Why Some People Succeed And Some Don’t?
I came across this question on Quora.
The question came with this preamble: don’t tell me the cliché “hard work”, because I believe that some people work as hard as you, but they still don’t succeed. This seems symptomatic of the narrative today – too many people want hacks to get ahead but aren’t willing to stick to what’s survived the test of time.
Here are five proven principles of success.
I’m sorry that I had to give the person asking the question an answer he/she specifically didn’t want to hear. But it’s true. Barring sheer luck and good fortune, this is the bedrock of all achievements. Nobody really got anywhere without hard work. Want to be like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods or Serena William? You need to put in 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. There’s no other way.
Choice of company.
As Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. The company you keep will determine who you become five or ten years from now. It’s no secret that attitudes, habits and perspectives can rub off you. That’s why choosing your environment is so important.
Kobe Bryant has a mixed reputation as a basketball player, but one thing is clear – you will definitely work harder around him than alone. There are legendary stories of his work ethic such as how he starts practicing at 4am, before the official Team USA practice.
This is the kind of man you need to be around; someone who will motivate or intimidate you to work harder. Not a couch potato who tells you to join him and binge watch Netflix.
Ability and willingness to promote oneself.
You can work as hard as you like, but nobody’s going to notice you if you don’t make a sound. In a society where the signal to noise ratio is absurdly bad, you have to promote yourself. The old adage that “if you’re good, they’ll notice you” is dead.
I can hear you already. Promoting makes you feel uncomfortable. You feel like a sleazy salesman trying to sell something to someone. Maybe you feel that it devalues your talents and is an insult to your ability.
Well, guess what? Leonardo Da Vinci himself had to sell his talents and services to gain employment with the Duke of Milan. In his long letter, he gave a list of 10 things he could do in the outbreak of war, which included the making of siege weapons and construction of underground tunnels. He went further by describing his abilities in sculpture and painting, showing that he had many talents.
Does it sound pompous and arrogant? Perhaps. But he could back up all his claims. His letter was not an exaggeration by any means.
That was centuries ago, when the Internet wasn’t in existence. There was also considerably less than the 7 billion people in the world today competing for the same resources.
Even if you can paint the Mona Lisa, you still need to promote yourself.