Shifting From ‘Low Gear’ To ‘High Gear’

The story is simple: A man is struggling but not getting results. He works for weeks or months (maybe years) without any sign that he will succeed.

He finally hits something that works. From there he skyrockets upwards to the success that he has been working so hard to attain.

He’s been working hard for a long time so continuing to shoot up isn’t any more effort than before. The effort is the same but now he’s actually getting results.

Of course he’ll keep it up… right?

Is it possible that this first sign of success might actually make future success more difficult to achieve?

I wonder if that first closed sale, the first signed album, or anything that would constitute his first ‘win’, may not change the equation and make continuing to rise more difficult.

The Question: Do initial results sometimes make future results more challenging to attain?

Here is an example of what I mean:

Just recently I closed my first $500 sale for the production of an Ebook. This is the first ‘big(ish) money’ that I’ve closed since coming abroad and I’m of course very excited about it. I’ve already got the designer lined up and he’s produced some amazing initial work.

Before getting this first sale, I was on the phones for about 4 hours every night trying to make deals with American companies.

After closing this sale, I still called some more American companies. My volume greatly decreased, however, and I didn’t make any calls after trying to reach the 30 or so that were left on a short list I had made up.

The ‘pressure’ to make sales off of my back (AKA paying for my rent and food!) is off my back. It’s too soon to know, but I pose the question: Will this sale make me less likely to continue to make calls (grow my business) in the future?


It doesn’t take internal motivation to walk a long distance for food when you’re hungry. Better put, the motivation is naturally generated by your stomach and nervous system. You’ll naturally put in any effort necessary to achieve the result you want.

It takes a different kind of force to get you to keep walking when you’re satiated and comfortable.

The business owner who is about to be evicted has very different motivations for closing a sale than the business owner who is already pulling in $200K per year net profit.

When initial success arrives, you need to turn on a different kind of motivation in order to keep rising. If you don’t turn on a different type of ‘driving force’ you won’t rise higher than your current motivations allow you to go.

Let’s put this in terms of the traveling entrepreneur. Here are some basic motivations and the level of income they’ll allow you to attain.

Eating And Not Getting Booted By Your Thai Landlord: $400 Per Month

Adding Unique Experiences To Your Travels (Motorcycle Rentals, Guided Hiking Trips, Crazy Local Food, Elephant Riding, etc.): $600 Per Month

Being Able To Take Regular Flights To New Locations Once Per Month: $1,000 per Month

Being Able To Live Comfortably Outside Of 3rd World Countries (AKA Come Home): $2,000 Per Month

Making The World Your Oyster (Jet Skiing In Spain One Weekend And Hang Gliding Over Rio The Next): $4,000 per month

If you’re only motivated to earn that $400 per month to survive then you’ll piss away your time after you earn this amount.


Until last week, my motivations to close a sale were largely survival based. I wasn’t worried, but I knew that if I didn’t bring in some business soon my money was going to run out and the ‘Thai Landlord’ nightmare would become a reality.

With this one sale, I was able to transcend this need for security. When it comes to food and shelter, all of my bases are covered.

If I was in America, this one sale wouldn’t change my motivation much. With rent reaching over $1,000 per month, I’d still be in survival mode after closing sales two and three.

Being here, however, changes the equation slightly. Now, I’ve got to dig deeper to find a stronger motivation, one that pushes me further than I would go using the desire to survive.

I need to replace a ‘low gear’ motivation that got me to 20 mph with a ‘high gear’ motivation that can get me to 60 mph.

I’ve got a lot of big plans, and getting revved up about them should do the trick.

I’m shifting from my ‘survival’ gear to my ‘unique experiences’ gear.