There’s no longer any excuse for ignorance – The Secret to Success

By Leslie Samuel

This post was originally published back on November 23, 2010. However, the content is so relevant that I decided to bring it back, add some pics and share it with you. Enjoy!

Did you read the title of this post? I mean really . . . Did you REALLY read it? Do you consider yourself to be ignorant when it comes to blogging? Well then the title applies to YOU!

Ok, let me tell you a little story, and yes, it's a true story taken from the life of a guy named Leslie ;).

IgnoranceExcuseOnce upon a time, there was a guy named Leslie. After having a rough start in college, he finally whipped his butt into shape and got serious about his studies. This lead to a decent amount of success and to make a very long story short, he ended up doing research in Germany for two summers as a part of his Master's Degree.

But there was a significant problem – His department ran out of money and could not afford to support him anymore during his second summer. He needed to find a way to make money quickly.

Earlier on in his college career, he took a “Computer tools” class, where he learned a little HTML , loved it and started designing little personal sites.

When thinking of a way to make money, he got the genius idea – “I'm gonna design websites for other people and companies”. So off he went advertising his new business.

However, there was one potential problem – he was still a novice at website design. However, he didn't care, because he needed the money.

In meeting with clients, he would ask them what they had in mind for their websites. They would start telling him of all the wonderful things they wanted, and the following question ALWAYS came up – “Leslie, do you think you can do that?”. The answer was always the same – “If you can think it, I can do it”.

Then he would leave each appointment somewhat panic-stricken. He had NO IDEA how to do half of the things that he was asked to do, and was sometimes paid in advance to do them. That is where the fun started…

Ok, I'm going to switch from writing in the third person now. I know I'm probably not supposed to, but it's my blog, so I can do whatever I want, lol.

Doing the Research

WebdesignThis “web design company” I started was one that really opened my eyes to the possibilities that are out there and the power of the internet. Whenever I was faced with the problem of being paid to do something I never did before, I always knew that there had to be a solution out there. Then I went to Google and found the solution.

I was able to design personal websites for people with cool flash components. I did websites for companies and non profit organizations where they could take orders and make money online.

I was also even able to design a website for a classical radio station and gave the option of being able to listen to the live stream of the radio station online in a custom player.

None of these things were things I knew how to do before actually doing it, but I knew that someone online knew how to do it, and I could find the solution based on what was already out there.

The Internet and available knowledge

The story above illustrates a very important point, which is the title of this article – “There's no longer an excuse for ignorance”. Back in the day, if you wanted to learn something about a specific topic or find a specific answer to a specific question, you would probably end up going to the library, doing a ton of research, read book after book trying to find that answer.

Search (2)Or, you would have to ask someone who knows the answer, which can also be quite tedious.

Today, with innovations like Google Search, you can learn just about ANYTHING. Not only that, there are so many websites out there that provide training on just about ANY topic, and the number of sites are rising exponentially. In fact, at a techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA recently, Bill Gates made the following prediction:

““Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world,” He continued to say that “It will be better than any single university”.

We are already seeing a lot of that happening today. However, the problem that I'm seeing is that because knowledge is EVERYWHERE, people are becoming lazy, and aren't putting in the time to actually acquire that knowledge. My question for you is – Are you one of those people?

If you honestly ask yourself that question and your answer is a glaring “Yes”, I would like to ask you to reconsider what you do on a daily basis. Remember, there is no longer an excuse for ignorance.

The Secret to success

TimePowerI'm currently reading a book called “Time Power: A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible” by Brian Tracy. In the book, the author says something that I find to be very interesting:

“… the “guaranteed formula” for success and lifelong riches. It is this: Invest as much in your mind each year as you do in your car. That's it. Simple. Guaranteed.”

When I first read it, I thought to myself – “Wow, that's a bold statement”. Then I continued thinking, and thinking, and thinking some more and I realized that there was a significant amount of truth to that statement. Most, if not all, successful people have the right kind of knowledge and take action on the knowledge they have.

