The well-known secret sauce of success

Make others happy and leverage your success.

Joe Martin
Jun 23, 2015 · 6 min read

For more than twenty years, I have been searching and researching the forces that move people. What makes someone do something? What motivates them? Why is one person active and propellant, and others are undetermined and downright depressed?

What makes people successful? What even is success? Contrary to what many people believe, it has nothing to do with being rich or powerful. Granted, sometimes wealth, commercial success, and/or power are by-products of true success, but they are not at the core of its definition. In fact, many people who have achieved professional success or immense wealth still don’t feel it is good enough. Would you consider that state of being successful? I wouldn’t.

So, again, what is success? Success is defined as the state of being happy. Yes, that’s right, happy.

And how do we achieve this if commercial gain is not at its core? Throughout my life, I have striven to find out, and after many years of searching I finally found what I now call “the secret sauce of success.”

I know what you’re thinking:

Can there really be just one factor that determines whether I will be successful or not?

Yeah right! It may sound strange, but don’t be too quick to dismiss this! I originally stumbled across the secret sauce of success while I was searching for the key to commercial success. Looking around, I was confronted with people who were totally depressed. These people weren’t jobless or homeless as you would suspect. In fact, the most troubling thing was that some of the most depressed people I met were super successful businessmen. These were not people on their way toward rock bottom, but people skyrocketing toward the top!

The problem was they were missing something. The absence of this secret sauce made them strive towards the summits just to gain this one thing: the secret sauce. They found many things on the way to the top, but not the thing they needed most.

In my research, I found a wide range of people whose lives had been seasoned with this secret sauce in just as many measures. In the middle, were the people who had already found success: They were happy with their everyday lives, because it had been seasoned with the right amount of this particular sauce, typically, from an early age. As long as the sauce kept flowing and spicing up their lives, they stayed on top and remained content with their own definition of happiness. Of course, there could always be a bit more here and there; some extra bucks for a bigger house. It would be nice, but hey, they’ll make due without it, too. All in all they were happy.

And then I found the people who didn’t have this sauce in their lives. Most of them didn’t even know that it was missing because they had never tasted it. Maybe a little, but not enough for them to really see how significant it can be.

Strangely enough, the ones who had it and who were happy were as equally unaware of its presence and significance. The happy people, however, had the advantage that they had been comforted by this sauce all their lives. It was and is an ingredient which just was there. They had had an endless supply and this secret sauce was therefore so omnipresent as to be virtually invisible.

So, this means that the secret sauce’s presence and its effects operate mainly on a subconscious level. Regardless of whether our lives have been flavored with it or not, we don’t typically perceive it on a conscious level as much as we should. That goes for happy people as well as for the others. For the ‘others‘ (those either at the bottom or the top), there are two ways their lives typically develop.

Let’s focus a bit on the bottom of the scale first: They have only rarely had the sauce, if ever, and eagerly try to get it. Their model is to produce a lot of this well-known secret sauce and give it to other people with the great hope of getting some back.

Sometimes that works very well, but not in business. Not at all. The reason is that typically successful businesses are run by the people at the top of the scale, but more to that a bit later.

The people at the lower end of the scale dish out sauce until they have created a whole pool of sauce. Others and themselves can swim in it and enjoy great talks, enjoyable meetings, and a general positive attitude towards life, but this only works until they demand something. Perhaps this person tries to sell something or wants to close a deal. When around this person, people are generally used to basking in the sweet tasty flavor of the secret sauce, but suddenly, this person has exchanged it for something bitter. Suddenly their demand, whether a delegation or a request for help or payment will come as an unexpected surprise. This sudden and unexpected change makes something nominally bitter taste very bitter. In the end, they lose. They lose almost everything they had build.

And then there are the people on the upper end of the chart. I don’t want to define them too much here, but there is one word, which has been often used to describe them: Psychopaths.

In search for the secret sauce, they are willing to use any means they can find to get it. They don’t know this is what they are searching for because they have never had the secret sauce before. They also don’t know that the way they operate will not give them what they subconsciously demand. They just do it.

They do it at the cost of others. The happy people in the middle of the scale won’t stay long in their proximity. People at the bottom of the scale, however, often stay and suffer. In the end they lose.

I am not just disclosing the nature or the name of this well-known secret sauce here. I am writing a book about it!

I am writing a whole book about it!

However, I am open for input and suggestions. I am also open for a little quiz. What do you think it is? What is this well-known secret sauce? I will give you a hint: it is not a sauce you put on your spaghetti or your pizza. Nor can you use it to lubricate a machine or fuel a rocket. It doesn’t even have a physical value. It’s all in our mind and soul. It’s an intangible sauce, but it’s the most powerful sauce of mankind. Oh, and before you name any religions I can tell you, it’s not that either.

I am awaiting your guesses and look forward sharing with you the well known secret sauce of success. Send them to

For now I hereby claim title copyright for: ‘The well-known secret sauce of success” and ‘The secret sauce of success.”

If you found value in this, it would be tremendous if you scrolled down a little further and clicked the “Recommend” button.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store