What separates a homeless person from an ultra successful CEO? Why is your girl friend or wife acting a certain way? Why despite your greatest efforts are you failing?
The answer to all of the above is we are all seeking to be valuable. How valuable you become to both yourself or society is based on your personal discrimination of value. Value is not restricted to simply money, it can be fame, power, or the greater good. Even the greatest act of charity is a selfish act, because you wish to make the world better for yourself in order to increase your value.
Even the person who appears to do nothing, watches TV all day, and by everyone’s standards is a complete failure is in a process of attempting to increase their value. In the case of what appears to be complete failure, it is because their discrimination of value is so skewed that they believe their incorrect choices are the ones capable of bringing them the most value. For instance when faced with watching TV or doing work, a person might choose to watch TV because they believe the happiness they will derive from that is far greater then the happiness they will get from doing work, the value proposition is incorrect in most cases because doing work could lead to more freedom down the road which in turn would lead to more value then simply watching TV.
To determine why anyone does anything you must first figure out what a person finds value in or the immediate value they are seeking. This can often be a complex and daunting task, but sometimes it is very simple. In fact the more incorrect the discrimination of value is, the easier it is to determine. The reason for this is that failure is more common then success, and success requires one to change their discrimination of value regularly based on changing circumstances. So what a successful person will be doing tomorrow is much less predictable then what a failure will be doing tomorrow.
Having spent time with very successful people, the common trait I have discovered among them all is that they change regularly. The world is constantly changing, and the choices they make to bring value to themselves change regularly. It doesn’t stop at business decisions, they will even modify their ideals of how the world functions in order to be successful. If you’re having a hard time bringing value to yourself it is because what ever you believe had value no longer does. The horse whip maker who continued to make horse whips after the car came out would of eventually lost all their value if they decided to be immovable in their value discrimination.