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Why Helping Others Is the Real Shortcut to Success

Why Helping Others Is the Real Shortcut to Success

I’m often asked about the biggest lessons I’ve learned on my entrepreneurial journeys and the one I almost feel most compelled to share is this:

If you can stop focusing on what you will get out of your endeavors, and instead start focusing on how others will benefit, you will greatly increase your chances of success and, more importantly, fulfillment.

In fact, when you judge your actions by how they help, you actually can’t fail. Even if the whole gig doesn’t take off in the way you had imagined, I guarantee you’ll have helped at least a few people, and that gives you something money can never buy: meaning.

While our current culture idolizes money and fancy stuff, don’t discount the immense value of meaning and purpose. The knowledge that what you did mattered to people, and that you touched and even changed them in a way that is uniquely yours, nourishes the spirit in a way that cash never can.

This is why I make the time to answer every email, Website comment, and social media message that I get and never ask for or expect anything in return…and this is why I’ve done just that since the beginning of my fitness career, when all I had was one book newly published with no Website, no following, and no connections.

I had no idea if people were really going to resonate with me or my work, but I knew that I could help them get into the best shape of their lives. And, it turns out, people were shocked to learn that I actually cared enough to offer such “no-strings-attached” help.

Some people use purported help as a thinly veiled method of selling more stuff. “That’s a good question! Buy my product to find out how!” the lame “guru” says, instead of taking the extra 20 seconds to type the simple answer.

I have more faith in people, I guess. I figure if I just be as helpful as possible, it’ll come back to me more often than not, even if just in goodwill.

And, ironically, the “give me your money to get an answer” model is horribly inefficient. If someone’s only goal is to sell things, there are much easier and effective ways to go about it that involve no back-and-forth communication with people whatsoever. Witness the many companies advertising and selling what one scammer I know aptly called “pills in a bottle.”

While I’m able to put food on the table thanks to people buying my stuff, I see the financial rewards as secondary to things like this, which I get to read every day:



That’s just cool. I could never get that feeling from buying or showing off stuff. In fact, the only way I could get that from money is by using it to help others (which is why I make regular charitable donations and have been for years now).

So, whether you’re facing the daunting task of starting something new or are stuck in a seemingly impossible position without any clear way out, instead of fretting over your fate, look at how you could possibly use the experience to benefit others. It doesn’t have to be about you all the time.

You might be surprised how calming this shift of viewpoint is and how much can be salvaged from what you thought was a disaster.


What are your thoughts on focusing on helping others? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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Leave a Comment!
  • Spring

    I agree with the sentiments of Brian, the knowledge you have shared with the world through this website and your books is priceless and the way you have presented it is selfless. Thank you Mike, working my way to living my life with the same mentality!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks so much! I really appreciate it. Keep up the good work!

  • Mike Sisco

    This is so true Mike. And I get that genuine feeling from all your posts. Not the “here I am” mentality, but the “there you are” mentality. Thanks for the great content!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thank you Mike! I really like that way of putting it. Mental note made. 🙂

  • Cesar Salazar

    You are a Superman. I consider you as my mentor, and not only for fitness but for life advise as well as seen in this article. You have improved my life in many many aspects and for that I am eternally grateful. Thanks again and keep up the awesome work. You deserve all the success in the world.

    • Michael Matthews

      Wow thanks a lot Cesar. I’m flattered. Keep up the good work. Lots more to come from my end. 🙂

  • Manish Arya

    I have tears in my eyes, i m choked, i just read ur article on bodybuilding.com and now this. Going has been really tough for me in the last 4-5 years and all i could think was to find ways to make money. I hope this article could change my perspective and make me satisfied by helping others. Thanks

    • Michael Matthews

      Wow thanks so much Manish. Let me know how you get on…

  • Manish Arya

    I dont know how u became so matured at such an early age, People want to meet celebrities, i wish i could meet u sometime. Plz let me know if u ever plan to come to india.

    • Michael Matthews

      Wow thanks man. I appreciate the kind words.

  • Jason Thillman

    You rock Mike! I’m still amazed at the number of well written, well thought out and informative articles you publish on a weekly basis without charging a penny. One would think that at least we would have to pay an enormous price for your books but not even that is the case. Pretty much anyone can afford them and get a great bang for his buck! All in all, I really have the feeling that you have your audience’s best interest at heart! Keep up the fantastic work!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thank you Jason! I really like to write and I’m not a greedy person, so it works out. 🙂

      Lots more to come my friend!

  • Em

    Great article and congratulations on your bodybuilding.com piece!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thank you!

  • Nikki

    Brilliant article mike. I’m in the first year of my fitness business and as I’m sure you have experienced I go through periods of worry, self doubt and those “wtf am I doing” moments routinely!

    Having just had a “almost set” client back out – for reasons nothig to do with me I find myself there again! But just read this! I have a little group of clients who I know I’m eloping and I know are benefitting and actually, so what if it’s not 10000000 people right now (or possibly ever) it’s actually a great feeling and I feel just a little calmer!


    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Nikki!

      Yeah I’m going to write an article on “is it worth going on?” question because it’s an interesting obstacle. Honestly I think part of achieving success is just being willing to suffer, haha.

      That’s great. Keep up the good work. 🙂

      • Nikki

        That would be brilliant! I’d be all over that one! I read various entrepreneurial blogs and what not and it’s definitely the running theme and so Ii know I’m not alone ….’m not alone.

        However! Emotions and feelings are the worse and whilst your rational brain knows only too well that you are doing all you can, when you are at the bottom of a bad day lord knows it’s hard to find that courage to carry on! ! !

        Love the books and blogs anyhow…helped me get my guns! Least I have them !


        • Michael Matthews

          Yup some days suck and some are great. Just the way it is.

          Personally I just use my routine as a crutch on the shittier days–I don’t have to LIKE what I’m doing that day, I just have to show up and do it.

  • Ruben L. Dante

    I love your article! Although I do think it varies from industry to industry. I love all your books and greatly relate to a lot of your mentality and train of though, you have a very genuine, to the point bottom line approach. It’s simple and efficient, therefore it is safe to say that your audience can take responsibility and are truly looking for a better way. I’m in entertainment and finance and I get the pleasure of dealing with a different demographic, one that wants everything done for them and will pay to not have to learn anything of think about things (not everyone) but alot of them. Not to mention all the people that don’t want to help themselves as you said “A thousand years ago, someone to lazy to “work” starved to death. Today he get on welfare. But is he alive? I don’t think so” however you have inspired to to start a blog about things I care about that can help others in personal growth, finance, business and fitness (which I would quote you alot if that’s ok) lol right now I just have the layout and skeleton, and a few articles, it’s Rubendante.com let me know if it’s ok to quote you and to what extent lol 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Ruben! I really appreciate it.

      Haha I hear you on the types of people you work with. I’ve met those types. 🙂

      That’s great on your blog! Please do quote away! I’m flattered! 🙂

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