On Success

One of my favorite things to do with this blog is look back on previous essays and see how my thinking has changed. A month into my writing, back in April of 2016, I published an article about “how to be successful.”

I find that funny, now. I was not and still am not what I would consider to be an extremely successful person…so how can I write about this? How do I, the 19 year old college student, have the authority to write on this? Let’s see what I said..

I’ve come up with a humbling, actionable heuristic from attacking any plan and reaching a goal. Albeit broad — it’s how I view success, and it’s very simple:

Success = a bunch of little things + time + luck

If you can perform a bunch of little things over a long period of time, and get a bit lucky in the process, you can do anything.

Now before this equation seems too good to be true, let me qualify:

If you do a bunch of little things over a really long period of time, you will either reach success or die trying. But trust me on this one, most of your competition will not make it as long as you think. Why? Because no-one will want to sustain as long as you do. Because you are committed to reaching success and you know, to do so, a crucial component is doing these “little things” longer than anyone else.

I think this was a naive, yet optimistic perspective. I think my current perspective takes into account more external factors that serve as obstacles to success…but I would still hold that my likelihood of success is directly tied and driven by my effort.

I think this was mature of me to write, at the time:

At least for me, it is really easy to immediately to jump to the output. I am cognizant of this, yet it still is difficult. I find it an innate human tendency to judge a success based off of output and overlook the in-between-steps. But in doing so, we also fail to comprehend and appreciate the factors that lead to success. And it happens to me all of the time, across all sorts of scenarios.

This still definitely happens to me. I jump ahead to outputs without taking into account the inputs of success.