Advice for Young People on How to Achieve Success

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RUSH: Independence, Missouri, up next. This is Mark. It’s great to be with you, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Hey. Thanks, Rush. Merry Christmas. An open line Monday question for you not directly related to Democrat madness. Great talk to those young people, even if it was only eight minutes, a lot of great advice to the greatness of the country. Do you have any advice for them and all of us on success? I remember a couple years back you said very few in the radio business ask you about being a success in that business. I was astounded. I’d proudly ask you for advice for success, not necessarily in the radio business, but in life and taking advantage of our great country as this year approaches and I’m sure many young people would like to hear your advice as well.

RUSH: Okay. I’ll give this a shot. I have said over the years that there haven’t been, by comparison, I remember when I was a young teenager — I wanted to do radio since I was 8. So when I would run into anybody who was in it, I’d just ask them question after question after question. I asked so many questions, one guy said, “You know, it sounds to me like you’re more interested in how to do it than actually doing it.”

I said, “What do you mean?”

“Well, at some point you gotta stop asking questions and start doing things.”

And I said, “Well, I’m not old enough to start doing things. I’m not old enough to get hired yet.”

“Well, yes, you are, if you really want to, but at some point you gotta stop asking and you gotta start doing. You can’t learn everything about doing something just by asking about it.” Which I knew. It was still some relevant advice, probably from somebody who was tired of all my questions. But I have noticed that I’ve gotten much less of that than I sought myself.

And you know, I ask people in TV, ’cause it interests me, I’ll talk to veterans at Fox, “How many of these young people that you’ve hired have come to you and sought your advice about how to advance or how to do television, how to do what they’re trying to do?” It’s amazing the number of people who say none. They all show up thinking they know everything. If they’ve been hired, they think they know everything, and they don’t need any advice.

That’s just a casual observation. I don’t mean anything substantive by it. I think it’s just cultural differences. I think if there’s one thing about successful people that they all have in common is that they love it. Whatever it is, it’s their passion. It’s their number one passion. It’s the thing they love the most.

Unfortunately for a lot of people the thing they love the most is their hobby. Something they don’t get paid for. But the next thing to do is to realize that you live in a place with boundless opportunity. Don’t listen to the noise. Don’t listen to the pessimists. Do not seek advice from people who failed at what you want to do. ‘Cause they’re everywhere. And they don’t want to be alone.

I can’t tell you the number of people who tried to talk me out of it. “Rush, it’s vicious, it will eat you up and spit you out. The chances are so slim, it’s just a road to misery.” And I decided after a while not to listen to those people and then I decided after a while not to even talk to ’em. I was only gonna find people who had succeeded and try to learn from them.

Now, then there are basics. I don’t care what it is that you want to do, you have to have a well-rounded knowledge and more importantly, the ability to demonstrate that you have it. This is not just broadcasting and radio. You have to be able to communicate what you know. You have to do things that are going to inspire confidence in yourself.

You have to really like yourself to be confident. And it is confidence that will open up opportunity to you. It’s confidence that will allow you to transmit what you know in ways that are persuasive and impressive. Now, there’s some other things that are common too. Sadly, I’ve run out of time.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: If you ever have a chance to have a conversation with President Trump, you know what he talks about a lot? He talks about people who are great at what they do, the best at what they do. Don’t care what it is, he loves talking about people like that.

RUSH: Folks, when people ask me advice on success, you know, the problem with advice is that it can be limiting rather than expansive. And so that’s why I try to keep it generic. I appreciate the question. I appreciate the presumption that I know what to advise in success. I’ll give you an example why this is a bit of a challenge.

If you, let’s say, wanted to be in radio, let’s say that you wanted to do your own talk show and you went to anybody in broadcasting that could make a decision to hire you or not, and you tell ’em that you want to do a talk show, no one even today would advise you to do what I did. And yet this is a pretty successful venture. And nobody would tell you to do it.