The mind is the greatest asset that you can have. What are you doing to feed your greatest asset? Are you filling it with knowledge that will help you accomplish your goals? Or is your mind constantly being fed a dose of “Sex in the city”, “Friends”, “Law and order” and “CSI Miami”? : )

No, I'm not bashing those shows. In fact, I get very much into “The Event” on a weekly basis. 2 weeks ago, they skipped an episode and I almost gave birth to a cow, lol. However, I'm desperately seeking to maintain a balance, by limiting my TV intake to maybe 2 shows a week (except when I'm on vacation), and spending time reading every day.

Since I've started reading consistently, I feel as if my mind is expanding right before my eyes. Not only that, but I've taken much more action on what I already know. There's something about educating the mind that helps to take you to the next level. You are no longer satisfied with the status quo and become more determined to accomplish your goals.

According to the book I already mentioned – “If you read an hour a day, one book per week, you will be an expert in your field within three years. You will be a national authority in five years, and you will be an international authority in seven years. All leaders are readers.”

So what now

Yeah, I know – You are at this blog trying to learn about making money, and here I am telling you that “reading makes the world go round” – the same “crap” you've been hearing since Kindergarten. That's where I first heard it too. In fact, I can even remember the picture of the globe with books flying around it.

The take home message is this – If you want to learn to be successful, learn from successful people. Whether that's by reading or by going through training programs, the key is that you need to be be building up your greatest asset – your mind.

If you do that consistently, you will be moving yourself towards accomplishing your goal. No, it might not sound as glamorous as the usual “Make Money Online” hype, but I'm not here to feed you glamor. I'm here to whip your butt into shape 🙂


Ooo, I'm afraid of these comments today, lol. I probably hit a nerve that some people don't like. Still, I want to know what you think about any aspect of this post. I'll be anxiously holding on to my seat and waiting for your comments below.

  • This should not offend anyone but the lazy, or out of touch folks. I found it refreshing, and food for thought. Keep it up. Thanks, Jim

  • Invest as much in your mind each year as you do in your car

    that’s refreshing i invest in my car one time every 10 years! phew 😛

  • I’m a retired University Professor and I’ll say that the future will allow academic curriculum (or its equivalent) to be freely found within the pages of the ‘net.
    Like I tell my online students, “all the known knowledge of mankind can either be found now, or in the near future within that little white box on the Google Search page”.
    Of course, that should include other search engines as well.
    The knowledge is there now, or will be in the very near future.

  • Great article and nice timing… the amount of information available is one of the more interesting situations on the net at the moment… you indeed can learn virtually anything… providing that you have the search “know-how”… of course the absence of this from the (mostly) 30 y/o+ population allows a tremendous marketplace to exist presently for “how-to” and the like… the question is what will occur in the future as the gen z and forward (who were breast fed on computers) become the mainstream…

    • I like how you put it – the search “know-how”. Very valid point. The great thing is that even that search “know-how” can be learnt. Yes, it takes more effort for some people to learn it, but it’s still learnable. Thanks for the input G.S. Vaughan.

  • knowledge is EVERYWHERE, people are becoming lazy but Remember, there is no longer an excuse for ignorance. Without action nothing is possible. But action is always after some action. This some action is our learning. I think you mean this.
    Thank you very much for the nice article.

  • How could anyone be offended by TRUTH? What you say is correct. The problem for many of us is the discipline to enact it. I will keep this blog available to read often as I think I can have more success if I get back to such basics. Thanks for stirring up my mind.

  • Thanks for the article. I think it’s is too easy to get lazy and make excuses. I found myself falling into that trap just last week. Investing in knowledge in one of the keys to becoming successful.

    • Hey Lovelyn, you are NOT alone. The truth is that I find myself falling into the same thing every so often. We just gotta keep getting back on the horse no matter how many times we fall. Every time we get back on, we’re one step closer.

      Good to see ya here again. Haven’t heard from you in a while 🙂

  • Lol I can recall being in similar situations, when the client expects everything is possible that’s in their mind, and your always says “Yes Its possible” because even if I don’t know the answer or the techniques, with the power of the web you can find some one very easily who has the answer to what your looking to do.

