Liken the road to life’s success to a NASCAR race. Having the most powerful engine (or brain) doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily win. You’ve got to have more - good steering, good brakes, firm support, good sense, a full tank, and yes, a pit crew for support.
According to Professor of Finance Hank Reiling at the Harvard Business School, the ingredients that can produce success are great confidence and persistence like a ‘fire in the belly’, and the ability to learn from other’s experiences.
What leads to the future success? Can you be of ‘low wattage’ academically and still achieve future success? Take Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Alfred Sloan, and Franklin Roosevelt…. they all struggled academically at one point or another. Reiling wrote, “Front-runners – like the people who earned straight A’s – frequently fade over the long distance, while those previously at the back of the pack pick up their race.”
So, there’s more to success than intelligence. Let’s see what characteristics we need to develop.
1. Be tough. Disappointment could be likened to slick spots on the road. No mater what you do, they appear, many times out of no where. Can you handle them with resilience?
2. Have luck. Luck means good genes, decent education, good mentors, and a good support team. If you don’t have these, go and find them now, or learn to compensate.
3. Be selfless. Do great things because you are compelled to serve others, not for personal gain. Expose yourself to those who are motivated by their concern for other people.
4. Fairness. Be fair to everyone – employers, employees, family, friends, associates, everyone. Circle yourself with good people who are fair to you and back. Eliminate those who are second-rate.
5. Good judgment. This trait controls the other 4. Tricky situations call for sound decision making under pressure. Surround yourself with sound, trustworthy and emotionally mature individuals.
My inspiration for my article was an interview with Professor Hank Reiling at Harvard Business School conducted by Daisy Wademan for her book, “Remember Who You Are”, published by the Harvard business School Press in 2004.