Being successful is mostly luck but working smartly (skill plus hard work) increases your luck. The trick is to balance intellectual honesty (it’s mostly luck) with controlled self-deception (success is due to skill and hard work). If you are too honest, you become pessimistic and if you’re too self-deceptive you get a false sense that everyone less successful is lazy or dumb.
Watch the video Is Success Luck or Hard Work?.
- Emotional intelligence is more important for entrepreneurial success than general mental ability
- It’s easier to blame others for lack of success but it is more correct to blame bad luck
- The easiest person to fool is yourself especially when it’s about your contributions towards your own success
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There is tremendous power in being able to simultaneously hold two ideas in one’s head that appear to be in opposition. Contradictions can create boundaries on thoughts—it’s usually unpleasant to have cognitive dissonance—and can lead to dogma. I’ve found that being able to stick with it, despite the discomfort, can be very powerful.
The fastest way to lose your objectivity is to lose your sense of fallibility. If you don’t think that you can be wrong, every decision you make feels right.
This quote by Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor at Stanford GSB, sums up the difficulty of achieving something different by doing the same things. You can apply this to “success” or any venture really. For example, it’s highly unlikely that Tony Hawk became the best skateboarder ever by living a conventional life.
On one very special day, Taravangian was the smartest person in the world. In a single effort, he scrawled a codex that laid forth a plan to save the world that would make him king of all things. Unfortunately, he’s not always intelligent enough to understand his own plan.
Accountability is a distinguishing feature of progressing into leadership roles. As a general rule, moving “up” means more accountability. Being a high performing contributor means being accountable for yourself. Being a leader means being accountable for others. Being an executive means being accountable for what you can not control (e.g. the market). There are many counter examples where leaders are not held accountable or getting promoted doesn’t increase the level of accountability, but acting as a principal is still the best strategy.