A Question From the Late Great Johnny Carson – Are You Ready for Success?


In 1975, he was the highest paid entertainer in the world.

But Johnny Carson didn’t believe in hording his wealth, choosing to give up to $2 million a year to charity.

Carson was the king of late night TV for 30 years and during all that time, he learned a thing or two about what it really takes to be successful, and what success really means.

Talent alone won’t make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time. The most important question is: ‘Are you ready?’

I love this quote from Johnny because it goes against everything we hear: that we need to have talent and good timing. But no, what we really need is to be ready for success. Are you ready to do the things you need to do to get where you want to be? Are you mentally prepared to be successful? Most people are not, despite what they say.

If life were fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.

As we embark on this journey called life, we cannot help notice injustices. Why do mean-spirited people do well while kind people do poorly? The truth is, the world is neither fair nor unfair. It’s indifferent. The secret to success, according to Johnny, is not to complain or lament the way things are, but to take control of the one thing you can control – you.

People will pay more to be entertained than educated.

Johnny was amazed how much money people spent in clubs and movies. Today, we do the same with our iPads, phones and computers. Imagine if even a portion of what the world spends on entertainment was transferred elsewhere – to fighting poverty, education and research. What world would we have then? Success is defined today by far more than just money, and often, money has nothing to do with it. Success is really about what kind of person you are.

The only thing money gives you is the freedom of not worrying about money.

He had a net worth of $300 million but Johnny Carson said none of that money made him happy. It stopped him from worrying about money, and that was it. Money won’t buy us peace, joy, good health or a life well lived. All of the things people really want come from sharing their love with others. The ultimate success is a loving life.

Johnny Carson originally wanted to be a magician.

Instead, he would move on to become the world’s greatest TV talk show host – a job he almost turned down. When first offered the position of hosting The Tonight Show, Johnny said no because he couldn’t imagine interviewing people for as long as an hour and a half.

Even after he reluctantly agreed to take on the job, Johnny had serious doubts. Fear and a lack of confidence resulted in a shaky first year. But Carson then did what is perhaps the single biggest path to success: preparation.

He prepared for every show, even reading all of the books by authors he interviewed.

Success. Are you ready for it?

The funniest moments on The Tonight Show were between Johnny and animals:

Johnny Carson was a class act. But he could also go too far in his comedy, making fun of people. Singer Wayne Newton once burst into Johnny’s office and threatened to beat him if the jokes did not stop. They did. Actor Raymond Burr, tired of Johnny’s fat jokes, refused to appear on Johnny’s show.

© 2016 Cory Robert Galbraith, All Rights Reserved.

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