In personal develop there’s a lot of promotion around “secrets.” That was once true in the martial arts community as well. A few months ago I read an interesting article by a martial artist who was born in China and immigrated to the U.S. In this article he said that the word “secret” was poorly translated by martial artists in the West. In martial arts we practice “forms.” These are sequences of choreographed movements resembling dances; in fact they’re sometimes called the martial dances. These forms often contain a series of self-defense techniques, although these techniques are not always obvious to the non-practitioner. Through training and with the guidance of an instructor, a martial artist can learn to unlock the “secrets” of the form and use these movements in self-defense. That writer said that in the West, we translated these movements as “secrets” as they were not obvious to the untrained eye. His further explained that a better translation would have been “applications.” The same is true in personal development. We can make a lot of money by selling the “secrets” of successful people, the “secrets” to attaining wealth, health and happiness. It would be more accurate to say that we’re offering instruction in the “application” of techniques that successful people use. With a little training in martial arts, you can easily learn to “read” a form. Once you’ve learned how to read a form, you can learn the techniques contained in that form. The form then becomes a living textbook of useful techniques, packaged in a portable format that can be taken anywhere and shared with others. A self-improvement book or video works the same way. Once you understand how successful people do what they do, you can take those techniques with you and apply those “secrets” to create your own success and happiness. In a martial arts form, watching someone else do a form may be educational and inspirational, but the real learning comes from doing the form. Once again, the same is true in personal development. A book, video or speaker may educate and inspire, but the real work begins when you finish the book or leave the seminar. You’ve got to make your success a reality. There are no “secrets” to success; this information is readily available. To learn the “applications” you’ve got to study and practice.