The Three Most Important Words for Success


Do you feel stuck, or like the “pause” button of your life is pushed, and you don’t know how to get moving again?  There are three words that can help to not only get you moving again, but get you on the road to your greatest success.

I recently participated in a radio interview publicity tour for my latest book, My Life Contract.  The book is about creating goals, staying on track, keeping focused, and seeing results through a simple program that I had developed over years in my life.  To prepare for the radio tour, I was asked by my publicist to create a list of questions that radio interviewers could ask me, knowing that interviewers don’t always have time to read the books for all of the guests they interview.  I prepared a list of questions based on book, and that proved to be helpful.

However, what surprised me was that the most-often asked question I got was not from my list of questions.  In nearly every interview, the radio host had pulled the same three words from my book and wanted to know more about them.  What were the three most important words for success?  No, not “I love you” or “stop, drop, roll”!  They were:

Energy follows action

What do those three words mean?, they all asked.  I answered by telling a story from my life.  I remember sitting in my living room in my tiny studio apartment years ago, broke and lonely, and feeling like life had passed me by.  Sitting there on my worn futon, I thought that if only I had more money (or more friends, or more opportunities), then my life would be better.  But I couldn’t see any way that move anything could find its way to me.

In a moment of clarity, I heard those three words in my head: energy follows action.  I wrote them down in my journal and began to ponder them in writing.  What I finally realized was simple and yet profound: my subconscious mind was trying to tell me to take action.  In other words, stop sitting on my futon and get moving.  Take positive action.  Don’t wait for life to find me, go out and find my life.

There’s an old saying that goes: when you take one step toward Providence, then Providence will take ten steps toward you.  Providence is an old-fashioned word that might mean different things to different people.  For me, it means Life (with a capital “L”), that something that is larger than me, and that moves in and through all of us.  For others, Providence means God, or Spirit, or the One Mind, or the Tao.  Whatever you call It, the meaning of the saying is the same – when you begin to move, then Life can also move.

Isaac Newton put it even more simply way back in the 17th Century when he wrote that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.  No doubt about it, I was essentially a resting object in that my life didn’t seem to be going anywhere, and it was time to get in motion, time to take action.

Taking action creates energy.  At first, the actions I took didn’t create a lot of results, but a little motion in my life was more than the zero motion I was experiencing before.  And that small amount of motion I took created some small, positive results.  Seeing this, I started taking larger actions, and that resulted in larger positive results.

Back when I was sitting on that futon, feeling broke and wanting to experience more prosperity, I tried to think of one positive action I could take that day.  What was one of my first actions?  I cut up my credit cards…all 23 of them.  It was hard, it required me to re-figure out how to work my finances, but it was movement.  The immediate result of cutting up my credit cards was that my debt stopped increasing.  And then, as I kept creating positive motions, my debt began decreasing…then I become more financially responsible, and eventually I became debt-free and financially prosperous beyond what I could have imagined back then.  That one action set off a chain of events that had huge results.

Where do you feel stuck in your life?  Where do you want to see more movement?  Where does it feel like you want growth or success or “more”?  Perhaps in finances?  More love?  More health?  Deeper connection to Spirit?

Whatever it is, the next step is to take one small action today (not tomorrow!) in that direction.  For instance, if you desire more money, what can you do today that will be a positive step in your finances?

Now, go take that action right now.  It doesn’t have to be a big step, just one step toward what you desire to see in your life.  And then tomorrow, take another positive step, and do it again the day after that.  Many small steps taken one per day will result in big changes.  The more consistently you take positive steps, the more consistently you will see positive results.

These three words became a formula that I follow to this day.  In fact it has become so important to me, can you guess what the title is of one of my upcoming books?  I’ll give you a hint: the title has three words…

Joel Fotinos PicJoel Fotinos is the author of the just-released book My Life Contract: 90 Day Program for Priotitizing Goals, Staying on Track, Keeping Focused, and Getting Results (Hampton Roads).  He is also a vice-president at Penguin Random House, and publisher of the Tarcher/Penguin imprint.  For more information, go to

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