It’s the Difference That Makes the Difference

Here ‘s a challenge for you…

I want you to tell someone about something you did recently, like going to a movie for instance, and I want you to convince them to do what you did.

Oh yeah, there’s a few catches…

  1. You can’t force them physically.
  2. You can only use words.
  3. And speaking of words, you can only use words as they are listed in the dictionary, in the order they are listed and starting with the first word.

Other than that you can use as many or all of the words in the dictionary as you’d like to make your point to the person you are wanting to persuade.

So let me ask you, what do you think your chance of success would be in getting that person to do what you want them to do… or even understand you… or even stand anywhere near you?

Ahh… who are we kidding… it’s zero.

Because you’d be talking nonsense.

Now… imagine you could use any words you wanted in whatever order you wanted as long as they were real words found in the dictionary.

Think your chances of success would improve?

Of course!

Same available words yet the difference in order or application of those words will create a much different result.

The difference makes the difference.

In other words, it’s not just the words you use, it’s the order in which you use the words.

Let me give you another example I heard from Tony Robbins:

Sentence 1) The dog bit Johnny.

Sentence 2) Johnny bit the dog.

Take a look at the above.

Exactly the same four words; completely different meaning.

Can you see it?

The difference in the way the same words are different is the difference that makes the difference.

Pretty cool, right?

Here’s another example not using words…

The big picture of the compass above popped into my head as I was writing this.


Because when I was in the Army back in the early 90’s (before GPS was a common tool), one of the things we trained for was land navigation. We’d get a paper map of the area, a compass and one coordinate.

With those 3 tools we’d be sent on our way for a 2-3 hour hike in the woods… maybe longer.

You see, if we read the map correctly and lined the compass up correctly and counted our paces correctly then we’d find a little red stake out in the middle of nowhere that had our second coordinate on it. (Think of it as a very boring scavenger hunt.)

Do that 4-5 times and we’re back in 2-3 hours depending on the course.

Screw up the orientation of the map, how we read the compass or miscount our paces and we’d be in for a very long day — often 8-10 hours, or 3x the time, for the same result if we got the result at all.

Anyway, I was always amazed at how the same map, compass and coordinates could lead people to very different places.

Same tools, same circumstances, very different results.

The difference between success and failure was 100% based on the difference in how the tools were used by the people using the tools.

Let that sink in…

The difference that made the difference was not the tools or the circumstances. The difference that made the difference was how I used the tools.

So next time you are tempted to blame the tools, the circumstances or whatever… slow down and see if there is a different way to approach whatever it is you are up to so that you can get a different result.

Look for the difference that makes all the difference.

It’s usually there if you’re willing to see it.

In your corner,







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Will Marler - Tuesday

Good article Sean.

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