The Ugly Duckling Theory


As kids growing up, I think we all heard the story of the ugly duckling. Nine ducklings were born, with eight of them being beautiful, fluffy, and yellow. The last one was born white and without much fluff, so all the other ducklings made fun of the one ugly duckling. The ugly duckling felt left out, ostracized, and ended up trying to find ways to fit in with his brothers and sisters. As time went on, the ugly duckling almost gave up hope. One day, while looking at his reflection in the water and he noticed that he was not a fluffy yellow duck, but a beautiful white swan. He went and found the other swans, and they flew away together and lived happily ever after.

Similar to that ugly duckling, if you aren’t a natural networker and feel like you don’t belong, you can still become one.  In fact, you can become one of the best.  The fact that you don’t feel like a networker can help you to understand the average person’s fear more than someone who has always been fearless and charismatic.  There are obvious strengths and weaknesses to every skill that we have, but a lot of that comes from your perspective.  You will be able to relate better based on your experience.  You can turn your weaknesses into strengths.  You can always use your so called “weaknesses” as an advantage. It all depends on your perspective and what you do with your unique strengths.


I’m sure you’ve heard the question, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” One answer could be that it is half empty. A second answer could be that it is half full. A third answer, and my personal favorite, is that it is completely full because it is half water and half air. Your perspective is everything. You can become what you want to become if you believe in yourself and are willing to work hard.  This article will help you


While growing up, a young man was shy.  He refused to go to his neighbor’s house without his younger brother Mike.  At the age of 10, although he had played baseball for years, he refused to swing the bat due to fear.  This kid wouldn’t even swing the bat once!!!!  As he grew older, his confidence grew slowly until his siblings passed him in height. His 12 year old brother Mike and 10 year old sister Tiffany were both taller than this 14 year old kid, and that really hurt his confidence.  Finally, high school came and his confidence grew in different areas.  His local church leader begged this young man from the age of 15 to the age of 17 to speak at church.  The church leader even showed up at this young man’s house to personally plead with him to speak at church.  It was taboo to refuse to speak, especially when your church leader shows up at your house.  Even though this young man’s confidence had grown in so many different areas. He still said no.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, this young man is me.  I was the shyest kid around.  I was quiet and reserved.  I am still that way.  I am not a different person, just a better version of me.  For most people, networking is a learned behavior.  The myth that you are either a born networker or not is truly a load of crap.

When I started network marketing in 2008, I had by that time become a great networker, but I was an awful presenter. Each industry requires different skills. In network marketing I felt I needed to become at least a decent presenter.  I was great at getting people to come look at the products or opportunity, but I was so soft spoken that I couldn’t present anything in front of a group of people very well.  Understanding that, I knew I had to practice to become great at presenting.  Just as networking was a learned skill, I knew that presenting would be one as well.


E.M Grey spent much of his life studying what makes one successful.  In his essay The Common Denominator of Success, he sums up what the secret of success is.

“The secret of success of every man who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”

As uncomfortable as it was, I requested to speak at every meeting, even if it was just for a few minutes.  Each time, I would ask everyone I could where I could improve.  It wasn’t comfortable.  I didn’t love doing it.  It went against my nature, but I knew that if I wanted to have success, I had to leave my comfort zone.


One of the most profound insights I have learned from studying all of the greats is that each one of them possess the ability to learn how to learn.  I don’t know if there is any greater ability.  No one person is naturally the best at anything without deliberate practice.  In order to become great at anything, it takes time, and usually lots of it.

With that time comes learning.  All of the greats, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Elon Musk, have this uncanny ability to learn.  Knowing this gives me hope that where I am weak, I can become strong.  You can become great at anything that doesn’t require a physical skill. I leave physical out it because I can’t give someone more height and certain people will never be able to jump out of a gym like Michael Jordan did.  Of course, everyone can improve their physical abilities and push the limits of their own bodies, but anyone can be great at anything that doesn’t require physical ability.  All you need is the ability to learn, and then deliberate practice.

Your weaknesses can become strengths
Greatness is learned
The ability to learn is a MUST
Be willing to do whatever it takes even when it is uncomfortable

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