  • Leslie,
    I appreciate your story, and how you used your story to fuel your point.
    I would be thoroughly surprised if somebody was actually offended by this blog post.
    Too many people seek out opportunities that will make them rich, without thinking about the strategies that will make them successful (drawing on Rich Sheferen teaching).
    I completely agree in the fact that information is absolutely readily available, and there is more information at our fingertips now than ever before.
    However… Information cannot replace knowledge, and knowledge cannot replace experience, and experience cannot replace wisdom, and wisdom cannot replace truth. There will always be a hierarchy here, and eventually people will realize that information is only the tip of the iceberg.
    On another note, simply taking in information is not exactly the best form of learning. Only if you apply the things you learn (either by practice, or even teaching) do you truly comprehend what you are taking in.

    Anyways, nice post. What books are you currently reading to help you become an expert?

    • Very Good points Sam. Thanks for sharing.

      In terms of what I’m currently reading:
      – Time Power
      – Turnaround Leadership
      – Crush it
      – The Power of Less
      – The 2020 Workplace
      – Long walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

      A few others. Those are the ones I’ve recently downloaded to my Kindle. I’ve knocked out two and am working my way through them. Every so often a new one pops up on my radar.

    • I hear ya Vinay,

      That’s why it’s very important to choose what you do very wisely. You can be doing a bunch and still not accomplishing much. I find myself doing that every so often. It’s always a challenge to stay on the straight and narrow.

  • Hi Leslie,

    there is much free knowledge available online. You can spend days reading good online sources. In my opinion it’s very important to have a clear focus on a certain problem to solve it step by step. Its very easy to read hours and hours, but if you don’t take action steps the knowledge won’t help.

    Tim Ferris (I hope I remember this right) once wrote you should stop reading things that do not help you with a specific problem. But he also recommended to read an hour every night, if you like it. 🙂

    Yaro also wrote that you should reduce the amount of time you spend reading other blog posts and start to produce other killer content.

    I believe this is exactly what you did.

    By the way, did you learn some German during your research?

    • You raise some very important points Jan.

      I’m a firm believer that it’s SO easy to suffer from information overload. That’s why it’s very important for you to go through the process of distinguishing what is important from what is interesting.

      Once you know what’s important in your life, and what goals you are trying to reach, you can then go through the process of identifying the tasks you need to do to accomplish your goals, and you can better discern the types of information you need to take in.

      Once you have decided that, then you need to take action towards getting the knowledge and taking the steps you need to take.

      Yes, if you look at how much I do on a daily basis, I’ve definitely cut down on the amount of different types of information I take in. However, I’m narrowing down on the info that helps me reach my goals and taking in a ton. I no longer spend a bunch of time reading a bunch of blogs. I focus on a meager few.

      The biggest take home lesson from this post is that you shouldn’t let not knowing how to do something hold you back from accomplishing your goal.

      And yes, I did learn some German while in Germany. It was relatively easy since I’m relatively fluent in Dutch.

  • I loved what you had to say. Probably because I already know it is true. We are so lucky to have so much info available to us. People say there is too much competition out there, but I think the most competition is in mediocrity. If we are willing to learn and to be a problem solver then we can stand out.

  • Just by reading this post and others like it, which you have so graciously shared with us already, people are in the process of learning whether they like it or not. See that wasn’t so hard was it? hehe

  • I am a 58 year old man. In looking back I see that I have fed mostly on brawn and less on brain. Between, 20 Yrs. in the military (enlisted, not an officer) due to lack of colledge, entering into the civilian world, (Not going to colledge) but finding a path of physical work – Carpet Installation ect.. which felt familliar because of all my past choices, I find myself whishing that I had put more effort into pursuing a more mental path that could bring me into old age with more wealth and security. I now, am forced to look forward with a different outlook. This new and strange outlook I should have taken years ago. Even though I am still working on my hands and knees everyday, I find myself on the computer reading and learning. I feel now, like I am moving towards a goal. I am not sure what it is but I can feel that the more I learn, the closer I will get to it. Your message about reading and learning every day is the best message I have read in a long time. I fully indorse your message and thank you for writing it.

