Jason B. Ladd

Author | Apologist | Entrepreneur

The Secret to Success: Improve Your Life in Five Words

secret to success

Want to save thousands of dollars in therapy and marriage counseling? I may have stumbled onto the secret to success for maintaining a strong relationship.  It’s nothing new.  Malcolm Muggeridge said:

“All new news is old news happening to new people.”

(Click here to Tweet that!)

At one point it was new to me, and it might be new to you.

secret to successThe Hole

We’ve all experienced it: that moment when the tide turns.  The day was going perfectly fine.  The kids were happy, everything was on track.

And then it happens.

Some thing.  Some little thing.

You talk about it.  You talk a little more.  And then in one little sentence—THUNK.

You’re standing in the bottom of a whole.  You never saw it.  You don’t remember falling.  One minute you were in your living room, and the next you were looking up through the carpet at your spouse wondering how you were going to get out.

secret to successYou hurt their feelings. secret to success

So what do we naturally do?  Try to convince them to be reasonable and see things our way, of course.

But we know how that story ends.  Hours of silence and the end of a perfectly good day.

Getting Out in Two Words

Want to know how to get out of the hole quickly?

What if the secret to success only took two–little–words?

“I’m sorry.”secret to success

We all know it’s difficult.  Pride is a huge pill to swallow.  Saying I’m sorry implies we were wrong.  But if you want to stay together, you have to know the secret:

It’s never about the argument; it’s always about the relationship.

(Click here to Tweet that!)

Go back and replay the moment when it went downhill—when the eyebrow raised, when the brow furrowed, when the response took just a little bit longer.  You know the cues by now.

At that exact moment, it was no longer about that little thing.  And no amount of talking about that little thing can make it better.

(Click here to read an article by Seth Godin about relationships)

This is where you must use the secret to success.  You must say the two little words as an act of faith, knowing it’s the right thing to say, whether you were right or wrong about the little thing.  And this is why:

They don’t want your apology.  They want you to care about them more than yourself.

(Click here to Tweet that!)

And that’s why you should say “I’m sorry,” whether you think you’re right or not.  After all, do you want to be right?  Or do you want to have a strong relationship?

Three Bonus Words

Now for the three secret-to-success bonus words.

“I’m sorry” will keep your relationship alive.  But you don’t want to settle for alive—for “good enough.”  You want “Wow.” For three extra words, your relationship can thrive:

“I was wrong.”secret to success

I know what you’re thinking.   Hear me out.

Those three words will get you to “Wow.”

Practice saying it fellas.  Even if you were right about the argument, you might have been wrong about handling the relationship.  So practice saying it, earnestly.

And remember:

They’re not hearing “I was wrong.” They’re hearing “I care about you more than myself.”

(Click here to read Michael Hyatt’s article “What Are You Doing to Protect Your Marriage)

Are you saying this to the ones you love?  Have you said it to the One who loved you first?

It’s not about that little thing; it’s about the relationship.

So  what’s keeping you from saying “I’m sorry?”

Politics?  Pride?  Contempt?

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

Say it when you have everything to lose.  Say it when you have nothing to lose.

In either case, you have everything to gain.

secret to success


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About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

3 Replies

  1. Jason, you’ve got the key to saving the marriage. More importantly, you’ve got the key to saving the most important relationship you’ll ever have! The one you have with Him.

  2. This is excellent. So simple, and something I think that most of us know yet somehow fail to implement. (I have found myself in the hole many a time!) You have worded it succinctly and keep it focused on the main thing–relationship. Very well done, Jason!

    1. Thanks, Rebeca. Glad it connected.