The Secret of My Success

February 16, 2022

You’ve been dying to learn this, haven’t you?

In the loving and sharing spirit of Saint Valentine himself, then, here it is, the secret of my every success: I just stop thinking about attaining it. By which I mean, nearly all of my “wins” have come AFTER I’ve put whatever I was competing for completely out of my mind. Case in point: at our mentor meeting at church Sunday afternoon, one of the dads came up with a Super Bowl pool. The teams of mentors and Confirmation students filled out the form before kickoff, to determine who would later be victorious (the prize was ingenious--$100, which would then be donated to the charity of the winners’ choice). I let my teenage partner fill in our names, and that was the last thought I gave to the whole endeavor. Once home, I did my usual Super Bowl thing, which was not watch a second of it. This year, for good measure, I even eschewed the commercials and halftime show, knowing any mild curiosity I had could be easily satisfied by subsequent viewing online.

So, of course, my duo won the pool. Now, had I cared one whit, I can promise you there would have been a different outcome. But, by playing mentally “hard to get,” I clearly attracted good fortune.

In my writing life, I mostly achieve acceptances of my pieces to magazines and the like by submitting to them, then promptly forgetting I did so. This works best when I send out a flurry of essays and articles to a large number of publications. It is a delightful surprise to hear from, for example, a humor magazine I’d sent a little “something something” weeks prior. In contrast, I have been single-mindedly focused on cracking a very tough comedy nut, sending them way too many submissions, and then refreshing my inbox multiple times per day for a response. Needless to say, I have been rejected 100% of the time so far. Of course I have! I’ve been way too needy! I should be ignoring them altogether, so that eventually they will unearth one of my pieces and contact me frantically, begging me to allow them to feature it.

Now, my formula (I call it, The Power of Not Thinking About It At All) may not work for you. You may, for all I know, swear by laser-focusing on your goals, bringing all of your brainpower to bear on envisioning your desired outcome. If that is your preferred method, great! But for those who have tried and failed to manifest success, I encourage you to give my method a whirl. It has the advantage of freeing up your gray matter for what is truly important, such as wondering if you actually ate that crème filled donut for breakfast, or if you just dreamed you did (alas, I gain the same amount of weight ingesting pastry virtually and literally).

Secret of my Success, my friends? As my Brooklyn buddies would say, “Fuggedaboudit!”




    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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