The Most Useless Possession in the World? Knowledge.

Propaganda is an insidious thing. It fills your mind with trite sayings that turn into solid beliefs which define your decisions which shape your life.

And it’s all bunk.

So, one day you wake up and have to confess that you’re not financially secure, you’re not happy, you’re not living your dreams, and you’re brightest hopes are now your worst nightmares.

Take this saying for example:

“Knowledge is Power”

Or more to the point …

“If you just learn enough about copywriting and get to be a killer writer, you’ll be rich, famous, happy and successful.”

Nope. It’s not true. At least, it’s not ALL true.

It’s a half truth.

The “true” part is that you need to become a strong copywriter to make it in today’s tough market. Your copy needs to perform and deliver. No getting around that.

AWAI’s doing their part to help us. They keep spreading the table of copywriting with a master feast of lessons and insights on how to succeed at online copywriting, B2B copywriting, direct response copywriting, and more.

But, just because you’re a killer copywriter, doesn’t mean you’re going to magically attract new clients that pay regularly and handsomely.

Now, for most copywriters, that’s the bad news. You and me – we were hoping to hide behind our computers for the next 20 years, make big fat six-figure incomes and retire in style without having to actually deal with people ever again. Ahhh, the life of a rich hermit, that’s for me.

Except, it’s not reality.

The reality is this: Without the will to win, you’re knowledge to win is nothing more than useless dribble unnecessarily occupying valuable brain cell real estate.

Now, what do I mean by “the will to win.”

I mean your ability to overcome the awfully real, and horribly merciless demons of doubt, fear, uncertainty, and unworthiness that are running around inside your head. It’s the power to call prospects, send out emails, follow up, and all the other very, very simple self-marketing tasks that scare the whistles out of most of us.

It’s waking up in the morning and fighting the head-games of not being good enough, smart enough, or knowledgeable enough. It’s staring down the dreadful thought that you really don’t deserve success and you’re cheating the world by even going after it.

Believe me, I’ve been there. And, in many ways, I’m still there, just maybe fighting the battle at a different level.

Here’s the good news: The will to win is a skill. And you can obtain it.

It’s not some kind of black magic, pill or potion. It’s not something elusive that you have to snatch out of thin air and just “feel.” It’s not some sort of element of mystic luck or some unfathomable secret far outside your grasp.

Over the years, I’ve developed a very simple 3 step process for generating “The Will to Win” inside of me. Let me give you those three steps now so that you can have them with you the next time your mental demons of doubt and discouragement creep up …

  1. Clearly Identify What You Truly Want

    Sit down, right now, and write out in full detail what it is you might want out of life. There are no “right” answers, since this is your list – you’re the music maker and your life is your magnum opus. Relish in it.

    Now condense that down to just 15 words or less. Make it specific and clear – your ultimate headline.

    Now, post this statement in multiple places. Memorize it. The key is to remember it and have it top of your mind. When you do that, you’ll be triggering deep, powerful imagery in your mind that will physically generate endorphins inside of you that translate into the drive to get things done.

    We are all hardwired to survive and thrive. You just need to give your system permission to thrive and it will do wonders for you.

  2. Next Physical Action Steps

    Now that you know what you want, you need to keep an ongoing list of “Next Physical Action Steps.” Not projects. A project list is like “Close deal with AWAI.” That is far too vague and your system can easily brush that kind of fluff aside.

    I’m talking about the very next physical action step you need to take in order to accomplish a project. For example, “Sit down and make notes about headline for AWAI spec assignment.” This is crystal clear. Clarity brings confidence and confidence always breeds action.

    I usually keep two Next action item lists. My master list. This has all of my projects and every action item I can think of in the world that needs to be done to make those a reality.

    The second list just has 7 items on it. No more. Just 7. Scientists say that the mind can effectively house and manage 7-10 “to do” items at a time. So, I’m careful to keep it at that. The rest goes on paper or in my computer, waiting for me to come and retrieve it.

    But, by keeping a list of just 7 items, I always have something productive to do and I’m never seriously overwhelmed. The beautiful thing here is that, once again, we are playing to our nature make-up. Humans are problem solvers. We love a challenge and don’t like loose ends. “To be continued” are three of the most aggravating words in the human language, right?

  3. Motion and Emotion

    For many, many years, when Margie and I were first married, my dream was to own a Cadillac STS with a North Star power train. A very sweet vehicle.

    I could not afford one, but dearly wanted to be able to. So, I wrote it down on my “Want” list and began scheming. I set out a plan and began doing my action items. But there is one other thing I did.

    I lived it. I got out of the house (the Motion part) and actually went and sat in an STS on the lot. I looked under the hood. I test drove it. I sat inside and breathed deeply, all the while imagining that I had it already (the Emotion part).

    And you know what? It wasn’t too long before I actually owned one. I drove it around with a lot of pride and feelings of victory. These days, the bling, bling of stuff like that doesn’t hold my attention.

    But there are other things. More time with my family. Travel. A huge fat bank account. Memories with my wife and children. So, we are always setting goals and then doing “mini” experiences of the thing to get a feel for it.

During this year’s Bootcamp, I’m going to be giving a presentation called “Getting It Done: The Knowledge to Win is Nothing Without the Will to Win” which will be an intensive session where I’ll give you specific tools for facing your demons and conquering them. The three steps above are the core and I’ll be sharing in-depth strategies for making those come alive in your life.

You can go to the next level. You can have your dreams. You can revive your hopes. You can succeed.

Yes, it will take some good copywriting skills … but it will also take “The Will to Win.”

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: October 19, 2009

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