Mr. Magoo’s Guide to Success

A few year’s ago, my son Oliver and I had the chance to go to dinner with an incredibly successful entrepreneur who had recently sold his company to a competitor for hundreds of millions of dollars. When my son asked him to share the secret of his success, he grew contemplative.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I’m pretty good at math, but mostly I’m like Mr. Magoo – I just keep plodding along and things tend to work out for me.”

Later in the evening, Oliver admitted to me he didn’t know who Mr. Magoo was, so I explained that essentially, Mr. Magoo was a terribly nearsighted cartoon character who somehow always landed on his feet, getting himself into and out of trouble with equal aplomb.

Here’s a clip from the opening of the show that will give you the idea:

When Oliver asked me if I thought the entrepreneur was telling the truth or just being humble, I said that I thought it was probably a bit of both. My first book was actually based on the Mr. Magoo like quality I noticed in so many of my happily successful clients. While they actually tended to be farsighted visionaries at one level, when it came to execution they never seemed to look terribly far beyond whatever it was that was in front of them to do.

I originally wanted to call the book ‘Soul Path’, as their journeys were so filled with coincidences and synchronicities that it seemed to my outside eye that as soon as they started heading in a direction, the innermost part of themselves would lay down the next step in the path for them to take.

The only common element I saw at that time that set them apart from most people was that their happiness was an independent variable, not dependent in any noticeable way on them getting what they want. Things would unfold as if by design for them, to the point where they developed a kind of educated faith in Clement Watt’s maxim:

“Take the first step, no more, no less, and the next will be revealed.”

That book, published by Hay House as You Can Have What You Want, followed a soul path all its own, going from the decision to write it without any idea if anyone would be interested to number one on the UK bestseller list in just 53 weeks.

What I’ve seen since that time is that there’s no magic formula to “Magooing” your way to success – it’s just how things work. When we begin to walk in a direction, our deeper mind supports us in ways we couldn’t predict or imagine in actually getting us where it is we want to go.

Perhaps the best analogy I’ve got for this happened early one morning while walking through the Zurich airport on my way to an event. The airport seemed fairly deserted – the lights were off pretty much everywhere but the baggage claim and none of the escalators were running. It was like walking through a discount store that was going out of business and only has the minimum amount of lighting and staffing to spend as little money as possible.

I began heading out to the rental car area wondering what had become of the fabled Swiss economy when I noticed the lights came on in each area that I walked through as I walked through it. When I hefted my suitcase to climb the escalator, it switched itself on so smoothly I almost didn’t notice as it carried me to the next level. In other words, the airport wasn’t in financial trouble – it was just designed for maximum efficiency, giving customers the lighting and ‘uplift’ they needed when (and only when) they needed it.

In the same way, the real-time responsive intelligence behind life seems to turn itself on and offer up fresh possibilities the moment we get in the game. As we move forward on a project or in the direction of something we’d like to see happen, the lights come on inside our head and all sorts of things come to mind and become visible that we couldn’t have predicted before we began. Like Mr. Magoo, life seems to bring us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

With all my love,
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