    • Thanks for posting Trudeau,

      My philosophy is as follows – It’s never too late until you are dead. If you ask my wife, she will tell you that you aren’t old until you are 100 😀

      You’re still alive and kicking, so it’s not too late. Glad to see that you found value in this post, and I look forward to seeing you reach that goal, whatever it may be.

  • Leslie, you really don’t need to be afraid for telling the truth. Reading unlocks the door to knowing more and this improves the thinking process. Your mind also get to expand in the process. What people don’t realise nowadays is the power of the internet. With the click of a mouse, you can get whatever you want and almost for free.

    Personally i invest heavily in books. I buy up to four new books a monthn and i still read more from my mentor’s library. Have been on a personal MBA plan for a while now. All i do is get a good book in a particular area say finance, marketing, strategy, or leadership. Read up everything, learn and absorb the real stuff, then go out there to make things happen.

    Now is the time to take advantage of the massive flow of free information on the internet to better ourself and others. The internet marks the end of an excuse for ignorance. No more excuse. If you want, you can live your dream life now. Go out and make remarkable things happen.

    Leslie i can’t thank you enough for exposing your community to the truth that can effect a change in their lives.

    • I love how you put that Ireti – “a personal MBA plan”. That’s an awesome way to put it. I agree with EVERYTHING you said there. Great stuff man! It is definitely the truth. You are in control of your destiny. Gotta go out there and make things happen!

      Thanks for the comment!

  • You are extremely right here Leslie. Too bad people nowadays are much more focused on the glitters rather than investing on their minds. But whence the mind is a great tool, it’s also an enemy.

  • Bringing up the oldies! Thanks for sharing today. It’s as if you could’ve written this article on October 2013. Google is one great university…can you think about how much information should be available on the internet in 10, 20, 50 years???

    Amazing stuff. It was great to read more of your story.


    • Yep, sometimes it’s good to bring back the oldies 🙂

      I hear you though. Eric Schmidt said a while back that there’s more content produced every 48 hours than from the beginning of time to 2003. That’s insane! So in 50 years? I can’t imagine!

    • That’s a crazy thought. We’re privileged for living in these times.

      Well, we’re all in the same boat together to see where this information train goes!

  • Hi Leslie thanks for your input l dont think anyone should be upset with been told cold hard truth.we are very blessed with a lot today so we need to really manage our time well . Thanks les keep up the good work. Ciao nick.

  • Hey Leslie, first thing’s first, I never could get into that show “The Event”. I just don’t know what it was but I couldn’t make it past 3 episodes. Anyway, now onto my thoughts. I agree with alot of what you said. You have to read on occasion to get any type of knowledge if you want to be successful in whatever you embark upon. I remember hearing Clayton Makepeace say one time “to be an expert in something you have to do it for 1000 hours.” The same principles applies to what you’re talking about.

    I wrote a similar article on by blog talking about the secret to success as well, because I believe there are, still are, too many people out there that are looking for the easy way out and not totally committing themselves to “being & doing things” to be successful as much as they’re “trying to learn” that secret.

    Lastly, you’re totally correct about reading and acquiring knowledge and it helping expand your mind. That’s something I don’t do as often as I use to. Instead, I listen to podcasts (like yours) and seminars from other experts on business, marketing and advertising. One should never stop learning because there’s always new things to learn.

    Again, great post and thanks for sharing that story.

  • “However… Information cannot replace knowledge, and knowledge cannot replace experience, and experience cannot replace wisdom, and wisdom cannot replace truth.”

    I love those lines. Very much the truth.

  • No more excuse. Love this article. There is no problem i have not been able to solve. With the internet, its like having your own personal Library of Congress but like you said, people are not taking advantage of the internet.

  • Hi Leslie, I think your blog was fine.We are so lucky to have all the e tools at our disposal to use on a daily basis compared to days gone by.

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