By Noah St. John, Author of The Secret Code of Success

The new car, the big house, a million dollars. Once you have all those things, then you’ll be happy. Right?

You sure?

Remember that last possession you just “had” to have? It’s probably sitting in your home or garage somewhere. And maybe you use it every day. Or, maybe it’s been a while…

Traditional success teachers have told us for decades, “Think about all the money you’re going to make! Think about the new car! Think about how rich you’ll be!,” and so on.

They told us to visualize the things we want, and told us that would motivate us to take action to get them. That’s fine, but the simple question remains: why that didn’t work for most of us?

It’s because we human beings think we want things. But really, it’s experiences we want.
We don’t want the Ferrari; we want the feeling of specialness and importance we think the Ferrari will give us. It’s not the mansion or yacht; it’s the feeling of being rich.

Sure, we all want the finer things like cars, houses and our own island in the Caribbean. But after working with tens of thousands of people in my seminars and interviewing scores of multi-millionaire mega-successes, I have found, ironically, that the two essential experiences we human beings want are Significance and Contribution.

We want to feel significant to other people, and we want the feeling that we made a difference. Sure, we want a million dollars, and there’s nothing wrong with having lots of money. But each of my multi-millionaire friends has told me, without fail, that after the cars, the vacations and private jets, they kept asking themselves: “Is this all there is? What significance do I have? Have I really made a difference on this Earth?”

Traditional success teachers focused a great deal of energy telling you that you have to “work yourself into a white heat” over money. While there’s nothing wrong with having lots of money, experience has shown that people who put money before people tend to run into trouble. (Where do you think our current financial crisis came from?)

Here are four “A’s” to put people and experiences before things:

1. Acknowledge.

Why is Acknowledge the first A? Because human beings are starving for attention, appreciation, and acknowledgement. Research has shown that people will do more for acknowledgement than for money. We think we want money (and we do); but many people are shackled by “the golden handcuffs” – being “stuck” in high-paying, low-fulfilling jobs.

There are dozens of ways to Acknowledge the people in your life, at work and at home. What it really comes down to, though, is YOUR WILLINGNESS to do so. That’s because every one of us is wearing an invisible sign that says, “Please make me feel important.” The problem is, YOU have that sign too! That’s whyeveryone is waiting for someone else to make them feel important first, before they’re willing to do it for others.

2. Ask.

Do you find it difficult to ask the people in your life for support? When I ask my seminar audiences that question, more than 70% say yes.

What causes the fear of asking? It’s really the fear of rejection wearing a nice suit. “What if other person says no… what if they laugh at me?”

Yeah, what if they say no? You already don’t have the thing. So if they say no, you’re no worse off than before.

Many teachers talk about important it is to be persistent. But the point they missed is that persistence is a behavior. You can’t change behavior at the level of behavior. Therefore, in order to create the behavior of persistence and gain the courage to Ask, you must understand the Value you bring to others.

3. Accept.

Ironically, to acceptsupport is actually a higher level than to ask – and I’ll prove it to you.
Think about a time when you had a birthday, anniversary or holiday where you received gifts. Have you ever received a gift that was better than anything you had asked for? When I ask this in my seminars, nearly every hand goes up.

That’s why to Accept support really is a higher level than to Ask for it. You can ask for something, and still not let yourself receive it. Conversely, you can not ask for something and get it anyway. However, many people have a hard time accepting support, love, and encouragement from others.

Sometimes, you simply have to breathe to let others support you. There’s no big secret to Accepting support, but realize that this might be a big hidden block for you.

4. Accountability.

If you’ve ever worked with a personal trainer, you know she's basically a drill sergeant (hopefully, an encouraging one, but a drill sergeant nonetheless). She’ll say things like, “You can DO this, and you’ve GOT to do it. Let’s go!”

You’re working and sweating, saying, “I can’t do it,” but she's there going, “Yes, you can!”

You: “No, I can’t!”
Her: “Yes, you can!”
You: (pause) “Hey, I did it.”

If you don’t install Accountability in your life, you’re making life harder than it needs to be, because every successful person had at least one person hold them accountable and show them their Value. And that, without their conscious awareness, is precisely what gave them permission to succeed.

Bottom line: if you want to be happy AND rich, focus on people and experiences… and let things take care of themselves.

About the Author

Noah St. John is the author of the new book The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness (HarperCollins).

Jack Canfield calls Noah’s work “the most significant breakthrough in the study of success in decades.”

You can get the first three chapters of Noah's Secret Code Book (free) and connect with other Secret Code readers at

Author's Bio: is a premier wellness site and supportive social network where like-minded individuals can connect and support each others' intentions. Founded by Deepak Chopra's daughter Mallika Chopra, aims to be the most trusted and comprehensive wellness destination featuring a supportive community of members, blogs from top wellness experts and curated online content relating to Personal, Social, Global and Spiritual wellness.