What is the key to success? This is one of the most commonly asked questions that never seem to have a definite answer. But before we get to the definition and the answer as to what drives success, let’s take a look at some obvious observations.
Success, as one would observe from this write-up, can be defined in many ways. But regardless of how one perceives success in life, one may have observed situations where some people, with little to no hard work or effort, earn measurable success, while others will have to put in a lot of hard work to achieve the same amount of success.
And yes, like me, who tend to belong to the latter, I can already hear you saying how unfair that is. And what about those who never seem to make any headway no matter how hard they work? How does one explain this?
Well, these are some of the questions that make one wonder what drives /determine success— is it persistently working hard over an unquantifiable period of time, luck/destiny, both, or maybe something else like attitude?
To answer the question, we sought opinions from a diverse group of 22 people listed below. Here is what they have to say, some even using personal, very interesting, and inspirational stories to drive home their opinions.
| Dr. Tricia Wolanin | Damian Birkel | Mark Cann | Simon Royston | Danny Ray | Damon Nailer | Ellen Mullarkey | Heather Taylor | Eddie Johnson | Jeremiah Rizzo | Igor Mitic | Dmytro Okunyev | Lance J. Robinson | Greg Audino | David Reischer, Esq | Debbie Savage | Ilena Di Toro | Uma Kim Ojeda | Mike Falahee | Emily Morrison | Logan Allec | Nita Sweeney |
Success is an interplay of hard work and destiny. The biggest definition one must ask him/herself is what is success? Financial success? Attaining goals? The number of countries traveled? Businesses created?
Personal definitions of success may constantly be shaped and reshaped. Success involves the necessity of developing a clear vision, daily discipline, accountability partners, as well as synchronicity, and an openness to life’s unfolding.
Hard work is a daily challenge. Destiny is having success served to you on a silver platter.
Hard Work requires a significant investment of time and sweat equity. Destiny says you were going to get it regardless of how hard you worked, if at all.
Success is the progressive realization of your personal goals. It’s like being a bricklayer at the start of the external construction of an entire building. You can already see the framework for the building (your personal self). Now, the external part of the building (the brick) begins (your professional self).
Our bricklayer begins with a single brick; (a goal) laid in place; brick upon brick and before you know it, all of the bricks are in place, each bearing their part of the structural weight and the building is complete (success). Then you build on that success; one goal at a time.
Bricklaying is an art. Destiny is a gift. Thomas Edison once said that “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
You work hard, continue to learn throughout life, and experience the success you rightly deserve.
What some consider destiny can easily be described as the combination of natural interest with skill sets that are in demand at the appropriate time. It might feel like destiny but is more likely to be the right skills at the right time.
The hard work portion comes from being prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Some of this is just luck but you can manufacture your own luck by being prepared so destiny and hard work are intertwined, as one doesn’t exist without the other.
Another way of wording your question is perseverance vs purpose. Again, these traits are intertwined, as people that rely on a sense of purpose will generally be able to display more perseverance. Building up your skill sets to match or complement your natural interest is a great way to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Great future businesses have a habit of finding the people that are capable of building those companies in the first place.
For me, hard work is the winning formula when it comes to success. Don’t get me wrong, hard work alone may not be enough. You need some other factors such as intelligence, insight, and yes, a little bit of destiny or luck help along the way.
As a business owner, I believe I have worked hard and had success in my career, but I have also had my fair share of setbacks when things have just not worked out despite all my efforts. I just learned to try again. If I relied on destiny for my success, well, in theory, I may as well never leave the house and just see what arrives in the post each morning.
Working hard means you open up new opportunities, you broaden your horizons and you create so many more opportunities. It is by grasping these opportunities and being prepared to step beyond your comfort zone that you truly have your best chance of success.
Think of things in another way. Many of us are sports fans and we have our heroes. Take Usain Bolt the 100-meter runner. When he crosses the line and picks up the gold medal, we as sports fans celebrate his 9 seconds of glory. What we have not seen is the last decade of his life where he has given blood, sweat, tears, trained every day, and pushed himself to breaking point and beyond all for this one moment of success. Usain Bolt could not have relied upon destiny to achieve his career highs, he relied on hard work.
My point to you is that you need vision. In fact, visualizing your destiny and/or your outcome is a very important component to having success. However, putting into action via hard work is just as important.
