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When I have collected 365 posts, this post will be visible on the 2nd of January. A lot of people have their new years resolutions still firmly in mind. So what better post than a post about the formula of success?

In case you are wondering, yes there truly is a formula for success. Its not a secret though. As you will soon discover its actually pretty mundane. You could have figured it out yourself… no? (I didn’t…)

There are actually three rules for success. Each rule can bring success on its own, but together they make success nearly unavoidable. Enough suspense, get it out already…

Rule 1: Work hard.

Rule 2: Do more of what works, and less of what does not work.

Rule 3: Make sure luck has a chance.

Work hard


Agree, this does not come as a surprise. If you want success in life, work for it. While everybody knows of somebody who got successful by accident, that is extremely rare. A lot of succesful people may look like having arrived there “by accident” -partly because of the image they want to project- but in reality just about every succesfull person has worked hard. And probably still is working hard.

Hard working in and of itself may be enough, but don’t count on it. The second rule is essential for the success of the first.

Do more of what works, and less of what does not work

Obvious right?

Well it does raise the question: how do we know what works? Feeling good about something is a nice indicator, but it may not be enough. After all, we can feel good about many things. Even about things that we would not consider important to our “success”. In order to know what is working and what is not working, we need to define what success really is.

The more precise we define success, the better our odds of getting there. Try to keep this as concrete as possible. For example: “Success is making a living from my own company”. But we could also choose: “Success is having at least 3 good friends”. Try a few formulations for yourself. Stop reading this, and WRITE DOWN your definition of success. When I do that, I immediately feel my brain kicking in and starting to tell me what to do. It’s a very powerful feeling. Try it for yourself!

Now that we know what our success goal is, the next big thing to do is to track our progress. Having written down the goal is powerful, but tracking is really where the rubber meets the road. Tracking fulfills many purposes:

  • It keeps us focused: daily tracking will make sure that you reaffirm your success goal every day.
  • It motivates by showing how we are creeping up on our goal.
  • It informs us when we are deviating from our goal.
  • It informs us when we are stagnating and thus might need to look for help.

Write down your success goal, and start a daily report on how you are getting there.

Even without luck this is a very sure fire way of achieving success. Often it will be enough all by itself. But life is not without surprises, making sure that we create the possibility for surprises is the next rule.

Make sure luck has a chance

So come on, relying on luck?

Yes. Luck can be a powerful factor in achieving success. For sure, being lucky is not something that happens automatically. Being lucky requires work and taking risk. Playing computer games or watching youtube 24/7 will ensure that we won’t get lucky. Some people say that you can force luck, and not without good cause. Strangely enough, being lucky does not depend on luck!

We should choose to behave in ways that open us up to experience luck. The single biggest factor is interactions with other people. We should choose to meet as many people as possible. Not as a goal in and of itself, but as a basic strategy. Besides meeting people we should also “take risks”. Luck and risk are interrelated. Taking risk liberally generally means that we will loose a lot of the time. This in turn means that we should only take risks that cannot result in permanent damage.

The risk of rejection is one of those. Usually people are afraid of rejection. Wrongly so. Being rejected can easily be framed as a positive experience: at least now we know not to try that again. Had we not tried, we would never have known and the fear of that particular rejection would hang over us indefinitely. There are people who try for at least 5 rejections each day! Their experience is that it is sometimes hard to get 5 rejections: people are more cooperative than we think.

Another way to be lucky more often is to know more. For each thing we know, our ability to recognize and capitalize on luck increases. Of course we should first learn about the things or subjects we absolutely need to achieve our success. But don’t stop there. Some general purpose skills are almost indispensable whatever the situation. A couple of these are finance, people skills, tax rules, logical reasoning, upkeep of health, fitness etc etc. I will talk about many of these in other posts.

In short: force your luck and make it easy for luck to find you.

Originally posted at: 2016-10-28
Last modified on: 2016-11-27