Take the Stairs: The path to true success

I’d like to introduce you to Rory Vaden, who has been a friend of mine for many years. He has a novel area of study—he is the world’s only Self-Discipline Strategist.  His first book, Take the Stairs, just released this week, reached the #1 ranking in all categories on Amazon.com as well as Barnes & Noble, and just yesterday, he’s #1 on the USA Today list and #2 on the famed NY Times list.  Rory sent me a review copy of his book, which I really enjoyed, as we somewhat play in the same sandbox (my book Leave the Office Earlier, had an entire chapter called “Discipline”).

I recently connected with him to expand on some of the most interesting concepts presented in the book. 

Laura: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing business today?

 Rory: Procrastination is the most expensive invisible cost in business today. In our research for the book we found a study of 10,000 US employees who were anonymously surveyed and asked the question “in a given 40 hour work week how much time do you spend while on the job on ‘non-job related activities?” The average person self-admitted to wasting 2.09 hours each day! Then we went to the US Department of Labor Bureau of statistics and found that the average American earns $39,795 per year.  Which means, that if we are procrastinating an average amount our procrastination costs employers $10,396 per year, per employee! If we are in sales or we’re a small business owner then that is what it’s costing us. Except no one ever thinks of procrastination as a cost because it doesn’t show up on our P and L or in our checkbook register.

Laura: One of my favorite things in your book is the concept of creative avoidance. What is that and how do we watch out for it? 

Rory: Creative Avoidance is a new and much more pervasive form of procrastination that is subtly different. Procrastination is consciously choosing not to do something that we know we should be doing. But what most professionals are really struggling from today is unconsciously filling the day with menial work or trivial work where they can be working long hours, in lots of meetings, answering lots of emails but really they are nothing more than busy just being busy.  Distraction is a dangerously deceptive saboteur of our goals. It’s amazing how much time we lose to mindless minutiae that really doesn’t forward our progress to completing anything substantial. One of the key strategies presented in the book is learning how to ignore the small stuff temporarily so you can focus in on the big stuff. The book also works hard to empirically quantify some of the impacts of the various forms of procrastination which helps readers ultimately realize that anything that wastes our time is a waste of our money.

Laura: I’ve heard you mention that there is a perpetual enemy we face in our life that is working against us from taking action. Can you introduce that to us and share with us what the remedy is?

Rory: The Law of Diminishing Intent simply states, “our intention to take action is highest the moment we create that intention but then naturally, over time, that intention slowly starts to fade. Which explains why when you go to the gym on January 5th it is packed and when you go on March 5th it is empty. But most people don’t take action even in those few moments when they are inspired and see a dream for their own life that they want. They never even get started.  I wrestled a long time with the questions “Does that mean they’re bad people? That they just don’t have integrity? That they simply don’t have the will power? Do they not care about success? Do they not care about letting people down? Or is success just not written in the stars for them?” Until I finally realized that “No!” that’s not at all what it means – in fact it’s just the opposite. The reason most people don’t take action is because they care so much about success that they just want to wait to get started until they have the perfect time, the perfect set of resources, the perfect amount of money, etc. What they don’t realize is that perfect time never comes and with each moment that they don’t take action, the likelihood that they ever will decreases exponentially. The strategy is to learn to focus relentlessly on progress meanwhile completely freeing yourself of the demand for perfection.

 Laura: Tell us about your “Take the Stairs tour.” What is it all about?

Rory: We decided with all of the momentum of this book that we should do something more productive then just go around to bookstores and beg 3 friends to come out to get their book signed. So instead we are taking a tour bus across the country to 20 states between Feb 20 and Mar 20 to support Youth Character Education. We are hosting 2.5 hr FREE events in every city where members of the community come to a live event at a local venue (high school auditorium, college, church, etc) WITH their teenagers and I teach all 7 strategies of self-discipline and the Take the Stairs mindset. We then collect a $10 suggested donation at the door and give 100% of the money we raise that night right back to that local school district foundation or some other local youth charity that supports character education. Our plan is to hopefully raise at least $10,000 at each event and over $250k total for the whole tour. Anyone can register; it’s absolutely free (other than the suggested donation), and we are inviting people to come with their teenagers (8th grade and up) so they can do something fun together as a family and learn about the importance of self-discipline together. The complete list of tour locations where they can register and all of the information is available at www.takethestairstour.com

 Anyone wanting to buy the book can do so at www.buytakethestairs.com .

 Rory is a great friend, and I’ve admired his work for many years. No one is better in the field of self-discipline. Rory has taken it to a whole new level with Take the Stairs!

Rory is giving away 4 big bonuses for the first 2000 people who buy the book at www.buytakethestairs.com, so check it out today!



  1. Thanks a lot! Very actual theme for me. As addition recommend to read the article “Training self-discipline” – http://manprogress.com/en/methods/training-self-discipline.html