[Failure Study] The Value Of Fundamental Principles

Fundamental principles, eye on the ball

In sports, there is a fundamental principle, “Keep your eyes on the ball.” Last month I took my eyes off the ball… and I failed.

This post is about that failure. And what I’m doing to fix it.

Keeping Your Eye On The Ball

In most sports the ball is real. As long as you keep your eyes on the ball, you will connect.

Take your eyes off the ball, and it will smack you in the head.

Close your eyes and swing — and you will miss.

Keep your eyes on the ball — and you will connect much better.

The “keeping your eye on the ball” in sports means remaining focused on what’s going on in the field.

Not worrying about anything else. Not thinking about the new shoes. Or the trying to wipe the dirt off the shoulder.
When the ball is thrown — you keep your eyes on it. So you can hit it. You can catch it. You can make a play on the ball.

In this post, I’ll share with you what happened when I tool my eyes off the ball. In our case, the ball being fundamental principles of business.

What needs to happen, and what we need to focus on every day.

What Are The Fundamental Principles Of Business

Business is simple. We like to complicate it. Make it sexier. Make it sound more sophisticated than it is.

I’m guilty of doing that.

But the fundamentals in business (and anything else in life) are simple.

Here’s what business is about in three steps.

  1. Find a market that has a problem
  2. Solve that problem
  3. Collect cash

Here’s what losing weight is about

  1. Stop eating sugar and simple carbs
  2. Exercise more
  3. Track your weight

Here’s what productivity is about

  1. Measure how much time you spend doing things
  2. Stop doing the ones that don’t get results
  3. Do more of the ones that get results

“… Riz that’s an oversimplification?”

Not really.

It is understanding, that to be successful at things you don’t need to do ‘new’ things.

Fundamental principles are simple. We add the complexity after, more on that in a bit…

First, let’s look at

Why You Must Focus On Fundamental Principles

If you don’t concentrate on fundamental principles, you will lose momentum. It will cost you more time to do things. And you will lose money.

If you don’t focus on fundamental principles, you will jump from one shiny object to another. You will lose the power of action. Your efforts will be washed away.

You won’t achieve the things that you want to make. Your goals will be lost in the dust.

By focusing on the fundamental principles, you ensure that you’re taking the right action. That you’re doing the things that will get you the results you’re after.

You will become laser focused. You will start leap-frogging your peers and colleagues. Your goals will seem like they come to you.

You will become the success that you’ve always wanted. Reaching your goals faster than you thought you would. And building things bigger than you imagined.


What Is The Theory Behind Fundamental Principles

Fundamental Principles means ‘basic law or truth.’ ‘Principles from which other truths can be derived.

This is the basis of any goal. Any activity. Any action.

By understanding the fundamental principles, you will get to your goals faster.

For example.

The fundamental principle of business is to find a problem a group of people is having. Then solve that problem for them in exchange for money.

The fundamental principle to losing weight is to eat less junk food and exercise more often.

The fundamental principle of having better relationships is to talk more often. And be honest.

Nothing new there.

Now once you understand the fundamental principles, you can get the result that you want. Without adding anything else to it.

It’s like chemistry or physics.

Once you understand the fundamental laws — that’s it. That does not change.

Sometimes we lose sight of what the underlying law is — but that doesn’t mean the law itself changed.

It means that we lost sight of the ball.

How I Lost Sight Of The Ball

Over the last two months, I’ve been relentless. Focusing on building my list.

Then last month, I got cocky. I thought I had enough momentum to stop doing the things that I was doing.

That I could start focusing on something new, something more.

Here’s my list growth in the last month.

Which shows how few people have joined my list in the month that I took my eye off the ball.

This is what it looked like in November

Not good. Not good at all.

I got sucked in the social media, podcast, Facebook group, “something-something” hype. And lost track of what was working for me.

Which caused my list growth to drop.

But to make things worse, I came across a post by Ramit Sethi. (He does over $5 million a week — and I look up to him). You can read the post here – http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/03/04/5-million-week/

To paraphrase — he says that when he started his business, he focused on two things. Until he hit $1 million per month.
Then added a two more. But still only does four things in his business.

Here’s a screenshot he shared of all the things you can do in business and the ones he did.

In fact, he didn’t even start split testing until he got to $3 million per month.


I’m nowhere close to that — and I was doing split testing.

What was I thinking?


No wonder he’s doing as well as he’s doing.

I’m copying this guy.

Focusing on doing one thing. Focusing on the fundamentals.



That’s it.

Until I get to $1 million a month, I’m not touching anything else. Not even with a 10-foot pole.

You can hold me to that.

If you hear me say any different, remind me of this post — and ask me why I’m doing new stuff?

What’s changed?

What new information that I have? Keep me accountable.

Okay — enough wrist-slapping for one day. Let’s look at action items and how you can use my failure to your advantage.

That way, we can both win.

So let’s look at

How To Install Fundamental Principles In Your Life

Chances are you’ve set some goals for you. This month. This year. Or in your life.

It doesn’t matter when you set those goals — but you’ve set goals.

Now there is a good chance that you haven’t reached your goals yet.

Here’s a three-step process to hit your goals by looking at the Fundamental Principles.

