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Americans spend over 11 billion dollars a year on “self-help” products. But I call it shelf-help — because that’s where most of it goes… on the shelf, along with all the similar products they’ve bought.

If you’re like most of my clients, you’ve spent anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 in the last few years on “shelf-help.” Which raises the question:

Why, with all this time, money, and energy being spent, are so few people living the life they really want?

Like most vexing problems, to answer this question, we must first ask a deeper question:

What Motivates Us?

Here’s the simplest answer I’ve found to that question. (I looked for a simple answer because I’ve learned — and I’m sure you have, too — that simple solutions lead to the best results.)

Picture a balance, like the Scales of Justice in a courtroom.

On one side, imagine you have your Why-To’s — your motives or reasons to do something. On the other side, you have your Why-Not-To’s — your reasons not to do something.

For example, why are you reading this right now? The answer is that you perceive there are more Benefits to reading this than the Cost of doing so.

Your perceived Why-To’s or Benefits of reading this might include:

  • I want to learn what the world’s most successful people do, so I can do that in my own life…
  • So I can stop sabotaging myself…
  • So I can make more money…
  • And finally get my foot off the brake.
  • And this will make me happier, because then I can live the life I’ve always wanted…
  • And quit this job I hate…
  • And take more vacations…
  • And have better relationships…
  • And lose weight…
  • And find the love of my life…
  • And get out of debt…
  • And did I mention I’ll finally get my foot off the brake?

And your Why-Not-To’s or Cost of reading this might include:

  • I have a million other things I could be doing right now.
  • Who is this Noah St. John, and why should I listen to him?
  • What if what he has to say works for everyone else, but not for me?
  • Did I mention all the other things I could be doing right now?

Your mind is like an infinite weighing machine — every moment, your mind is weighing your perceived Benefits against your perceived Cost of doing anything.

Every decision you make is built upon your perceived Why-To’s and Why-Not-To’s:

  • Where you live
  • What you wear
  • What you eat (and how often you eat it)
  • What kind of car you drive
  • What you do for work

In fact, every decision you’ve ever made was based on your Why-To’s and Why-Not-To’s — the reasons you thought you should do something vs. the reasons you thought you shouldn’t do it.

“Okay, Noah,” you’re saying. “But if I’m holding myself back from the success I’m capable of, are you trying to tell me that I don’t want to succeed?”

Well, after working with tens of thousands of people in my coaching programs and courses, I’ve never met one who doesn’t WANT to succeed.

Yet we’ve already seen that millions of people are holding themselves back from the success they’re capable of… even though they’re spending BILLIONS of dollars on “self-help.”

So what’s wrong with this picture?

The Hidden Reason You’re Stuck

Picture an iceberg.

Scientists at Stanford, MIT, and other esteemed institutions have determined that the human mind operates like an iceberg: 10% is visible (above the surface) and 90% is hidden (below the surface).

Let’s call the visible 10% — the part of your mind that makes intentional decisions — your Conscious Mind. And let’s call the hidden 90% your Subconscious Mind.

Your Subconscious is a vast collection of unintentional, habitual thoughts, behaviors, and actions. It’s like a completely dark room. We don’t know what’s in there, because we can’t see it. It’s hidden beneath the surface, like the bottom 90% of an iceberg. And when you can’t see something, it’s awfully hard to change it.

Which brings us back to the question:

Why Are Millions of People Still Stuck… Even AFTER Spending So Much Money on Self-Help Products?

When you put together your Scales of Success — your Why-To’s and your Why-Not-To’s — and your Iceberg of Consciousness, the answer becomes stunningly simple:

Your Why-To’s of Success are held in your Conscious Mind — but your Why-Not-To’s are in your Subconscious Mind.

Everyone wants to succeed — on the Conscious level. Why do you think we’re spending all this time and money trying to be more successful?

But have you ever stopped to think about the Cost of actually allowing yourself to succeed?

I’ve asked this question of thousands of people in my seminars, and the response I get is… dead silence. I can almost hear people’s minds whirring as they say to themselves: “Gee, I never thought of that before…What could be a Cost of allowing myself to succeed?”

When I press my audience members to give examples of their perceived Cost of Success, they come up with things like:

  • It’s going to take too much TIME.
  • I’m too BUSY.
  • I don’t want the extra RESPONSIBILITY.
  • What if my FAMILY doesn’t approve?
  • What if my FRIENDS don’t like me anymore?
  • What if I go for it and LOSE it all?

Did you notice something about these Why-Not-To’s? They are all held in your Subconscious mind. Meaning: No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I’ll hold myself back from success today!”

Nor does anyone say, “I think I’ll buy this book (or go to this seminar or start this coaching program) so I can SABOTAGE my chances of success!”

Everyone wants to succeed — on the Conscious level.

But because your Why-Not-To’s of Success are hidden in your Subconscious, it’s like you’re driving down the road of life…with one foot on the brake.

The fastest way to get your foot off the brake is to see why it’s there in the first place. Here are four ways to do that:

1. List your Why-To’s of Success and your Why-Not-To’s of Success on a piece of paper — the Why-To’s on one side, and the Why-Not-To’s on the other. (If you get stuck on this, here’s a free resource to help you get unstuck.)

2. Calculate your degree of “stuckness.” When you have all your Why-To-s and Why-Not-To’s written down, score each one from 1-10 — with 1 being “This is no big deal” and 10 being “This is a really big deal.” Add up your totals on each side.

3. Share your list with a trusted friend, coach, or mentor. It’s critical to do this, because this person sees you more clearly than you can see yourself and will be able to offer objective.

4. Ask yourself if you’re willing to pay the price of success. The fact is, every solution brings with it a new set of problems. So while it’s true that there is a price to pay when you allow yourself to succeed, only you can decide if going for the success you want is worth it.

I say: Go for it! Because when you give yourself permission to succeed, you become more of Who You Really Are.

[Ed. Note: Noah St. John, Ph.D., is the #1 bestselling author of The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness. (You may have seen Noah on CNN, ABC, NBC, in The Washington Post and PARADE Magazine.) As Jack Canfield says, “Noah’s work represents one of the most significant breakthroughs in the study of success in decades.”

You can get the first 3 chapters of The Secret Code of Success FREE at

You can meet Noah St. John live and in person at Early to Rise’s Info-Marketing Bootcamp this November. Noah is one of the dozen experts we’ve invited to teach budding entrepreneurs how to start and grow an online business. He will show you how to “dump your head trash” and get massive results from every money-making program you’ll ever buy.

We’ve also got experts in every aspect of Internet marketing strategy, including e-mail list building, front-end and back-end products, copywriting, pay-per-click ads, social media, and much, much more..]