip boots waiting for the big one to strike.

Congratulations to you Weary Willie on overcoming bad addictions. Some folks can drink moderately and I envy them. For an alcoholic, one drink is too many and a thousand are not enough. I still smoke and have no intention of quitting. It’s a stupid thing to do and I encourage everyone to never start.

Posted by: Royal Flush at June 25, 2013 4:13 PM
Comment #367730

Royal Flush,

I have also spent 23 years not drinking alcohol (or smoking for that matter). For me, the choice has always been simple; I’m satisfied with my life as it is and I have no rational bases to believe that either alcohol or tobacco would improve it. After all, when was the last time someone said, “my life was rotten until I decided to start drinking”, yet I encounter the converse all the time.

I already have enough bad habits and vices; I am not in the mood to pick up anymore.

Posted by: Warren Porter at June 27, 2013 8:24 PM
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