When I started, the wizards of smart and the powers that be in radio tried to talk me out of doing what I do. They said, “You can’t do a show without guests, and you have to take calls, and it has to be about local things.” I didn’t want other people to be the reason my show had an audience. I was explaining over the weekend to people, somebody was saying, “You know, I’ve never heard a show like yours.” I said, “The only reason you say that is because mine’s the only one where there aren’t any guests.”

“Yeah, that’s right. Why is that?” And I said from a strict business standpoint, why should I invest — I’ve got an hour here, three hours. Why should I give any of that time regularly and as a routine to people who are not nearly as invested in the success of this show as I am? And why should I give a portion of this program every day to people that are already everywhere else in the media? There’s nobody out there that I can get that’s not everywhere else, and there’s nothing I can get them to say that they haven’t said anywhere else, so why? Why do what everybody else does?

“Well, because there’s a formula.” Well, there was. Talk radio shows had formula. Guests were paramount, issues being local was another thing that was paramount. Taking calls was paramount, and how you behaved with calls. Some people wanted insult hosts. Some people didn’t. But I just said, “Why should I join the fray?”

It happened at a juncture, too, where I thought I had one last chance to make this work, so I wanted to find out — I knew — so I wanted to demonstrate that I could be the reason people listened, not some endless parade of guests who don’t care about whether this show succeeds or not. They’re only here to hype a book or a movie or whatever. And they’re already everywhere else.

But even to this day if you walked into a radio station and wanted to do a talk show, nobody would tell you to do it like I do. That’s not a criticism. The point is, don’t be constrained by norms. Let your passion dictate what you want to do and be brave. And don’t listen to negativists, and other thing, whatever you do, do not get distracted and absorbed over things not under your control. It’s just a waste of time. It is a psychologically destructive thing to do to try to get involved in things that you can’t control. You have enough challenges trying to deal with those things that you can control.

But I really do think that wanting it is 80% of it, all things being equal. You’re educated, you’re able to speak. And I mean in anything. You don’t begin every sentence with, “So, uh, hey, what time — so let me look at my watch. What time — it’s, uhhh, 2:12.” Learn to speak what you think. Don’t be afraid to say what you think. And be passionate about what it is.

And if there’s no money in it, find a way to make money at it. Create the revenue stream if you can. It’s not universally true for everybody, but there’s no substitute for desire. One of the greatest tight ends in football today, a guy named George Kittle, number 85, San Francisco 49ers, he has a philosophy. He’s the hottest tight end in football now. He believes that once you get to the NFL, the talent is so pretty equal that the difference in success and failure in the NFL is mental. Focus, confidence, weeding out all distractions. Don’t get hung up on things you can’t control.

So George Kittle, the night before every game, goes solo and alone for three hours, mentally focusing on the game the next day, putting himself in circumstances that he foresees. Third-down situations, team winning, team losing, time left on the clock. He tries to arrange things so that whatever that happens in the game is not a surprise, that he’s mentally prepared for it because he’s already studied it, focused on it. The weather, if it’s raining, if it’s gonna be cold as hell, it’s all mental.

And when talking about the National Football League and the talent level, he’s right. I mean, the number of players qualified to play in the NFL is so few compared to the whole population, that by the time you get there, the differences in talent from position to position, they’re not much. There’s not a whole lot of drop-off until you get to third string. And even then, you’re still talking about people that are infinitely more qualified than the rest of the population. The difference for him is entirely mental. Focus.

Now, there’s some givens in this. I mean, physical ability, he’s got it. Don’t have work at that. He has to make sure he keeps it, have to work out and all that. That’s not something that he has to worry about. He’s tall enough, he weighs enough, he’s strong enough. He has to work at all that stuff, but everybody in the league does that.

But not everybody has the same mental toughness, the same focus, the same ability to overcome adversity. He thinks that’s the difference in winning and losing and championships in the National Football League. Well, you can apply that to anything in life that you want to do. And probably it’s not an easy thing to do, to sit around by yourself for three hours a night and try to imagine every circumstance that you could face the next day so that when it happens, you’re not surprised by it.