Above all, using them both together is a major key to success. For example, young in my sales career, driving to work I would visualize how many sales I was going to make that day. I did this by literally seeing my name on the board and beating everyone. This was my destiny. Furthermore, I would work harder than anyone, and at the end of the day, I always outperformed my peers.
Hard work is an essential key to success. Destiny represents potential and is a place you are supposed to reach sometime in the future. However, one must travel and successfully make it to the appointed destination for destiny to unfold.
Along the way, you must work hard, make adjustments, and persevere through various trials, tribulations, and temptations to succeed. Many don’t fulfill their fate because they believe it is a given and that it will automatically come to pass. They don’t realize we are actually the authors of our life stories and the navigators of our own courses who are responsible for writing our own narratives and creating our own paths.
My personal path to fulfilling my lot in life has been very interesting. I began my professional career as an elementary educator. I taught for 7 years and then, I launched out to pursue entrepreneurship, specifically music production, writing, and motivational speaking. Along the way, I started a janitorial service to provide income to finance my other endeavors.
After 12 years of business ownership, I recently transitioned into becoming a parent educator. So, I am currently teaching parenting classes, writing, speaking, and producing music. Ironically, all are integral components of my unique destiny that require lots of hard work.
There’s no doubt that destiny, or “luck”, plays a huge role in success. After all, you hear these stories all the time about people who fell into a great job by meeting the right person in an elevator. It happens.
But the fact of the matter is that you have to work hard so you have something to show during those lucky encounters. If you meet someone at a dinner party and you don’t have any work to show them or tell them about, it doesn’t matter. Sure, you might have a nice conversation, but no opportunities are going to come out of that meeting.
Let me speak from experience:
I worked really, really hard in college. I knew that I wanted to work in the business world, so I did everything I could to make that happen. I took all the right courses, studied under all the right professors, and worked like a maniac to build my resume.
When I graduated, it just so happened that, through a mutual connection, I met someone who had recently started a professional services company. You could say the meeting was “destiny,” because it was a matter of right place, right time. If we hadn’t known the same people, I might never have gotten the opportunity to interview.
But when I walked into the room for the interview, I was prepared. I had a strong resume and ideas on how I could add value to their operation. If I hadn’t worked so hard, I probably would’ve been passed on for another candidate.
I always come back to that old saying: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” You have to be ready when opportunities arise if you want to take advantage of them.
Hard work is a big part of being able to reach your goals and become successful. I think hard work is a major key to success than leaning solely on the idea you are destined for greatness.
Great things will, and do happen to those that work hard, say yes to opportunities, and are optimistic. Success often ebbs and flows throughout your career, so there’s no telling how many moments during your lifetime will be considered ‘successful’ based on the perceptions of others and also what you define as success, too
The key to success is a combination of the two, as you can’t make it with just one and not the other – *The American Dream is to bring yourself up from poverty to make a name and a success story of yourself. But the American Dream tells you about the hard-working part of the dream only, which is important.
Hard work and perseverance are what get you through the rough times. Someone who doesn’t have the drive, when down on luck, is going to quit, and whatever success they might have gained would be lost. But it would be a lie to say that all it takes for any one person to make it is determination.
That’s not enough.
Luck or fate plays a huge part of succeeding in any fashion. Want to be a famous movie star? Good looks and talent will get you a long way, but if you don’t get that ‘lucky break’, you may spend the rest of your life in obscurity, struggling as an artist.
Want to be the leader in health innovation? Having intelligent, and creative people on your team will get you that major breakthrough. But if you don’t have the money to hire them, that’ll never happen.
And by the way, how do you get the money? Probably through a lot of hard work – and a lot of luck. Getting someone to invest in you can be all about timing and if your timing’s off, the money disappears in a poof of smoke. That timing is *luck* and not hard work.
My argument is that you need both to truly make it. I believe to an extent that you can make your own luck – keep pushing, even when things don’t work out; be annoyingly persistent, even when someone says no the first time; redesign your product or rework your pitch until it’s what someone wants to see. That being said, sometimes it is as simple as being in the right place at the right time.
With regards to someone being successful – I truly believe with every ounce of my body and mind that hard work will ALWAYS be a major key to success than destiny. I believe too many people just sit back and wait or believe that some kind of destiny or luck is going to take over and help them achieve more in life versus putting in the work that is needed to both learn and grow.
