What Screwtape taught me about Success

July 15, 2010  |  Posted by   |  Tags: Letters  |  2 Comments

The author C.S. Lewis, best known for his timeless classic The Chronicles of Narnia, wrote a remarkable little satire in 1942 called The Screwtape Letters (great name huh?). The book is formed by a series of letters from high-ranking demon named Screwtape, to his young nephew Wormwood, a junior demon, about how to properly and successfully tempt the “Patient” (human beings in this case).

Despite what seems like a rather dark undertone (after all it’s demons we’re talking about here), Lewis spurs great heights of humor with each page, and presents some incredibly enduring and poignant insights about human life.

In one of the latter letters, Screwtape describes to Wormwood the inner workings of man very interestingly. Says Screwtape: “Think of your man as a series of concentric circles, his will being the innermost, his intellect coming next, and finally his fantasy….(what) you must (do) is keep on shoving all the virtues outward, till they are finally located in the circle of fantasy.”

Will. Intellect. Fantasy.

I should say it’s not my intention now, nor in the future, to lecture about what is or isn’t virtuous. That is obviously and absolutely not my place.

However, I do think this passage spotlights an important point for entrepreneurs, or anyone for that matter, which is: whatever we want to achieve, whether that’s a more virtuous existence, business or individual goals, the PURSUIT MUST BEGIN INTERNALLY, WITH OUR WILL.

  • Will: We already know we are more likely to achieve something we are passionate about. We have a different level of energy and motivation. We CARE more. This is the station we should be pulling our 18 wheelers full of goals into for fueling. This is where our goals become habits.
  • Intellect: Almost inevitably, when we are confronted with a situation that is difficult, frightening or uncomfortable, we begin to over-analyze the issue. We intellectualize the situation into the ground and only end up sort of mentally chasing our own tail into exhaustion. Now, this is not to say our intellect isn’t a big part of our problem solving strategy, because it is. But…we have to know when call on our intuition and trust ourselves for that last bit of guidance.
  • Fantasy: The final frontier. We all know too many people who perpetually live in this space. This place is littered with sentences that begin with stuff like: “I hope to one day-”…” It would be nice if-”… “If only I could (blank)”… The challenge for entrepreneurs is to keep our goals out of this realm. This is a realm of INACTION. Where “hoping” and “wishing” instead of DOING reign supreme.

Nevertheless, we live in a world where there’s always someone trying to tell us or sell us, usually both, that their way is the right way, the only way, the best way, the fastest way.

Advice is a wonderful thing, and the most successful people I know are always the most willing students, but at the end of the day, I think it’s important to remember that any real growth, any lasting sustainable change, always comes from within.

All my best,

Jay Kubassek

CEO and Chief Marketing Officer
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Jay Kubassek is the CEO of PRO U as well as a professional speaker and trainer, Baja off-road racer, member of the New York Blue Elephant Polo team, self-taught cellist, amateur photographer, amateur chef and indie film producer. Jay went from farm-hand to selling mufflers at a Kansas City Midas shop to serial entrepreneur. What he is best known for is opening the eyes and minds of people around the world to the possibility of being an entrepreneur by teaching the exact principles he was taught by his mentors.

2 Comments so far.

  1. Matthew says:

    Hey Jay!
    Have you read anything else by Lewis? He has an amazing work entitled “Mere Christianity” that really tackles what goes on inside of us on a much deeper level. Lewis is an amazing writer and I am happy to see that you have taken a liking to his work.

    Matthew Hamel

  2. Lewis says:

    Hi Jay, When I was a young man I read the Screwtape letters and thoroughly enjoyed every page. What you say about our state is true indeed. Most MLM’ers including myself, are taught ‘don’t let anyone steal your dream’. We are told to look at big houses and fancy cars and think about our dreams all the time. We end up developing dreams that aren’t even our own. We bake this ‘pie in the sky’ but we are unwilling to lift our forks and do the work necessary to eat of it. We skipm from one MLM to another thinking this is gonna be the one that works. We are left empty over and over again because the old way of marketing is so difficult and so ineffective.
    I recently joined another marketing system prior to learning of CarbonCopyPro. I’ve got to stick with it and make it work rather than skip around again. I’m learning that having a system certainly is important but putting any system into practice is vital. I’ve got to be the one to make it happen or it just won’t work no matter what system I use.
    Thanks Jay for all the free stuff on your sight. I will certainly take advantage of it all. I am going to stay focused on my prior commitment for now but if you integrate with Vollara(I’ve heard rumors) I will consider the move over too. Thanks again and much success to you and all of your team,
    Lewis Buckles

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