Robin Sieger at SBE: Success principles with a touch of comedy

Robin Sieger, bestselling author of Natural Born Winners, created a stir in Maastricht on 24 September when his talk about how to be successful drew a crowd of more than 800 people.

“I am not here to motivate you to finish your ongoing projects,” Sieger began. He had been invited by the Ambassador Lecture Series, Maastricht University, in cooperation with the Maastricht School of Management, and was greeted by an audience comprised of students, professionals and future entrepreneurs eager to hear his vision for success.

He not only filled the 550 seats of SBE’s lecture hall, but 300 more people stood outside, hoping to get in, and 428 others streamed the event.

“What I will do tonight is share some thoughts on how to be successful,” Sieger told the crowd. “I have been developing these ideas for the past 30 years, and they keep fascinating me to this day.”

Robin Sieger sharing "30 years of fascinating ideas."

Robin Sieger sharing “30 years of fascinating ideas.”

A natural born winner
Sieger, who is originally from Scotland, began his career by fulfilling his childhood ambition of becoming a successful comedian. He appeared regularly on the radio and had his own television show. This background echoes in Sieger’s style of speaking, which is somewhere between a lecture and stand-up routine.

He infused guidelines on how to become successful in life with amusing anecdotes, funny pictures and jokes. As well as being very witty, his points were clear and relevant to the audience, which hung on every word he said.

After being diagnosed with cancer at just 29, Sieger realized that success is not a matter of luck. “This is only something that failures say,” he said. “Luck is a matter of design, and you can all make it happen.”

Being completely recovered from his disease, Sieger did make it happen. His ideas have now been translated into several books, including Natural Born Winners, which has been called as a blueprint for success. It has been sold in over 80 countries, translated in 18 languages and also turned into a number-one rated BBC television series.

An amused audience enjoys Sieger's comedic delivery.

An amused audience enjoys Sieger’s comedic delivery.

Principles for success
Why are rich people rich? Why are successful people successful? Why are happy people happy? Why am I none of those?”

According to Sieger, the answers lie in principles of mental conditioning, attitude and self-belief. But what is success? “We often associate success with the attainment of money, fame or freedom,” Sieger explained. “But life and history have demonstrated that people have been rich and famous, yet not personally successful.”

He went on to define his terms. “Success, I believe, should be defined as a realization of our goals. At both a personal and professional level. Success is a feeling that comes from achieving what we set out to do. Wealth, fame and happiness are the byproducts of success, not the ends in themselves.”

Hence, the first principle: define your goals. Success starts with having a clear idea of where you want to go. Second, you need a plan to get you there, but also an unshakable belief that you can make it happen. Furthermore, it is crucial not to be afraid of failure. Purpose, passion, motivation and commitment on the other hand are crucial when it comes to being successful. “And when you do reach your goals, make sure to celebrate it,” Sieger added.

Surround yourself with successful people
An audience member asked Sieger how best to deal with negativity from others—especially friends who can be negative about certain ambitions. “That’s quite simple,” Sieger replied. “Get new friends.”

He explained there are two types of people you can encounter: people who are going to lift you up, and people who will bring you down. “Just surround yourself with the first type,” Sieger answered. “You can even see when you look around that successful people are mostly associated with others who are successful. So make sure to pick your company very carefully.”

Sieger signs copies of his book at the event.

Sieger signs copies of his book at the event.