This 3 parts series examines the definition of success and what it means for Millennials and for people working in the 2010’s of all ages. There is something for everyone to learn here.
1. The Biggest Determinant for Sucecss
Everyone thinks success is about hard work
Most people think that success is about hard work. Lifehacker promotes that belief in some posts. There is no shortcuts to success. But that’s not necessarily true. It’s actually absolutely wrong. Also belief, purpose and self-work are not the biggest determinants for success.
Our parents, grandparents and teachers always told us we need to work hard. We must give it our best in order to succeed. Success must be about trying your best and giving it your all.
Success is not about hard work
Granted you probably may not succeed if you don’t work hard. But a lot of people miss a very important truth about luck.
At my first professional job, I looked up to a director at the company who had a great career record. Everyone talked greatly about this director. All the people who worked for him had great things to say about him and his record showed high merit. This guy was very successful. And he started at this company at an entry level position but he is not that much older than me and he is a director. I told him that I am greatly inspired by him and asked him how he was successful, and he said, ‘luck’.
I was shocked. How does luck have to do with anything?
Over the next few years, I realize how he was right. As he explained to me at the time, there are so many talented people around us. There were so many talented, smart and very hard working people at the company. What really distinguished those who succeed and those who did not was luck. More so it was opportunity. You have to be at the right time and the right place to succeed.
Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid
And exactly so everyone is amazing. Everyone who wants to succeed is probably working really hard at it. But not everyone is given the same opportunities. Not everyone is presented with the same opportunities.
When you get promoted at your job for example, there had to be an open position. There had to be a need for a position. You had to be there at the exact time and the exact place to apply and get that position. If you apply for a position that doesn’t exist you won’t get it. You can’t apply to college after they closed their application window. You can’t apply for a job after they already hired someone.
You can only climb the mountain if there is a mountain.
Any belief that the universe owes you a mountain is wrong. Sometimes there is a pathway up that mountain and sometimes you have to pave your own path. But there always needs to be an opportunity. And for that you just have to be lucky.
Success is about chance
So chance is what defines success. Most success stories embellish the hard work, the dedication, the mission, the self-belief and the driving force. They always forget to mention chance and opportunity. They forget to mention they got lucky.
Observe the successful people around you. Your friends who have amazing jobs. Those colleagues who got jobs at amazing companies. Those classmates who got amazing grades. Sometimes those people are not smarter, better, more hardworking. They just had been presented with different opportunities. May they knew someone who helped them get that job. Maybe they actually applied to a job. Maybe they had all the free time in the world and clear head to study. You see where I am going with this.
So if chance is about opportunity and luck, what can I do about it
Many of the great success stories don’t mention that Airbnb, Instagram and KFC (check their success stories by following the links) all got lucky. The founders and people there definitely had to believe in their mission and to work hard. But we all must be working hard already and have a mission if we want to succeed. But how can one improve his luck?
There is one way to increase your chances of winning anything: and that is to get more opportunities.
If there is a 1% chance of succeeding at anything, the more you apply, the more your chances of succeeding are. Mathematically, as the number of opportunities you seek approaches infinity/a very large number, you reach 1 00% success rate.
So work hard, do your best, believe in yourself, but also apply yourself. Apply yourself everywhere. Seek opportunities. If you didn’t get the job you wanted, apply to more. Think about opportunity. Think about chances. Think about how much you are trying different opportunities to succeed.
If you are not at the right place at the right time, try again and again and again.
Zuckberg got lucky the first time, Jack Ma got lucky the hundredth time
Mark Zuckberg got lucky early in his career. His idea took off and he is now worth billions. He work hard and he succeeded in the workplace. But observe Ali Baba founder’s Jack Ma’s story through his quote below,
“I failed 3 times in college. I applied 30 times to get a job but I have always been rejected. When KFC came to China for the first time, we were 24 to apply and I was the only one to be dismissed. I wanted to go into the police and 5 postulants, I was the only one not to be accepted. I applied 10 times to return to Harvard University USA and I was rejected.” – Jack Ma, Alibaba Creator and 22nd World fortune according to Forbes in 2015 with $ 29.8 billion
Jack Ma is a true inspiration for me and should be for everyone. He tried and tried and never gave up.
Apply this to your life
You probably heard that succesful people never give up. It’s true successful people keep trying after every rejection. They never give up. And that’s how they succeed. Companies always tell you about their mission and how it inspired them and their employees to succeed, but remember they got lucky.
And so can you! You can get lucky in your professional and personal life!
In your professional life, always try, never give up. Know that the number one factor for success is opportunity. Take this to your personal life, if you want to make friends, go out and meet more people and connect with them.
I guarantee you if you never stop looking, if you never stop trying you will succeed.
First Truth: The Biggest Determinant For Success is Chance
Share your thoughts below about your success stories.
In next two parts of the series we are going to be interviewing people and sharing their experiences and thoughts about success so stay tuned.
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