How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying

No matter how common “common sense” may be, we all need reminders if its validity every now and then.  Thankfully when it comes to the basics of living successfully, author Lyman MacInnis has compiled 31 refreshers for us.  He’s personalized it, added some new insight, and conveniently bundled it all up into 212 pages titled How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying.

As MacInnis clearly states within the first few pages of his book, “…success can have many meanings, one constant is that success is always personal.” The guidelines and principles of How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying are not rigid; they’re not “a program” or a twelve-step anything.  Instead, they’re gentle reminders delivered with a touch of humor, that a successful life is a balancing act between the big picture, and the minute details.


The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Not Your Standard Report Card

"...the three A’s of a career are Ability, Ambition, and Attitude.  … ability earns you your paycheque, ambition gets you your raises, and attitude usually determines the amount of both."
- How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying, page 59

How many ‘A’s are you currently earning?

While MacInnis appears to meander from topic to unrelated topic over the course of the thirty-one chapters in How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying, he manages to do an excellent job of covering off all three of the ‘A’s that he mentions: Ability, Ambition and Attitude.  His reminders allow us to refocus.  His tips and suggestions help us grow.  And his insights allow us to realize that maybe not everything is as big a deal as it seems.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Everything in Perspective

"Ask yourself how much whatever’s upsetting you will matter a year from now."
- How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying, page 47

Great exercise:  Take a deep breath.  Count to ten.  Then ask yourself this very simple question: “How much of an impact will this irritant have on my life a year from now?”  If the answer really is “A ton!  This could make or break me!”, then you need to find a way to fix the issue; calmly and rationally, but fix it none-the-less.  Chances are though, if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll realize that this “major issue” that has you all worked up will have little to no impact on your life in the long run.  Treat it appropriately.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

The Fountain of Youth

"Become interested before becoming judgmental."
- How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying, page 54

You ever notice how insatiably curious kids are?  They want to know the why, how and what of everything.  Kids are fascinated by the mundane. How is it that they can be so fascinated by those things that we, as adults, take for granted every day?  The simple truth lies in the fact that a child is seeing each new sight with fresh eyes.  He or she is experiencing each event for the first time.

It’s easy to be fascinated by newness.  It is as we age and “experience” that we lose our sense of curiosity.  We build up expectations and prejudices from (what appear to be) similar past encounters.  There is nothing wrong whatsoever with learning from experience.   If you can suspend your opinion and your disbelief for a moment though, and take an approach of curiosity, if only for a few minutes, you might be surprised how refreshing a new set of eyes can be.

Author Lyman MacInnis has it figured out.  How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying, is a well written blend of gentle reminders, how to tips and poignant insights into what truly makes us successful in our day to day lives.   It’s a fun read, with something for everyone, and the kind of book you’ll want to reference again and again.

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Chris Taylor

ABOUT Chris Taylor

Founder of Actionable Books, Chris Taylor is a writer, entrepreneur and speaker. He spends his daylight hours helping consultants and employees alike find meaning in their work and discover rich team relationships through his company, Actionablebooks...
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