Step 1. Find out what the fundamentals are

No matter what your goal is for 2017 — you can use fundamental principles to figure out how to get to your goal. Faster.

Without wasting time doing things that don’t move the needle.

Want more customers? Find where you’re getting most prospects, then do more of that. Stop doing everything that isn’t working

Want to earn more money? Make yourself more valuable to your company.

Want to launch a business? Ask ten people you know to buy from you.

Want to find your dream job? Sit down and write out what you love to do. Then talk to other people doing that.

Want to lose weight? Eat less. Eat healthy. Exercise more.

Want to find a partner? Put your phone away. Talk to people in a personal setting.

Want to learn a new skill? Practice that skill every day.

Know what the fundamentals are for your goal.

We’ve already looked at the fundamental principles for business — they’re simple. 
We can add all the shiny bits of doing podcasts, webinars, Pinterest… But that’s all activity.

Do it if it moves the needle. Don’t do it if it does not move the needle.

Find out what the fundamentals are for you and your goals.

For me in my business, I’m doing two things, emails, and blogging.

To grow my list, I’m doing the one thing that was working for me. Direct messaging people interested in my topic if they want to join my newsletter.

That’s my focus.

Find out what’s the fundamental principle for you — and your goal.

Step 2. Track your results

If you don’t track your results, you won’t get where you want to go.

That’s it.

No rocket science. No brain surgery.

The simplest way to know if you’re hitting your goals is to track them.

Look at your bank account to find out how much money you’re making.

Stand on the weighing machine to learn what you weigh today.

Talk to five recruiters to find out if you have the skills to get in your dream career.

Ask three people to buy your product to discover whether your product will sell.

Once you’ve done that — track it.

Repeat this every day. Then track the results.

You’ll know in a week if you’re going to hit the target or not.

Sounds repetitive — but this is it. There’s no magic pill. There’s no hidden button.

Step 3. Rinse and repeat

Do more of what’s working. Less of what’s not working.

I got side-tracked by the shiny objects. 
Thought it would be cool to do all these other things.

I should do a webinar…

How about I start a Facebook group…

What about I start a podcast….

How about I start sharing on Instagram…

I saw all these people doing these things online and got sidetracked.

I know it happens.

You might be side-tracked too. That’s okay. It’s not your fault. There are too many people telling you to do too many things.

The best thing to do is shut them off.

Then focus on the things that work. That have worked for you in the past. And that will keep working for you in the future.

Then keep doing those things. Over. And over. And over. And OVER. AND OVER.

I know it sounds boring. Who cares? If the boring thing gets results, sign me up. 
And you should sign up too.

Word Of Warning!!!

As you’re implementing the fundamental principles, you will hit resistance.

There will be two kinds of resistance that you will have to cope with.

Internal Resistance

This is your mind telling you to do other things. To look at other ways. To want to ‘change’ the fundamentals.

Ignore it. And force yourself to focus on the fundamentals.

This happens because our ‘ego’ wants to believe that we can find a better way to do things.

Sometimes we can. Most of the time, it’s better to get to the goal first, then find a better way to do it.

It’s easier to find a solution in hindsight.

Sounds counterintuitive. But you will always be able to come up with a better solution AFTER you’ve solved your problem.

As an example, go to your grocery store and find a scotch tape. Not the supply office store. The grocery store.

Unless you ask someone or have bought it recently from that store — it will take you forever.

The next time, you’ll be able to do it pretty quick.

So that’s what I mean finding a solution in hindsight.

Here’s how to overcome your internal resistance. Telling yourself that you will find a better solution AFTER you get to the goal.

This time you’re going to follow the beaten path, FIRST. Then you’re going to find a better way to do it.

Another thing you will encounter is

External Resistance

This is resistance that other people will show you towards your goals.

Saying things like,

“I could never do that…”

“I don’t know how you can do it…”

“That’s unnatural…”

“You should try this [XYZ method]… I’ve heard it works well…”

Or some other combination of why what you’re doing isn’t the best way of doing it. And how there is a much better, faster, easier way of doing what you want to do.

First — say to them, ‘Thank you — I appreciate your concern.”

Second — look at who is telling you.

If it is someone who has achieved the goal you want, then listen to them.

If it is someone who has not reached the goal you want, then ignore them. They don’t know better.

Third — keep doing what you’re doing.

The hard part isn’t knowing the plan. It is doing the plan.

Taking action is harder than coming up with the plan. 
Following through is tougher than thinking through.

Let’s do a quick recap of all that we learned today — then take some action.

Quick Recap

In this post, we looked at

  • What are fundamental principles
  • How focusing on fundamental principles can get you to your goals faster
  • What happens when you take your eyes off the ball and follow the shiny object syndrome
  • How one person is doing over $5 million a week by laser focusing on what works
  • PLUS tons more

Action steps

Here’s a run down of the action steps we talked about today — and how you can use them to get back on track

  1. Find out what the fundamentals are for your goal
  2. Track your results every day/week
  3. Rinse and repeat the things that are working

These are simple action steps that you can take right now to get back on track with your goals.

By following these three action steps, you will get closer to your goals in the next 90 days.

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn. What did you think? Did this three-step formula help you?

What’s the goal that you’ve gotten side-tracked from?

Leave a comment below, let me know the target you’ve been struggling with — I’d love to help you get that.