Most people refuse to do the hard work needed to change their current situation and I have seen this time and time again even with friends and family and even myself at one point. It wasn’t until I started to take control of my own life and destiny that things changed.
In the past, I relied on destiny to carry me but it wasn’t until I put in the hard work needed to learn in order for me to grow. I believe in order to get to the next level of your life, you need to get a little dirty. And by that, I mean putting in the time and effort to learn new things, skills, mindset to move past your obstacles. There is something about doing it yourself and going through the trials and tribulations/failures that seem to teach the best lessons in life.
In my experience, both hard work and destiny are the keys to success. Now, when people mention destiny, they often talk about out-of-the-blue opportunities that emerge and make you successful in a day. Reality is quite different though.
Your baseline has to be hard work. When I was deciding on my career path, I knew that I wanted a business of my own. I had no idea when this would be possible, but I worked hard towards achieving my goals. Every course I took, every job position taught me something I needed to be successful on my own. Sometimes I’d spend mornings working in the office and evenings watching online courses. My mission was to make as many connections so that I have a big community to support me when I launch my business.
Here comes the destiny moment. At one point, I found out about a company that needed someone to create and run a financial website. Along with the IT part, this person would be in charge of founding a small team and providing financial advice to businesses in the long run.
The opportunity seemed perfect and I immediately got in touch with the company’s chief executive officer (CEO). After just one month I began creating content for my website and managed a team of young, talented financial writers.
Some said it was destiny. However, I believe I created my own opportunity. The person who referred me to the CEO was a friend from a conference. My desire to meet as many people as possible paid off and opened the door for me to succeed.
I’ve started 6 businesses, and out of which 4 are still working and profitable, thanks to my hard work. As for the two that failed, there were multiple reasons, one of them being poor timing and lack of insight into what the competition was planning at the same time as my launch.
While you can’t control destiny, you can directly influence how much work gets put into your business.
It can certainly be a relief to believe in destiny, and there are circumstances where hard work alone may not be enough to succeed. But I firmly believe that hard work is a major key to success than destiny.
It all starts with how you define success, which is a choice you make as an individual. For me, success means using my skills and strengths to make a living while also making the world a better place. As the owner and lead attorney at my own law firm for 20 years, I feel I have succeeded in establishing a strong legal career that enables me to help others during a difficult time in their life.
Hard work was the major key to my success. Earning my J.D. required many long hours and late nights studying, writing, researching, and practicing in order to succeed at that first step on my chosen career path. I do not think I was destined to start my own law firm—in fact, I got my start working for the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office and a large personal injury firm after earning my degree. I could have easily continued to work for other law offices and firms, but I wanted to put my hard work toward starting my own firm, where I could choose to practice several different areas of the law and prioritize individualized attention on each of my cases.
Through hard work and perseverance, I was able to achieve success on my own terms. I believe taking your destiny into your own hands is the best way to experience success.
To give destiny a fighting chance, I’m going to replace it with “genetics” – that which we’re born with that determine much of our lives whether or not we like it.
Two important elements to consider when answering this question are the kind of success we’re talking about and the time at which it’s happening. For example, hard work can be glorified when considering those who work endless hours on Wall Street. Hard work is necessary to keep plugging away. Without it, these people wouldn’t have job success, and at first glance, the work they’re taking part in is all learned and doesn’t have anything to do with genetic gifts.
If we’re talking about child athletes, however, genetics is clearly a more determining factor of success not only because children grow at different rates, thus giving an advantage to the biggest and strongest kids. But because even the children who are deploying hard work are so young that they haven’t been exposed to enough time or resources to possibly catch up.
Genetics gives us that early boost; a boost that’s powerful enough not only to influence us physically, but also mentally, as studies show that much of our opinions, beliefs, and values can be influenced genetically. Genetics can even influence our…gulp…work ethic.
That’s right. In psychology, our personalities are often described in reference to the Big Five, which are five personality traits that dictate the vast majority of who we are. Within these five personality traits is conscientiousness, which work-ethic falls under.
In the long run, hard work is clearly more effective than genetics. But for those who understand genetics, and therefore, “destiny”, it’s hard to argue that the hard work some people are willing to take part in is not the result of yet another genetic boost that’s just harder to measure.
Hard work and destiny both play a critical role as keys to ‘success’. While destiny provides the opportunity for a person to be successful, hard work is almost always necessary in order to recognize the opportunity and be able to translate that opportunity into success.