Some people would advise against doing this because all you’re gonna do is paralyze yourself. Game day comes and you’re gonna be waiting for those things to happen rather than having the ability to react to what does happen. But it works, it works for him.

And so therein is the last piece of advice. Don’t think there’s only one way to do anything because there isn’t. There are countless ways, and even now, depending on what it is you want to do, there are countless ways to do what you want to do that may not have been done before or may not have been done very often or frequently.

And remember that the pressure on everybody is to conform. Conformity creates the least amount of problems for bosses and managers. Nonconformity, that’s a problem. I am a nonconformist. It’s why I would never succeed in any corporate structure. Some people are made for it, though. This is the thing, there’s no right or wrong about whatever it is you want to do. Just find it. That’s half of it, if not more.

And how you find it is being honest with yourself about what you love and what your passions are. And what you want to be. Some people, “What do I want people to think of me?” Other people, “What do I want to do?” Whatever it is that motivates you.

I’ve often found that one of the worst things you can do, though, is to get even with people you think wronged you in the past. “I’m gonna succeed at this just so those people will see they were wrong.” Fine. Let it motivate you awhile, but don’t let that be why you’re doing what you’re doing, ’cause they’ll never acknowledge it anyway. You’ll never get the satisfaction you seek.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: White Lake, Michigan. This is August. You’re next, sir. Great to have you.

CALLER: (garbled cell connection) Rush, I can’t thank you enough. You’ve given me a great, wonderful Christmas present. You and Snerdley are fabulous, your staff.

RUSH: (chuckles)

CALLER: God bless you. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays to whoever’s listening.

RUSH: Thank you, sir. Everybody appreciates that.

CALLER: Well, thank you. We appreciate you, and I was able while I was waiting to hear how our own president — who I think’s fantastic — gave you a tremendous introduction at a rally, and he was spot on. And you deserve all the accolades you get because you, sir, have done it. You are the voice of reason in this country. I’m 65. I’ve been listening to you for years when I can, and I continue to learn from you. You educate me, you inspire me, and I’m gonna make a difference too.

And I’m gonna get more involved in two things that most people don’t want to, and that’s gonna be politics and religion. We have freedom in this country! Now, I can go worship wherever I want. You can’t do that in a lot of countries in the world. I can go visit friends and relatives in any state and even leave the country. You can’t do that in many countries of the world. You can’t even leave your own neighborhoods, let alone things that you might not be able to do.

This country gives tremendous possibilities to everyone. I don’t understand the division. I don’t understand the so-called hatred. I don’t have time for hatred. I don’t even have time for dislike! But I have time for life, for liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — and I’m thankful every day that I can do that. And it’s life! I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve lived. I’ve done some good things. I’ve done some bad things. I’ve confronted all kinds of people, but I am living, and I hope to God I live for another 40 like Moses in the desert.

RUSH: Well, wanting to is part of the deal.

CALLER: Absolutely, and you talk about some of these (unintelligible) like always do. The young man that wanted to know about… When I see successful people, what I found in my lifetime is, first of all, they’ve got a vision. There’s the vision, and then that vision they’re so passionate about, like you said, and they won’t stop at nothing until that vision becomes reality. Whatever it takes. And it could be… I’ve said it in any industry, medical, manufacturing, technology, and (unintelligible) people that (unintelligible) —

RUSH: That’s absolutely true. I tell everybody who I run into, “There’s so much pessimism. I think pessimism is a natural human tendency,” as I have constantly reminded people. Pessimism is easy. Negativism easy. We all know how to do it. Sadly, for some people, it’s their natural state. Optimism takes application. Thinking positively, you gotta stop and do it. Most people do. For all of the pessimism… I’ve run into people, “No, I can’t do that. The deck’s stacked against me.”

Well, all this pessimism and negativity is out there. All you have to do is open your eyes and look at the contraindications. There are people succeeding wildly every day. How’s it possible if it isn’t possible? People are doing it. Tune out the noise, remain dedicated to your desires, and be patient. That’s a tough one too. Anyway, I appreciate, August, your really nice comments. I do. Thank you so much.

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