Over the past few months, I’ve been obsessively studying the commons traits among successful people. Or rules for success, if you will.
Success is one of those words that’s so overused and so vague that it removes the heavy lifting of real thinking. In celebration of writing and thinking with precision, let’s call it rules for being a decent human being instead.
It’s been a fun project and I’ve narrowed the list down to 12 simple rules which I’d like to share with you over time.
In putting it all together, the most important take away for me has been that the secret to success is actually quite simple. Too often we make the situation more complex than it needs to be. “It can’t be that easy”, we tell ourselves. But it is.
The Definition of Success
In stipulating my rules for success, we must first articulate its meaning.
Keep in mind that this isn’t a post about money and instead, my current definition of success means doing the following:
- Following my passion;
- Constantly growing and learning;
- Contributing to others in a meaningful way; and
- Crystallising my life purpose.
While your definition of success may differ from mine, you may nonetheless find these rules stimulating in furthering your relationship, your career and your life.
Rule #1 Find Your Passion
For me, the single most important rule is to find and follow your Passion.
Instead of hearing it from me, however, here’s what the world’s most influential people had to say on this topic.
The videos on Steve Jobs, Sylvester Stallone and Chris Gardner are my personal favourites.
- One of the most revolutionary entrepreneurs of all time
- Considered the Father of the Digital Revolution
- Late billionaire and quiet philanthropist
If you don’t love it, you’re gonna fail.
Keep looking. Don’t settle.
- Single most successful investor of the 20th century
- One of the most influential people in the world named by Time Magazine
- Worth over $70 billion and has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth to philanthropic causes
Take the job that you would take if you were independently wealthy.
- Will Smith played him in The Pursuit of Happyness
- In the 1980’s he was homeless while he tried to raise his toddler son
- To get off the streets he became a stockbroker and later, an entrepreneur
Chris speaking to a young person on the subway who’d just been laid off…
Find that one thing you love do so much you would get up in the morning and do it free.
- Closest thing we have to a real-life Iron Man
- Created game changing businesses like PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity
- Worth over $11 billion and also a member of the Giving Pledge
Really liking what you do. If you don’t like it, life is too short.
- Singer, songwriter, actress, and filmmaker
- One of the best-selling artist of all time, with 245 million records sold worldwide
- The only recording artist to have a number-one album in each of the last six decades
Follow your bliss. If you’re following a path that is pleasurable to you, it’s much easier.
- Actor, screenwriter, and director best known for creating the Rocky & Rambo series
- Evicted and homeless for three weeks before getting into the film industry
- Became the third man in history to receive nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for the same film
Sylvester was broke and had to sell his dog for $25 to keep his dream alive (he later paid a handsome amount plus a part in the next Rocky movie to get his dog back). This video outlines his thoughts on being offered money for his Rocky script but no right to star in his own movie.
I know, in the back of my mind, that if I sell the script and it does very very well, I’m gonna jump off a building if I’m not in it.
- Physicist and advocate for renewable energy and nuclear power
- Served as the 12th United States Secretary of Energy from 2009 to 2013
- Won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997
Be excited in what you’re doing.
- Consistently ranks in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people
- One of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution
- Most generous philanthropist in America, having given over $30 billion to charity
You gotta enjoy what you do everyday. For me, that’s working with very smart people and working on new problems.
- Entrepreneur, television personality, investor, and real estate magnate
- No. 17 on Forbes 2011 Celebrity 100 List
- 2016 United States Presidential candidate
Donald lets it loose on a story about “Alex”.
You have to love what you do. It solves a lot of problems. Go Alex.
- One of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood
- Oprah Winfrey said in all the her years, he was one of their greatest teachers
- My favourite comedian
It’s all I ever wanted.
- Considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest basketball player of all time
- Athlete, actor, and entrepreneur
- Worth over $1 billion and his brand grosses over $2 billion
With that shot, it ignited the fire.
- Businessman, investor and is involved in over 400 companies
- Takes on big competitors, breaks the rules, and likes to go after world records
- Worth an estimated $4.9 billion and a member of the Giving Pledge
Burt Rutan commenting on his partnership with Richard Branson in setting up The Spaceship Company. Burt Rutan is an aerospace engineer and a very successful man in his own right.
It was the passion that I saw in your eyes. And I knew that you would stick with it because I knew that passion was genuine.
These video excerpts are courtesy of Evan Carmichael, a YouTube channel I’ve been binge-watching as of late.
Wherever you may be on the trajectory of life, I’d encourage you to seek out your passion.
If you’re feeling particularly uninspired then it’s the perfect time to re-assess the work you’re doing or the life you’re leading.
If you’ve yet to find your life’s calling, don’t settle, keep looking. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.