I & Buffet – How successful people become successful?

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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.




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.




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.




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.



I & Sandwich – The Secret to Failure

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The easiest way to success is to know the secret to failure.

As a kid, I read Edison’s story where he was trying to figure out what works as a filament. He tried with every damn thing, but it didn’t work out. When someone asked about his failures, he said, “I discovered a thousand ways that don’t work.”

When you know what it takes to fail, you’ll know the other side of the coin too. That’s the easiest approach.

I discovered the secret to failure when I was in high school. There’s this master-chef competition where we have to experiment our recipes on teachers. It’s kind of a revenge game.

Well, nobody likes to be bad. We were trying our best at cooking.

Let me be frank: I wasn’t prepared. But to me, the easiest of all is a sandwich. Maybe that’s a misconception, but my perception of a sandwich, at that point of life is stuff between two bread loaves. That stuff can be anything leftover in the refrigerator.

My friends were trying North Indian, Mexican, Italian recipes. It’s de-motivating. But then I found someone who was trying a sandwich too. But he took all measures so that I don’t steal his recipe.

I was worried. Inferior. I was loitering in the school balconies.

As I was walking through a staff room, I heard the judges. They were three of them. One of them said, “I’m really looking out for lots of mayonnaise.” The other said, “I’m waiting for chocolate recipes. Nothing beats sweetness.” And the third one said, “Nah. Fast food is my favorite. I somehow like that flavor of soy sauce.”

That was a hint to me. More than a hint. I got a peek into their tastes, so I felt my job is almost done.

The time limit was for one hour and I chopped stuff—tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce. I was staring at my friends sandwich which looked pathetic. There isn’t much stuff. He was just grilling bread loaves with butter.

The competition is done. And you know, none of them could actually complete their cooking. It was just three and I’m one of it. The other sandwich guy is done too. And noodles were another option. It looked over-cooked, anyway.

I was super confident until the judges took a bite. To my surprise, their faces showed different colors as they chewed. “What did you put in it?” all three asked with one voice.

I explained that I added stuff with mayonnaise, Hershey’s choco spread and soy sauce.

“It tastes disgusting,” they said without any hesitation.

I wished I could jump off a cliff, that minute.

“But why?” I asked.

“Why did you add soy sauce and chocolate?”

“I thought you’d like it,” I said.

“But, No. You don’t do that with a sandwich,” they left with a sympathetic glance.

I failed. Just like they can’t digest my sandwich, I couldn’t digest my defeat. Unexpectedly, my friend’s sandwich was applauded. He’s on the winners list.

I walked to him and asked innocently, “What did you put in it?”

“Just stuff with some cheese. And I grilled it.”

“Mayonnaise, chocolate and soy sauce?”

“Dude, but why? I just added what a sandwich needs.

He’s right. He didn’t satisfy the judges’ personal favorites. He just did what has to be done.

I realized that the secret to my failure was that I was trying to please all the judges. I was trying to make something they love and it was a disaster. I never thought how the sandwich would taste or what actually does a sandwich need. It was all simple. But I messed up.

I’m not sure what it takes to succeed, but that day I realized what it takes to fail. It’s easy to learn failure.

Whatever you are doing, do it in a way it has to be done. I’m sure we cannot please everyone. Because everyone has their own taste and if we try to add all their favorites, you’ll end up making a disgusting sandwich, just like I did.

There are always people whom you cannot satisfy. It’s a simple fact that people’s tastes are different. Some like soy sauce. Some like chocolate. How can you satisfy both of them simultaneously? It’s impossible.

Whatever you do, you face comments. But that’s just one side of the coin.

The other side is, whatever you do, someone will love it.

If what you doing don’t satisfy someone, it means you are exhibiting to the wrong audience. There’s a place for every one of us. The world is bigger than we think.

Understanding failure is simple—stop pleasing everyone. Once you get that, you’re already halfway to success.

Everything in life has a recipe. Just do it the way it has to be done. Not more. Not less. That’s all you need to know. For god’s sake, next time when you make a sandwich, don’t add mayonnaise, soy, and chocolate.