Why are some people successful while others are not?

One of my favorite songs of all time is Bobby Bland’ Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.

Bobby Bland - Dreamer 
Ain't No Love in The Heart of The City by Bobby Bland on Grooveshark

The album was not a perfect R&B album, but it was pretty close. (As long as you enjoy a vintage R&B/ sound.) Here’s why I decided to tell you about Bob: He possessed something most people want but don’t know how to get. Success? Is that your first guess? Sure, Bob had success, but that’s not it in this case. But hey, I’m not surprised if your first guess was success. Why? Because  most people spend a fair bit of time thinking about why some people are successful while others are not. This is true even though they often may make proclamations to the contrary.

On the topic of success, let me remind you that success is largely a matter of the following factors coming into alignment:

1. Smarts. Most of the successful people I know are smart. 2. Talent. It helps if you can develop a specialized talent that the market is willing to pay for, such as taking amazing photos; writing and/or performing great songs; writing software applications, stories; etc. 3. Hard work. Most of the successful people I know aren’t just  smart; they also work very hard. (Tiny big reminder: this is true even though they often may make proclamations to the contrary.) 4. Persistence. Persistance pays. Your chances of winning in the games of business and life increase exponentially if you are persistent. Tiny big reminder: this is also why successful people market continually rather than only when they need business. They know that the trick is to be top of mind when when people look to buy — not when you look to sell. 5. Luck. Let’s face it: A lot of success is being in the right place at the right time. For example, not long ago, my fellow Canadian, singer Michael Buble was a wedding singer. Having said that, remember this observation from Pasteur: “Chance favours the prepared mind.”

Back to Bob. In addition to all of the above, Bob had poise.


Poise. Easy to like; hard to deliver.
“OK, I get it—poise is hard to deliver but doable, no?” “Come on, let me in, tell me how.”
Is that what you’re thinking right now? If yes, here’s the first and perhaps the most dramatic step in that direction: you have to eradicate neediness from your conduct. If you’re looking for a more elaborate and empowering answer as to how and why neediness occurs and what to do about it, consider the book titled Pitch Anything, by Oren Klaff. Here’s a little taste:

If you talk to investment bankers, the pros that make million dollar decisions almost daily, they’ll tell you—validation-seeking behavior (neediness) is the number one deal killer… Plain and simple, neediness equals weakness. Broadcasting weakness by seeking validation is often a death sentence. This may sound harsh, but it is true… (For more, please check out Oren’s book.)

My 2¢:
We are the only living beings on Earth with the power to create our own worlds within the world in which we find ourselves. All other living creatures are controlled entirely by instinct. They never ask, “What will I do?” But not you and I. You and I can write our own ticket. It’s easy to forget that.
Jan 15, 2013