While a person can get lucky and be successful even without hard work, it is important to remember that the very definition of success is somewhat subjective and therefore has a personal component associated with the identity and character of an individual.
My vote for the key to success is for *hard work* 100%!
If I were to agree that destiny, often called fate, was the main factor in determining success in life then I would be considered an underachiever or failure in today’s society.
My family came to America to escape the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. My mother, siblings, and parents were dirt poor arriving here, knowing no English, had no connections, privilege, and family. My mother worked the fields in Fillmore, UT picking mushrooms to support her family. She was forced to marry a man 15 years her senior to help her parents secure some financial stability, only to find out he was having an affair.
She became a single mother of two who worked two full-time low-end jobs to make ends meet and going to school to learn English. She, my brother, and I slept in the basement of her younger sister’s house for years, and it was embarrassing for her as she couldn’t provide on her own. Some of our relatives and even my mother herself wondered if she had done something in her past life to deal with all of this suffering to survive in America.
If it was destiny, my mom would have given up on all of this. Tapped into the welfare system for assistance. Jumped into another marriage for shoddy stability and wouldn’t take the steps needed to become an American citizen. But, through her hard work, she is successful.
She learned how to write, and read in English. She didn’t settle and met a man with a good heart later in her life, and overcame her fears and applied to be a US citizen. Her hard work ethic, tenacity, and determination to thrive during difficult times has guided me throughout my tough life as well.
I don’t know any other way but to put in hard work – day in and day out – (and prayer) to reach my goal of earning universities degrees (I failed classes left and right because academics was very hard for me) and finally got my Master’s Degree in Community Health Education, creating my own online business (despite lacking the know-how), and overcoming my fair share of failure and judgment from others in starting my own lifestyle blog where I share personal stories and offer helpful tips to inspire women to go for it and shine in your own skin.
Yes, hard work always wins! The universe pays you back. Success is not based on fate but on the daily efforts you put in.
It has been my experience that when I work to achieve something, be it media coverage for a client, getting an article published, or promoting my online business, I achieve success because I actually did the work.
Of course, it doesn’t happen every time, but still, I find that I get better results than just sitting around and bemoaning that things aren’t working the way I want. In the end, if you want success, you have to put the work in or else you won’t get results.
Years back, I found myself driving an hour twice a day for a decent job that I didn’t hate. The drive took its toll as the rain, snow, and time in the car felt tedious. So, I set out to improve my circumstance.
I researched whether I could replicate the work I did in my own county in Virginia. Luckily for me, I could, and so I made a plan and approached a non-profit doing the same work. After many months of preparation, grant writing, and meetings with community members, I was able to write a grant, interview, and accept the offer for work that I created, doing the work that I love.
When circumstances and grant funding changed, I made another move, this time across the country to Hawaii. After many trials and tribulations, I decided it was time to write a book to empower people to find love and improve their lives, regardless of whether they are in a relationship or single.
A year and a half later, filled with focused writing while working full time, I completed my first self-published book, Love is Crazy – Lessons in Love: Creating Happy Ever After. Getting the word out is the next trick. I have also utilized Jack Canfield’s Bestseller Blueprint’s suggestion to get an awesome endorsement from an Oprah TV guest and The Secret Book and Movie contributor, Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith. He said: Uma is not merely a seeker of love, a writer about love, she is love. And that’s what makes this a trustworthy guide through the labyrinth of love.
So far, I’ve written two books in the series of five upcoming books. This October, I will travel to New York to meet with TV and radio producers and magazine editors to make appointments to share my book talks, which includes live music, as I also sing and play ukulele solo with three local bands.
Through writing, specifically writing a weekly column for local musicians, I’ve made inroads to schedule about ten performances a month on our big Island of Hawaii. That coupled with other part-time jobs, which I enjoy, have helped me to do more and more of what I love: sing, write, travel, and help others improve their lives.
When you never give up on the things you love to do, you can do more and more of them with success and happiness and therefore, create a life you love. In fact, my self-help books offer 10-12 Lessons to improve your life almost immediately, after reading, as each adventure love chapter shares a tip or tool with actionable steps to make positive changes.
Hard work is the key to success for any company. You’ll never be truly successful without it. Even those overnight millionaires with the startup genius had to start somewhere and they toiled to get where they needed.
Those big-name bands played at bars to empty tables and practiced in garages before finally striking gold. Fate may have plans for you, but it’s up to you to bring them to fruition.
