Secrets of success: The 4 minute version

Richard St. John gave a compelling, four minute version of his ‘Secrets of success’ course at TED in 2005:

Richard’s eight points, found by surveying 500 successful people are:

  • Passion (be driven by passion, for love not money – the money follows),
  • Work (it’s all hard work but successful people have fun),
  • Good (become very good at what you do),
  • Focus (focus on one thing),
  • Push (push yourself, push through self-doubt),
  • Serve (serve others, provide others with value),
  • Ideas (listen, observe, be curious, ask questions, problem solve, make connections), and
  • Persist (through failure, through CRAP)

Of course, one needs to beware of survivor bias – the human tendency to focus on successful people and ignore the unsuccessful. This may mean that many people follow the advice or path of the successful but fail, unnoticed by observers, preventing us from accurately assessing the risks inherent in following in the footsteps of the successful.

One thing I do know, however, is that no one became successful by being ignorant of advice, risk averse or lazy. Which brings me to the eloquent wisdom of Ted Roosevelt:

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

I couldn’t agree more.