This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain
And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!
And that’s it. I can’t invent any better formula for success than that made by Mr. Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park in a song made for his Fort Minor solo project. All I can do is comment on the recipe and set priorities. So, here are the ingredients in the order of their importance:
There is no result without action. Evoke yourself to take action, move on, and find your ‘inner carrot’, something that will push you forward. That’s what I think is a key capability you need to be successful. Without the power of will, without the ability to manage ourselves in order to change the world around us, we are nothing but helpless objects subject to external effects. A free climber who climbs to the top of the Eiffel Tower with no protective gear deserves respect and admiration. A plastic bag that floats in the wind up to the top of the very same tower is smiled at. There are many examples of people who became rich and famous with the help of some other factors, but who lacked of will power to move forward, to adapt to the constantly changing conditions and who lost everything in the end. Yes, will power is crucial, but it’s just an engine. Apart from the power of will, success requires some extra tools.
Everything that people do requires certain skills. Even when you’re doing something totally new and completely unknown, even something no one has ever done before, you still need some practice. This is because inventing new solutions for one and the same problem may consume a lot of your time and energy. With the skills you already have, you can and have to develop new, better approaches. However, these new approaches have to be based on something. When you understand the pros and cons of the existing approaches to an issue, you can determine what is missing or what is odd. Skills enable you to be more efficient while achieving goals. The very fact that you have skills in a domain gives you a competitive advantage over those who are unqualified or have a lower set of skills. If you take up something already known, exploring existing practices might be a really good idea. You have to spend time and energy on learning but this will be generously rewarded later on when you actually have real problems because the existing groundwork will help you cope with routine problems faster and more efficiently.
Remember that His Majesty Pleasure is an essential component of success. It shouldn’t be infinite, but if there isn’t any, you will not succeed in what you do. If you’re fortunate enough, you’ll be just one of many mediocre ones who slave their lives away and curse their existence. A galley slave can never rival an Oxford guy who loves rowing. While the former does everything under compulsion, the latter loves what he does. Here we deal with different motivation levels and different goals: the slave wants it to be over as soon as possible, whereas the Oxford trainee wants it to last as long as possible. So, who will win in the end?
Speaking of sports achievements, we often mean physical kind of pain. But apart from physical pain, there is a stronger kind, which is mental pain. It’s the kind of pain we feel when we lose. It’s the way that failures, accidents and disasters make us feel. But, on the other hand, this is our experience. It’s a painful experience, but without it we won’t understand in which direction we should move—no pain, no gain. The ability to overcome bad experiences and to use this experience to avoid mistakes in the future is an essential factor for success.
No, you cannot succeed without it. You can be the most professional fisherman in the world but get no fish. You may be the greatest and most talented artist but die in poverty and receive recognition only decades or centuries later, when some other people would get millions selling your pictures.
You can create the most perfect technology in the world but no one will appreciate it simply because people are not ready for it, because there is no target audience for that. Being at the right time in the right place with the right set of characteristics—that’s what I call luck. I would also say that luck is what they normally call talent.
Having perfect pitch by nature—is it luck or talent? I believe it’s the same. Mike puts luck before everything else. In my opinion, it is the top of the reaching success iceberg, or the cherry on the cake. You can count on your luck only and keep buying lottery tickets; you might even win a billion. Now what?
Have you ever heard a success story of a multinational corporation where the foundation was “I won $ xxx in a lottery?”
Luck is simply a polish for success. Without it, your success can’t be complete, but it can’t be the only ingredient for your achievements.
I expect boos and shouts like “What about innovation?” or “How about the WOW effect?” or “You forgot the ABCDEF!” And I can tell you this: firstly, this is my personal vision of what the recipe for success looks like and this is the very set of ingredients that I use; secondly, innovation, the WOW effect, etc. are all derivatives of major factors.
P.S. Special thanks to Mr. Shinoda for putting the fundamentals of success, including my personal success, in very few poetic words.