Mapping the road to success, by learning from the people who paved it.
The landscape of the path to success is constantly changing its appearance. Nobody can teach you how to take their guaranteed path, but they can help you figure out how to pave your own. Andrew Carnegie once said that to understand success, you must not only look at those who have succeeded, but also the millions who have been classified as "failures". Luckily for us, there are people who have taken the time to research the habits of practice of the uber-successful. A great example of one such individual would be Scott Galloway, who wrote a book titled The Four, on the four biggest companies as of 2017: Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. However, the most interesting learnings are not from companies as entities, but from entrepreneurs who started them. To summarize, here are three principal ideas from this book applied by these entrepreneurs for you to contemplate in your daily business practice.
Don't Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Talent
As youth struggle to find a career path, or purpose, for that matter, they're always told: "do what you love." In a Utopian world, this is a perfect strategy, but the modern world is far from perfect. At a conference with Gary Vaynerchuk, an audience member had asked whether or not a person should follow a certain career path if they love it, but aren't necessarily good at it. His response: "To me, the answer is yes. The problem is, please also recognize: you're probably not going to get rich." Although this isn't an end-all-be-all statement, it is an ideology tested by time. It comes down to what you want the legacy of your life to look like. If financial success is your primary goal, you need to keep in mind that things you find interesting and intriguing might not be as attractive to your target audience. Try to find something that is relevant to your modern day society that you can incorporate yourself in well. As Galloway says, "You don't have to love it, just don't hate it." Ultimately, once finding what you're good at and making progress, you'll naturally love it. Nothing motivates a person more than seeing a powerful, effective result to their actions.
Curiosity is crucial to success
As time goes on, technology advances, cultural trends arise, and people's interests change. Being a person trying to achieve success in any way shape or form, you must be curious and mindful of these changes. Pay close attention to trends, viral topics, fashions, etc. Economy and prosperity are largely predicated on the consumers opinions and decisions, so adapting to them lays the groundwork for any type of advancement you aim to make. British author Ken Robinson once said that "curiosity is the engine of achievement." That is of course if you know how to apply what you've learned into your business/venture. Curiosity is only beneficial if it follows the path of what the military calls the OODA Loop: Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.
The Key Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
Although they may seem too specific to function as a status quo, here are three of Galloway's tests/questions that make or break a successful entrepreneur:
1. Are you comfortable with public failure?
Any successful entrepreneur knows how to accept rejection, because they've faced it many times throughout their career. Going through a rejection therapy such as the one documented by Jia Jiang in his Ted Talk and being comfortable with it, is an extremely beneficial skill in any aspect of life.
2. Do you like selling?
"Entrepreneur" is synonymous with "salesperson." Whether you're selling a product, selling people to join your firm, selling investors, or customers on a product, it is your job to do it, and be good at it.
3. Do you lack the skills to work at a big firm?
Standing out and succeeding in a big firm isn't easy. It requires a dense skill set that includes ability to communicate well, work collectively, suffer injustices, and more. Big firms are a great platform for you to sort through your strengths and weaknesses.
In the end, it all comes down to your motivation and your abilities. First, find something you're good at. Second, find a way to fit that into modern day trends and culture, which you have to be mindful of at all times. Finally, stay on task, with your end goal in mind. You've got the blueprint of a path to success, now go out and build it.
This article was co-authored by Daniel Trukhin