I have three full-time jobs in my life right now – high school English teacher, columnist, and graduate writing instructor – besides my other three full-time jobs, wife, mother, and marathoner. So I bet you know which side of this debate my feet are going to fall on for the key to success: Hard work, hard work, and hard work.
In school, my students often analyze whether characters were destined to be great, or whether they created their own destiny. Did Gatsby sell his soul so Daisy would love him, and in the end, did it really make any difference? Did *Romeo and Juliet *think with their heads instead of their hearts? Were they destined to love each other, or were they just two crazy kids rebelling from mom and dad? Was Owen Meany destined to be a hero, or did he believe in his destiny so completely that he became a hero?
In the world of literature, there’s nothing more interesting to explore with a bunch of seventeen-year-olds than self-fulfilling prophecies. They make for great table talk when what you’re reading is old and hundreds of pages long.
Here’s what they think. They think Daisy, not Gatsby, deserved to die. It wasn’t his destiny that made him successful — it was a whole lot of shady gonnegtions with that Meyer Wolfsheim dude that landed him the house in West Egg. Gatsby was just a victim of his circumstances and the careless people that surrounded him. As for Romeo and Juliet, someone should’ve grabbed those fourteen-year-old’s and taken away their phones. A secret wedding, secret wedding night, and a public murder don’t add up to happy-ever-after. Though kids really liked the Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes remake, by the time we got to the tomb, they were ready for it to be over.
On the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, when little Owen Meany sacrificed his life to save those Vietnamese children, there wasn’t a dry eye in the classroom. They all believed that Owen had a clear vision of himself as a hero and that by his unwavering belief in himself, he had created his heroic fate. Be prepared for a lot of sobbing if you ever watch the loosely based film adaptation *Simon Birch. *That hospital scene, in the end, gets kids every time.
In my own life, much like my students conclude in class, the thought of making it big isn’t what keeps me working until one in the morning. What keeps me working is what I’m working for. I believe in my students; I believe in my writing; I believe in helping other people work on their craft. It’s my belief in what I’m working for that keeps me plowing through paper piles, writing for deadlines, and sending my thoughts out into the world. Destiny isn’t a matter of laying back and waiting for good things to happen. We have to be the agents for our own destiny, for good or for naught, and what we sow will always, always be what we reap.
Gatsby, R&J, and Owen could tell you that if they were real people and alive at the time of this writing.
In fact, data has always shown that almost all millionaires and billionaires are self-made. If destiny was the most important component, then more wealthy individuals would have inherited their finances.
Instead, hard work over several decades is what leads to financial success. Let’s look at a doctor, for example. The doctor studied hard in high school to get good grades to go to a good college. Then they studied hard to get into a medical school.
Finally, their reward after a decade of hard work in school is to work 100 hours a week as a resident! It’s only after all a few years as a resident, and paying off hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, will a doctor start to make a significant amount of money.
This path is all hard work and no destiny! One person who completely embodies hard work is Grant Cardone. Grant grew up incredibly poor in Louisiana, was a lifelong drug addict, and nearly beaten to death.
However, at 25 he decided he was going to become rich. He spent decades traveling 300 nights a year to become a world-class sales coach. Today, he invests his money in real estate and is a self-made billionaire. If anyone overcame destiny through hard work, it’s Cardone.
I sometimes think that the key to success requires a bit of both destiny and hard work. I wrote my first book-length project in 1994. It’s 2019 and my first book was just published. In the hard work department, I pitched 108 agents, 134 publishers, and entered 30 contests. But I found the publisher almost by accident.
After numerous rejections (hundreds) from agents and publishers, I researched alternatives. On a crowd-sourced site, I noticed a publisher whose name I hadn’t heard before, Mango, a relatively new player in the publishing game. I went to their site but found no submission guidelines. I filled out the contact form to ask their policy and received a request for a proposal.
Five months later, after Mango had reviewed my full book proposal (the result of much hard work) my luck paid off. In May, Mango released my first book, the running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink.
Timing also plays a role. Call that destiny if you will, but the current interest in mental health issues has boosted my book’s success. I was ready (I’d done enough work). Mango was ready (it was new and eager for fresh voices). And the world was ready (mental health stories were making the news).
If destiny found me, it was due in part to hard work. If I hadn’t been at my desk, destiny would have passed me by.
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