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  • Writer's pictureAJ

Success = Walking on Escalators

I don’t know why this question came to me, but as I was preparing to interview Gary Vaynerchuk several years ago this question came to mind: Do you stand or walk on escalators?

As a daily train commuter to NY City I see lots of escalators and types of riders: the stand in the middle and block everyone behind you rider (hate them), the move to the right so others can pass rider (love them), the stand next to each other and block everyone so they can talk riders (truly inconsiderate), or the move to the right in front of your friend so others can still pass rider (other than the walker, this is the best type of escalator rider out there).

I was wondering if someone as driven as Vaynerchuk valued motion over stillness in aspects other than business. As I suspected, he walks on escalators but with an interesting quirk (see the post from our interview for what that is). In my mind, walking on escalators is leverage, you leverage the already moving stairs to reach your destination even faster. What I see, however, is that most people will stand in a line and wait for the escalator rather than take the empty stairs that are right next to, or just a little farther than, the escalator. Once on the escalator, those same people will just stand. These are not self-starters, they are not people who are driven to succeed.

People who walk on escalators are leveraging the motion of the stairs combined with their effort to get where they’re going faster. In my mind and the minds of other escalator walkers, motion leads to progress. These people will find leverage in other aspects of their lives, in business, in relationships, to have a better, more successful life.

It’s the same with traffic. If I knew I’d get to my destination at the same time, I’d rather drive miles out of my way than sit in traffic. It’s not that I’m getting there any faster, it’s just that I’m moving, I have a sense of progress (and sometimes I do arrive sooner).

The truth is that success is a choice and you’re either moving or you’re standing still. I’d rather keep moving than become stagnant. Escalator walkers of the world, Unite!

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