Make Business Simple – Four-Word Rules For Success – #5

Make Business Simple – Four-Word Rules For Success – #5

Make Business Simple – My Four-Word Rules For Success. #5 in a Series.

We’ve spent the last few weeks talking about my four-word rules for business success.  My goal remains simple: I want to give you easy to implement tools, tactics, and techniques to make your business better.

Each rule is only four words long because that’s what matters. Often it’s all it takes to make a huge difference when you build your brand and your business.

Rule #1 is “Shut the @#$%!! up.” If you missed it just point your browser HERE.

Rule #2 is “Take them to lunch.” If you missed that one point your browser HERE.

Rule #3 is “Don’t work with assholes.” If you missed #3, point your browser HERE.

Rule #4 is “Uncover the Real Problem.” If you missed #4, you’ll find it HERE.

what matters

The voice over the loudspeaker was that generic, Midwestern, slightly southern Texas drawl we’ve all grown accustomed to on airplanes.

“Okay folks,” it started, “Sorry to tell y’all this but it looks like we’ll be stuck here on the tarmac another 20 minutes or so. If I get an update from the tower I’ll be sure to let you know what’s happening.”

The woman in the center seat resumed her complaining.

“Damn it! That’s the third time they’ve delayed this flight. We’ve been sitting here what, 45 minutes already? I’m sure I’m going to miss my connection now.  I probably won’t get home in time for the party no matter what happens.”

I had no idea what party she was talking about.

I didn’t ask.

The guy sitting at the window seat glanced over her head, caught my eye, rolled his.

She droned on, “Can you believe this airline? Don’t they care about their customers? Don’t they know what matters? Don’t they know we have places to be? What’s the point of them telling us when the flight is supposed to arrive if it never leaves?!”

Her voice was getting louder and louder.

The harangue went on for another 20 minutes or so before the man sitting in the window seat had had enough.

“Ma’am,” he said with a southern drawl eerily similar to the pilot on the loudspeaker, “I’m a pilot. Let me tell you what matters to pilots about delays…”

He paused for a moment before continuing. The angry woman stared at him.

“It’s always better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than to be in the air wishing you were on the ground.”

He went back to his book.

Our seatmate didn’t make another peep.

Since that day I’ve been in an airplane almost every week or two. I’ve listened to people complaining about delays, complaining about high ticket prices, even complaining about a shortage of blue corn chips. I never say a word.

Truth is, I know what matters. I would much rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air than in the air wishing I was on the ground.

Or, as comedian Louis C.K. said on Conan O’Brien’s show: “Flying is the worst because people come back from flights and… act like their flight was like a cattle car in the forties in Germany… They’re like ‘it was the worst day of my life. First of all, we didn’t board for twenty minutes, and then we get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway for forty minutes…’”

“Oh really, what happened next? Did you fly through the air… like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight?! You’re flying! It’s amazing! Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going “oh my God! Wow!” You’re flying! You’re sitting in a chair, in the sky!”

So what’s my four-word rule #5? It’s simple:

Focus on What Matters.

Not only can’t you do anything about the flight taking off, but if there’s a problem with the plane or the tarmac you’re better off being on the ground anyway.

It’s the same for your brand and your business. If you understand what you do, what your client wants, and where those two things intersect, you already know where to focus your time and attention. Sure, there are other things you can busy yourself with. But just like that delayed flight, you’re better off concentrating on the things you can affect and improve instead of busying yourself worrying about things that are out of your control.

Instead, Focus on What Matters.

By | 2017-07-24T11:56:38+00:00 July 24th, 2017|5 Comments


  1. Dave Bricker July 26, 2017 at 7:52 am - Reply


    Thanks for this. We all gripe when we’re held up, but too few of us put it in perspective. If you’re reading this, you threaded the needle of human history. You enjoy fresh running water, waste disposal, electricity, antibiotics, anesthesia, the Internet, a cell phone, sanitary conditions, a network of smooth highways that runs from Key West past Alaska, and a private vehicle to traverse them with that goes hundreds of high-speed miles without stopping.

    Our grandparents didn’t have a lot of these luxuries and we’re all worried about the world our children will live in. This is IT. Right here. Right now. As good as it’s ever been and maybe as good as it will ever get.

    You’ll always find me in a window seat enjoying the view from 50,000 feet. Millions of people lived and died before me without ever getting that chance. Sitting on the tarmac once in a while is a small price to pay.

  2. Bob Burg July 26, 2017 at 11:03 am - Reply

    One major lesson I learned from reading this is that, if a person wants the best chance of becoming a pilot, they should make sure to be born in the southern midwest.

    BTW, GREAT article!

  3. Sue Romanos July 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm - Reply


    You are so right. We must always keep things in perspective and be thankful for what we have – not complain about the minor inconveniences caused by mega machines in or not in the air.

  4. Jim Bianchi July 28, 2017 at 8:01 am - Reply

    Good stuff, Bruce. Thanks for doing this. Just bought and started your book — and 50 pages in I have found myself nodding in agreement many, many times.

    • Bruce Turkel August 9, 2017 at 7:55 am - Reply

      Thanks for letting me know, Jim. I’m eager to hear what you think about All About Them.

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