If you're old enough to remember the television show "Columbo," then the title of this article probably made you smile.

Columbo, played to perfection by Peter Falk in his most memorable role, was the quintessential rumpled, unpolished, underdog detective who always seemed one step behind his quarry. Like every anti-Sherlock Holmes before and since, from Peter Sellers' hysterically incompetent Inspector Clouseau to Tony Shalhoub's obsessive-compulsive Adrian Monk, he also surprised the heck out of both his foes and his audiences (the uninitiated, at least), by snatching victory from the jaws of hopeless defeat. Lieutenant Columbo (the show never did reveal his first name) always got his man--and you always knew he was about to spring the trap when he uttered that casual, oh-I-almost-forgot line, an accidental afterthought just as he was turning to leave: "Oh yeah, Mr. Estes, before I go--just one more thing...."

Psychologists tell us that a letter's P.S. always reveals the writer's central thought, his true purpose for corresponding. Direct marketers know this, too, which is why they always take care to couch a plain-as-day sales pitch in their P.S.--and to print it in a color, with underlines.

In the last three issues, you've read all three of the "Three Timeless Principles" that comprise The Success Formula: 1) Find and follow the system; 2) Apply the information immediately; 3) Be persistent and outlast the No's.

So, I guess, that about wraps it up. Oh yeah, before I go--just one more thing...


P.S.: Believe It!

Rabbi Yaakov Salomon tells the story of the lawyer arguing a case for his guilty defendant, who was on trial for murder.

The one challenge in the prosecution's case was that the body had never been found. However, the abundance of expertly presented circumstantial evidence was more than compelling. Everyone in the courtroom, jurors included, knew that the man was guilty--so in his closing argument, the clever defense attorney decided to go for broke.

He pointed grandly toward the courtroom doors and declared, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: in exactly 60 seconds, the so-called corpse, the man you believe to be dead, is going to come walking in right through those very doors. We can begin counting now."

The time ticked by: one second, two seconds, three seconds, ten seconds, 20 seconds, 45 seconds, 55 seconds, 56, 57, 58, 59...and then, at exactly the one-minute mark, in walked...nobody at all. Certainly not the corpse.

The lawyer addressed the puzzled jury: "Ladies and gentleman--I apologize. I told you something that obviously did not come true. However, the mere fact that you looked at the doors as you did showed me--and shows you--that you had some measure of doubt. And of course, if you have any doubt, any doubt at all, you must--you must--return a verdict of Not Guilty."

And with a triumphant flourish, he returned to his seat.

The jury went into deliberations--and just five minutes later came back out to render their verdict. The foreman stood up, faced the judge, and said they declared the defendant...guilty!

The defense attorney was enraged. "How could you?!" he demanded. "I saw all of you watching that door!"

The foreman replied, "Yes, sir, you are correct: we were, in fact, watching the door. But we were also watching you and your client--and you did not watch the door. Your client did not watch the door, not even for a moment. And that's because you both knew there was not a chance in the world that anyone would be walking through it."

The lesson? Don't expect anyone else to believe something you don't believe yourself!


The Irresistible Force Behind the Magic

You can follow, to the letter, The Success Formula you've just learned. But if you don't believe in the complete and total worthiness of your personal mission or goal, you are in trouble.

This does not mean you should come on too strong or act in inappropriate ways, forcing yourself and your pursuit on others. But if you don't believe in your heart of hearts that you are doing the world a service through the pursuit of excellence in your chosen endeavor, then you simply will not be nearly as effective and productive as you could be.

And--perhaps most important of all--if you don't believe in yourself as a good, honest, kind, ambitious and worthy person who bases his or her actions on sound principles of integrity, you'll never allow yourself to prosper. And that would be a shame indeed, for to so prosper is your birthright.

Work on yourself continually. Know that success is an inside job. Wealth, reputation, loving friends and family--these are simply the outward manifestations of that which you create within yourself in the passionate pursuit of that which you love.

And here is the best news of all: given that you're reading these words, I know without question that you already have the necessary belief! (How do I know? If you didn't, you would not have read this far.)

Come back to The Success Formula, read it over and over again, whenever you feel you need a boost. And always remember that your desire--what we called your "touchstone," that compelling why that drives your pursuit--that desire coupled with your belief in yourself, your business and your dreams, are the irresistible force behind the magic.

Now go put The Success Formula into play--and you're on your way to turbocharging your success and dramatically improving your life.


This article, the fourth in a series, is adapted from Bob Burg's forthcoming book, The Success Formula.


is author of Endless Referrals and Winning Without Intimidation, and a free weekly e-zine on networking (www.burg.com).