We all ask Google, How to be successful in life? How to get success? And a million similar questions with keyword success.
But, were the answers you found in those search results satisfactory? Did you get what you were looking for?
I was a constant seeker for this question. I read blog posts, books, articles, watched interviews of successful people and in the end, all these only overwhelmed me.
One fine day, I heard about a ‘Success Meet’ where 15 highly successful people from different streams and locations will give their success stories. There must be one common factor in all of them, and I wanted to know it.
THAT DAY (BEFORE THE BUFFET)
It was all exciting. I prepared myself with a notepad and took a first-row seat. The Meet started.
The first one was the Youngest Successful Entrepreneur in the city. He was just 17. He said, ‘For me, it seems like an overnight success. I started working on an idea from a year. It worked. But I tell you, it’s not easy. By the time, I stepped out of school, I know a dozen programming languages.’
What was his Success Secret? I pondered. He’s highly skilled and educated. Maybe that’s what you need: Education.
The second one was an elderly man, who started off with a bakery which fetched fantastic reviews. It was so successful that the bakery now has 5 branches in the city. ‘It took me just a year,’ he said. ‘I never went to school. I was working in a bakery and I know what it takes to make better bakes. So, I started it in a rented single room. Education isn’t really a criterion for success.’
What was his Success Secret? I pondered. He’s uneducated but intelligent. Maybe that’s what you need: Intelligence.
The third one was 60 yrs old man. He said, ‘The only secret to my success is my hard work. I started a company at age 35 and it took me 25 years to reach this point. I was always an inefficient, dumb guy. But I understood the fact that, I do not need to be intelligent. I can instead hire intelligent people and make them work for me. It’s only my Never-give-up kinda hard work that made it happen.’
What was his Success Secret? I pondered. He’s uneducated, not so intelligent, but hardworking. Maybe that’s what you need: Hard work.
The next one had none of them; he took a good amount from his dad and started investing them in the stock market. Things favored. He’s a millionaire.
Maybe that’s what you need: Money.
As the talks went on, in contrast, things started becoming more confusing and puzzling. I wanted to have clarity on one of the most difficult questions: How to be successful in life? But, this Success meet was full of contradictions.
Every story was different. Every man was different. Some were of 20, some 40, some 60. Some were scholars, some illiterates, some idiots. The only common thing was Success. But the only common factor for that Success is unknown.
I scribbled my entire notebook and at a point started to believe that, Success is destined. Maybe they are, by some means, destined to succeed in life. Somewhere deep within, I know, it’s not the answer, but I was consoling myself.
The Buffet was the climax of the event (and also the climax to my confusion).
I wasn’t hungry, because I didn’t yet find my answer. I took a corner seat and watched the fifteen entering into the Buffet hall. They all moved to different menus and picked their choices.
One of them took a donut and said, “This really tastes good. You should try.”
The other said, “No. I’m diabetic; I’d rather choose a salad.”
“I can’t chew that, my tooth aches. Large glass of fresh orange juice is all I need,” one of them said.
“I’m hungry as hell. I’ll go with a Beef sandwich.”
Nothing was in common. Not even their food habits.
I discovered something profound.
They were choosing What they can eat. In fact, they were doing What they can do.
WHAT IS THE COMMON FACTOR OF EVERY SUCCESSFUL MAN?
In the whole experiment to find the common factor, I found, the only thing common for all the fifteen is their Way of thinking.
You call it Thought Process. You call it Ideology or whatever. At a foundational level, they all think alike.
Let me explain.
The one, who is good at math, used math as his tool. The one, who had some money to invest, used money as a tool. The one, who had an experience at something, used it as a tool. The one, who had an idea, used that idea as his tool.
They aren’t working on the same platforms. They were working on what they have. Their biggest tool for success is that… which they are good at.
Successful people are successful because they don’t waste time doing something which is out of their domain. They work on what’s in their hands and what’s in their hearts. In the journey of success, you can use any tool you have.
THE MISTAKE WE COMMIT
Our mistake is that we focus on the tool, rather than the way someone used it. We look at investors and say, “He’s got money to invest. I don’t. So, I can’t be him.”
We look at a successful speaker and say, “He’s good at speaking. Vocab. But I’m not. So, I can’t be him.”
Understand the fact that, successful people turn their strengths into their weapons. That’s how they win.
Focus on the way they think—the common factor.
In the buffet, they were eating different foods. But, in the end, they all satisfied their hungers.
Success lies in the mindset of using what you have, to achieve what you want.
Simple it is.