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Monday, July 17, 2017

Successful People

It's a fact that most successful people underestimate the roles luck, opportunity and connections make in their success. They overestimate the role of their skills and talents.

With that in mind I'm not a big fan of biographies as guides to success. If George W. Bush had been born into a family of bricklayers, does anything think he would have risen to be President of the United States?

When I first went to college it took me only one semester to realize that there would not be a good job for me in my chosen field. Most of my classmates had those good jobs locked up already. They had connections. All they had to do was to pass the course. If I'd been top of my class I might have gotten a job. My odds of advancing very far in a business dominated by family members were not good. I did not stay for a second semester.

There are plenty of tales of people who start from humble beginnings and beat the odds. However, there may be hundreds of people who did almost exactly what they did and failed miserably. For example, take two musicians of equal talent. One happens to have “the look” the record company is searching for that year and gets a contract. The second one, just as talented, spends his career playing for tips and drinks.

They say don't be afraid of failure. Those who say it often aren't going to miss any meals. When you are living on the edge, the risk of failure is huge. One false move and the rent doesn't get paid and the kids go hungry. Heck, now people aren't taking risks just because they can't afford to lose health insurance. That hurts upward mobility as much as anything.

There was a book by Marsha Sinetar, Do What you Love, the Money will Follow. What a lot of crap that turned out to be. I've been doing what I love for years. My “love” pays less than burger flipping.

One the plus side, I'm doing what I love, so that's got to be some measure of success.



  1. It really should have been, "Do What You Love, And You Won't Mind Putting Up With The Crap You Need To To Make Money".

    1. While a more honest title, it probably would not have sold as many books.

  2. AH, but Sinetar sold books, so SHE was successful. She didn't give a rat's backside about the folks who bought them, I'm sure!

  3. I wanted to be a structural engineer but did not have the math smarts to pass my tests in it. Homework wasn't the problem - I could use the book. Without though, I became mixed up.

    I could have studied to be an architect, but I knew instinctively I wouldn't be happy. Architects have to deal with too many others to negotiate the building getting built. I'm not cut out for that - I just want to cut to the chase and design it.

    So I became a draftsman and am pretty happy with it. I don't earn the paycheck, but I'm far happier dealing with the one rather than the many.

    1. Glad you found the fit for you.

      My lovely wife first trained as a nurse, but later discovered she was better suited to be a medical lab tech. -less hassle with people and more fun with science.