Why Some People Succeed and Others Don’t

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I have a confession to make. I am not great at grammar. I sometimes switch between tenses and even worse, I sometimes even make stupid spelling mistakes. 95% of the time those mistakes are a product of rushing instead of slowing down.

There is an old saying, “The Difference Between Smart and Stupid is Half an Hour.”

In it’s simplest interpretation this means that the only disadvantage of not being the brightest crayon in the box is that you have to put in a little extra effort to understand something. It means that all knowledge is attainable with an extra 3o minutes of effort.

Personally, I think the difference between success and failure is also 30 minutes.

I see from my own behavior – when I put in the little extra effort, my results go miles further. The difference between a boring company and a fascinating company is caring enough to go the extra mile. I don’t know about you, but I can easily walk a mile in 3o minutes.

Before finishing your next project, shipping your next product or update, or simply posting your next blog post,

ask yourself, “What Would Happen If I Delayed This For 30 Minutes?”

“What Would Happen If I Put An Extra Half Hour of Work Into This Before Shipping?”

Want an example? When I hit publish on this post, the image at the top of the post was different. Here is what I ran with originally.


Can you see the mistake? The original said the word, “or” instead of “and” … One small fix and it flows better, reads better, and doesn’t make you double back to try to understand what you just read.

I know the internet moves quickly, and sometimes you need to react on a dime, Like Oreo’s newsjacking the blackout during last years super bowl, but still, most of the time the extra 30 minutes of effort will not hurt you and will make sure you have no broken windows in your business.

Imagine if everything you do, when you are ready to ship, You pause and say, “I will not ship for another 30 minutes.” Take that time to think, to re-read, to re-evaluate, to re-examine, to make sure all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. Imagine how much better of a product you would shipping and how much better of an experience your users or customers will enjoy.

I rush many of my blog posts because I sometimes fall behind schedule and need to get a post live ASAP. The truth is, “If I waited 30 minutes and took the time to edit my posts and rethink them, My blog would be that much more useful to my readers.” Believe it or not, search engines care about spelling and grammar. Matt Cutts said in a video that higher quality sites tend to have no spelling mistakes and proper grammar.

The truth is, if I took an extra half hour to make sure to tag my post properly, to make sure it is categorized properly, to make sure it is optimized properly, my blog would probably have that much more traction and credibility.

Same thing goes for planning. When you take the extra 3o minutes to plan in advance. When you take the time to think about your goals before building an Adwords campaign, When you take the time to put the extra effort into your marketing, you will see exponentially greater results.

The only real difference between being a massive success and being a failure is putting in the extra effort.

How do you put in the extra effort? Simple. By Caring. As I discussed in my manifesto about Melamed-Style-Marketing, everything you do needs to stem from caring deeply about your prospects, users and customers.

When you truly care, you would never think of shipping without putting in the extra effort.



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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $15,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.


  1. A. M. Grossman says:

    Excellent, David! A very original way of making a profound and important point.

  2. Marianna Elizabeth Beavis says:

    This is exactly the reason I don’t succeed at times. Rather than putting in 30 minutes of extra effort, I went through school putting in only 30 minutes of effort, and the fact that I still did well started to make me completely forget that this isn’t actually going to always result in me being successful. Now I working myself out of that mindset but the problem is that sometimes I don’t do a very good job, especially when it’s something I’m unenthusiastic about. So, I’m wondering how you deal with making sure that you don’t end up failing with something you’re unenthusiastic about? Do you still go by this difference between success and failure and put in that extra little bit of effort? It’s something I can never find myself fully motivated to do, even though I understand how it will help me in the long run, so what are your thoughts on this? 🙂

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