In “Hill’s Golden Rules”, legendary success expert, Napoleon Hill tells the story of a man who walked into his office wanting Hill to ‘fix his life’. Hill said that the man was just about ‘the worst looking specimen of a human being’ that he had ever seen. The man was apparently a previously successful business owner who had fallen on hard times.
Hill said that the man told him that he was on his way to drown himself when he came across an article that Hill had written, and he decided that Hill might be able to ‘save him’ in some way.
Hill said that he told the man that there was nothing he could personally do for him. But, he did say that there was someone in the building that could fix everything wrong in the man’s life. Hill promised to introduce the down-trodden fellow to that person.
Hill promptly took the man into another room, and pulled back a curtain to reveal a mirror, and said something to the effect of: “Here my good man is the only person in the world who can get your life back on track”.
After some time, the man returned to Hill and wrote him a large check in an effort to pay him for the service he had performed.
The man was now doing better than ever.
I love this story because it highlights what Successful Thinkers like Napoleon Hill recognize about avoiding the number one success killer, a psychological condition called EOPD.
After spending the past 40 years studying what makes some people successful, and what causes others to “fall short”, I am firmly convinced that EOPD IS INDEED THE NUMBER ONE SUCCESS KILLER!!
EOPD acts like a virus that steals our time, energy, and often a significant portion of our resources.
EOPD stands for Entering Other People’s Drama.
I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve put my plans and projects on hold because someone else hijacked my time and energy over THEIR relationships, THEIR career mistakes, and THEIR finances, and then refused to use any of the life blood I gave them.
Most people don’t want answers, they want “a sounding board”, “someone to understand”, or “someone to make them feel better”.
The problem with EOPD is that ultimately it causes us to steal from the people who want, need, and can actually benefit from the talents we have to offer.
That is so not cool.
Success expert and best seller author, Brian Tracy says bluntly: “Send these people down the hall and let them ruin someone else’s career”.
Myself, after being mentored by others who have successfully navigated the cure to EOPD, I have developed 5 strategies that work really well for me:
1) Quickly assess their willingness and/or ability to resolve the drama. Typically the modis operandi of the time sucking vampire is to pull you in with a heartbreaking tale of an abusive relationship or down-on-their-luck story. Once you are ‘trapped’ they quickly change their narrative into a lousy story about why the situation can never change. When this happens, assuming they are not in eminent danger, I move on to strategy number two.
2) Suggest appropriate resources. Why I’ve tried to assume the role of psychologist, pastor, or financial planner when I am totally unqualified for any of these positions, I’ll never know, but experience has taught me that my destiny lies along a different path. I suggest qualified professionals, and then let the ‘victim’ make their own choice as to where to go from there. It is not my decision to make.
3) Refuse to enter their delusion. Unless, and until, someone leaves the delusion that major life change is impossible, there is little we can do to help them. On countless occasions, I have witnessed friends and relatives turn themselves inside out in order to force someone to step into a new future only to watch that person willingly return to the drama. Conversely, I have seen other people ‘finally have enough’ and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to create unbelievable success. Conclusion, only when someone is truly ready will they ever leave the drama. Some people are never ready, and there is not a thing we can do about it.
4) Remind them of their personal power. I WILL suggest books, tapes, and seminars that they can read, listen to, or attend in an effort to help them, just as Napoleon Hill helped the down-trodden man. But, until they accept their value and take action, their future will mirror their past. That is simply the way of it, and although it weighs heavy on my heart, I cannot change their mindset for them.
5) Lead by example. Make it a point to accept responsibility for your own situation, refuse to complain, and always maintain your optimism. Affect those people whom you were meant to affect, and you will have more than done your job. Someone is always watching and ready to follow your lead. Emerson said: “What you do speaks so loudly that others cannot hear what you say”.
People will always judge your results more than your words, so be content to know that the best way to help others is to show them what success looks like.
To do that, as tough as it is, you must refrain from allowing EOPD to sidetrack your progress and keep you from becoming the shining star you were truly meant to become.