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Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes

Over the years, Mark Amtower has advised thousands of clients about how to successfully win government contracts. 

In his new book, Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes, he has identified the traits that make someone successful in business and life.  He calls these "Amtower's Laws of Business- and Life-Survival - and Success."

He says, "Every day, comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization, or epiphanies, occur to each of us. The difference is a few of us recognize at least some of them for what they are, nuggets in the streams of our lives. Often they will only mean something to you and no one else. This makes it no less valuable."

His ten laws include:

Law 10 - The Law of Tithing
In order to be part of a community, business or social, a person must contribute to the community. There are active and passive ways to contribute, on and off the radar ways a person must contribute - but the higher he goes - or wants to go - in a community - the more visible and active the contribution must be. This does not mean all contributions must be public, but the person has to be an active participant.

Law 9 - The Amtower Uncertainty Principle, or the Law of the Food Chain
The Amtower Uncertainty Principle states that most do not accurately know or define their real market position, their position in the food chain. Some publicly and privately overstate their position in the food chain and their respective momentum, thereby misleading potential friends, employees, employers, partners, prospects, customers - even family. This will inevitably lead to poor delivery on the promises and to the slowing of whatever momentum that person might have, thus deteriorating their market position.

Law 8 - The Law of Communication
The Law of Communication is simple: a person needs to be able to succinctly state who she is and what she does. Keep it simple and always be truthful. If the person or group you are talking to is interested, they will ask for more.

Law 7 - The Law of Fidelity
Fidelity is its own reward. Loyalty to customers, vendors, partners, the press, employees, bosses, friends, investors - ANYONE who is capable of influence in the person's niche or life, is critical to survival and growth. If a person constantly switches vendors, employees, partners, they will be viewed as unstable and untrustworthy.

Law 6 - The Law of Divine Right to Attention
Each person believes that he is important and that he adds value. The outward reception of that premise is not a given until the outward perception of that aligns what a person thinks and how the market views the person.  Once these are in tandem - and until that alignment takes place, there is no guarantee that others will pay attention to anything that is said - regardless of how or where it is said. Even after alignment occurs, there is no guarantee of continued attention. Attention is earned.

Law 5 - The Law of Spontaneous Generation
Following closely on the Law of the Divine Right to Attention is the Law of Spontaneous Generation. Neither mindshare nor marketshare occurs spontaneously with a first missive - the
announcement of a person's arrival in an already crowded niche. No press release, direct mail letter, space ad, radio spot or standing on a street corner shouting guarantees a person anything. The universe is not required to stop, hold its breath, and await a person's announcement. Regardless of the earth shattering nature of a newly announced job, product or service, mindshare and marketshare growth are incremental. They may gain momentum, but all growth is incremental - and none is guaranteed. Amtower says, "there is inevitability to this law: believing you are the exception to it will lead to rapidly shrinking prospects."

Law 4 - The Law of Market Ownership
There is none. Marketshare is rented - never owned. Like mindshare, it is easily replaced. When some people or companies emerge as market leaders, this is often accompanied by a significant attitude change - hubris. Often market leaders become bullies, which makes many wish and work for their demise. No one stays on top forever. Some think if they study the market leaders closely, they will find the magic formula. While a person can learn valuable lessons studying market leaders, there are too many variables for a single formula to exist. Each situation has unique characteristics. Pay attention, don't get arrogant and continue to learn.

Law 3 - The Law of Creation
Epiphanies occur to the proactive. When an epiphany occurs to a couch potato, the reaction is usually pop another soda and try to rid himself of this bothersome idea. Amtower says, "bother to think about what you do, to develop and share opinions, and more ideas - more epiphanies - will occur. And action is likely to take place." The Law of Creation demands that a person create ideas and develop relationships where you can share these ideas. Ideas have value when they lead to action. This leads to a radical concept: opportunity. Opportunities will lead to the ability to do something - to create mindshare, the capacity to create excitement as only ideas can. Mindshare becomes marketshare when action occurs.

Law 2 - The Law of Leverage
Archimedes said, "Give me a place to stand and the right lever, and I can move anything." If people don't "own" their space- their niche, if they have violated any of the previous laws and have exaggerated their position in the universe, or failed to properly explain what their offer, if in any way they do not have a legitimate claim to the space they call your own, they can be moved. Amtower states, "however, if you have operated in accordance with the previous eight laws, you will occupy the high ground and those attempting to move you will find themselves on a teetering rock with using a toothpick for a lever. Regardless of who you are and where you go, someone - some boss, co-worker or someone who reports to you- will seek to re-position you, almost always to their advantage. We have all been there before, and we will all be there again. Don't overstate your position in the universe and you will only move of your own volition."

Law 1 - The Law of Gravitational Pull
The Law of Gravitational Pull occurs when a person has executed the other nine laws well. When a particular niche is mentioned, the person's name occurs.  Good and sometimes great things happen when a person executes the above laws. Bad things can happen if the person doesn't. The antithesis of the Law of Gravitational Pull is The Law of Marginalization. People can be marginalized if, when they are not present and their niche or name comes up, someone dismisses them with a wave of the hand. With the wave of a hand, they become a peripheral player - at best a side-show. But if they have executed well, others will immediately jump to their defense, countering this slight.

Amtower follows these laws with a discussion of his personal laws, which consist of three rules.  He says, "I don't do things I can't tell my wife and children.  I don't do things that are not fun (things I am not good at); and I don't take crap from things that breathe." He reports that after he started applying these to his business situations, in addition to personal ones, he found that he business life began to grow more quickly.

Finally, he says, if you believe something is right, or wrong, you should say so. You may feel like "the voice of one crying out in the wilderness," but understand that wherever you are, there will be kindred souls somewhere close by, and your message will resonate. You are not a lone voice crying out in the wilderness."

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