Find out whether the barriers to your success are skill or commitment-based.

If you’ve ever watched me speak on stage or listened to one of my radio shows, then you’ve heard me speak about one of the most influential men in my life: Matt Smith.

Jokingly referred to as The Most Mysterious Man in The World, Matt is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with a history many entrepreneurs and executives dream of.

He’s lived “off the grid” in Argentina, run a $250 million business, and developed a deep understanding of ancient philosophy, all while being a well read, highly respected, and devoted family man, …

He’s constantly setting new and interesting goals, and achieving them.

What’s his secret?

How does Matt overcome the struggles that we all face when pursuing a goal?

It took me years to learn this, but it comes down to a simple analysis framework.

When Matt is pursuing a goal and failing to see success, he asks himself a simple question:

“Is this a skill issue, or a commitment issue?”

With people like Matt, you, and me, it’s rarely a commitment issue. Sure, sometimes we realize that the goal we picked is no longer aligned with our life. But that’s rare.

When we get stuck, it’s normally a skill issue.

Recognizing the correct answer to this question is half the battle in becoming the most successful version of yourself. You know that you deserve to have success – now you just need to figure out what skills you need to solve the problem.

And that’s what successful people do differently. They constantly seek out and acquire new skills, tools, and systems that enable them to reach their goals.

Why You Should Never Stop Learning New Skills

As an Early To Rise reader, it’s clear that you’re ambitious and want more from your life. I think that’s fantastic.

What you may not realize, though, is that attitude or mindset isn’t the thing holding you back.

It’s that you don’t know what to do – or when to do it – to achieve your goals.

Luckily, you don’t have to figure this out for yourself. Every problem we face today has been solved by someone else before us.

I found this out while studying the top 1% of high performers.

They don’t focus on coming up with new and creative methods for achieving their goals. Instead they focus on leveraging what other successful people have proven to work.

The more you learn the skills and systems of successful people, the more leverage you have in pursuing your own goals — and the less likely you are to run into a barrier that stops you from achieving them.

How To Use Skill Vs Commitment

Let’s jump back to Matt Smith.

Over the last 20 years he has run a dozen companies, traveled the world, and been involved in growing industry defining organizations. He’s done this all without limiting his role as a father to his two kids.

Again, he’s been so successful at achieving his goals because he identifies the skills he is lacking, and then goes and gets them.

(This is why his personal office has literally hundreds of books in it.)

And now you can follow in his steps and use his system, too.

Here’s how:

  1. On a piece of paper, write out a goal you have in your life right now but have not yet achieved. It might be “get home earlier from work,” “increase my salary by 15%,” “lose 20lbs,” or even “spend more time with my wife.”
  2. From this goal, draw one line to the left labeled “skill.” To the right, draw another line labeled “commitment.”
  3. Ask yourself “What does it look like when I am fully committed to this goal?”, and write the answers around the commitment line.
  4. Now, ask yourself “What challenges am I facing in this goal, and what skills do I need to develop to overcome them?” Write your answers around the skill line.
  5. With everything on the page in front of you, look at what you’ve written. Have you not succeeded at your goal yet because of a skill issue, or a commitment issue? And based on your answer, what needs to change?

This simple exercise takes about 5 minutes.

By doing this you can identify what skills and systems you need to learn so that you can finally achieve your goal.

And once you’ve identified these skills and systems, you can focus on finding people to learn them from.

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at

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