What makes people succeed?

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an_asker
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What makes people succeed?

Post by an_asker » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:35 am

[moderators, please feel free to change the topic, because what I am trying to ask is a very loose one)
Though I make a decent living, I count myself among those not successful. And by successful, I mean making (very) good money.

One thing I've noticed - and this is probably something I inculcated as a kid from my parents (and I, in turn, am probably doing the same with my kids) - is that I try to use good grammar and proper word choice. In so doing, I used to stumble very badly during presentations at graduate school (don't do public speaking any more, as I don't need to). I've noticed the same thing at my work environment as well, where I am super cautious in using the right words/phrase. And as an immigrant, it is tougher than it is for you natives. :-) I have the perception - don't know whether it is right or wrong - that this might be holding me back, as also is the fact that I am not a good salesman, especially in selling myself. :oops:

That said, what I've also noticed is that most folks I've met who are in high positions and are successful (from my point of view) are usually off-the-cuff don't care for grammar types. These folks typically use "your" for "you're", "than" for "then" and so on (or vice versa). I specifically recall this soccer dad business owner who confessed that he had a learning disability, did not do well in school, has only a high school diploma, is not really social, does not like people but is pretty well off in life. What was really weird is that saying all this, he got along much better than I did with the other soccer dads and moms on the team!

Anyway, what I'm trying to get at, after all that meandering, is a) who would you count to be a successful person, and b) are we (or, more specifically, am I) just giving our kids too much of a hard time to do good in verbal communication and social interaction? In other words, are the data points I have come across in life typical or are they bucking the trend?

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coachz
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by coachz » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:11 am

an_asker wrote:[moderators, please feel free to change the topic, because what I am trying to ask is a very loose one)
Though I make a decent living, I count myself among those not successful. And by successful, I mean making (very) good money.

One thing I've noticed - and this is probably something I inculcated as a kid from my parents (and I, in turn, am probably doing the same with my kids) - is that I try to use good grammar and proper word choice. In so doing, I used to stumble very badly during presentations at graduate school (don't do public speaking any more, as I don't need to). I've noticed the same thing at my work environment as well, where I am super cautious in using the right words/phrase. And as an immigrant, it is tougher than it is for you natives. :-) I have the perception - don't know whether it is right or wrong - that this might be holding me back, as also is the fact that I am not a good salesman, especially in selling myself. :oops:

That said, what I've also noticed is that most folks I've met who are in high positions and are successful (from my point of view) are usually off-the-cuff don't care for grammar types. These folks typically use "your" for "you're", "than" for "then" and so on (or vice versa). I specifically recall this soccer dad business owner who confessed that he had a learning disability, did not do well in school, has only a high school diploma, is not really social, does not like people but is pretty well off in life. What was really weird is that saying all this, he got along much better than I did with the other soccer dads and moms on the team!

Anyway, what I'm trying to get at, after all that meandering, is a) who would you count to be a successful person, and b) are we (or, more specifically, am I) just giving our kids too much of a hard time to do good in verbal communication and social interaction? In other words, are the data points I have come across in life typical or are they bucking the trend?


First. "do good" should be "do well". :sharebeer I pride myself in having good grammar and my wife is an amazing spellchecker / proofreader with her mother having a major in English. I don't think being successful has much relation to grammar but more with knowledge, coming from rich families, connections and networking with others in your field, lots of late nights working, constantly pushing to become an expert in your field and then charging for it. I know many rich people with both sophisticated grammar and horrible grammar. Teach your kids good grammar because you are cultured and you want them to be also and don't try to tie a relation to success with it.

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gasman
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by gasman » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:19 am

Some combination of talent, drive, and luck.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Wellfleet » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:22 am

I came from a blue collar family and my first professional job was at a very white collar,full suit every day type company. I did a lot of listening and observing superiors even with small things like how to eat during a business dinner. Learning those skills have been very beneficial working at less formal companies since then.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:22 am

There is no single recipe for success. It is a combination of many factors. Education, location, job sector, choice of major of study, choosing to start your own business or work for someone else, hard work, adaptability, the ability to pick up new things very quickly, networking and a good chunk of luck.

Does being "successful" correlate with being "happy"? Maybe. On another thread, there was a discussion about shooting for 70% happy. Beyond that, you are likely shorting some other side of the equation. Focus on work, family suffers. Focus on family, work suffers. Focus on self and wife suffers. Focus on wife and self suffers. Can't win? 68% happy? :confused
Last edited by bloom2708 on Fri Jul 29, 2016 4:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:42 am

OP,

A successful person know his / her strength. And, he / she pick a career / environment where his / her strength is valued and weaknesses are tolerated. Then, he / she improves his / her strength to be very good. At the same time, improves his / her weakness good enough so that it will not be a hindrance.

Know yourself is the KEY to be successful.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by livesoft » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:47 am

Successful people I know really don't care too much about what others think about them. They don't worry about the failings of other people and certain don't worry about any failings they might have. And they especially don't care if anybody criticizes them. They just get on with being themselves. They have learned the consequences of mistakes and that most mistakes don't have consequences.

And I don't get how when speaking anybody can tell whether you said 'your' or 'you're' or 'there', 'their', or 'they're.'
Last edited by livesoft on Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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just frank
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by just frank » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:48 am

I think it might be a more subtle **cultural** difference than the OP suggests (not that that excusing anything).

That is, everyone alters their speech pattern depending on who they are talking to and the context. Many of us will turn off the 'grammarian' when we are being casual and informal, and this can be part of social bonding....and then these people 'turn it on' when they are in the important meeting.

I see this more as an intergenerational factor (boomer-genX-millenial) myself, but whatever.

Actionable: You have to be good with the 'vernacular' way of speaking if you want to be considered 'fluent' (unconciously) and thus 'friendly'. Native speakers that strictly speak very grammatically are often seen as rigid and limited....not a good goal. Even if you spoke perfect english fluently, you would still stand out all the more for it. I have heard my younger (non native speaker) colleagues discuss watching "the simpson's" a lot as a very valuable guide to vernacular english.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by staythecourse » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:49 am

Great thread and have had MANY internal discussions with the wife and our inner network of friends about this topic. We are nearly all physicians so would qualify under your definition of "successful".

With all the discussions we have had we have found no conclusions. What I have seen that is more prevalent in successful folks is: Ambition, discipline, and not having the fear of failure. I can not tell you how many folks I know who should be successful but aren't due to a fear of failure. Either in relationships or at work. In your short story about yourself I would say the biggest problem is your FEAR of failure. What is the worst that can happen with public speaking? You stumble on a few words and feel like an idiot. It happens. No one dies. But worst is not doing it as it only worsens your anxiety regarding the issue AND prevents you from ever getting better. The ONLY way to improve in anything is practice.

I have children now and think what I want to focus on in raising them. One is about accountability. One is about having drive/ ambition for whatever you choose to do, i.e. don't do it unless you practice to be the best at it. One is confronting fear and failure. EVERYONE in the world fails at one point or another. Falling down is not important it is getting back up after falling down that is most important. That is what teaches you how to approach life. That is the difference of a guy who just works in the same job for 30 yrs. despite hating it vs. the guy who takes a new job across the country for a possibly better job. It may work out or not, but either way it is a learning experience. Can't win a game unless you play in the game.

If I was giving you advice I would say is that great you are not anxious giving lectures, but is that preventing you from having chances at higher income jobs without that experience? More importantly, is that quality of fear of failing influencing other aspects of your life.

Good luck.
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Trader/Investor » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:54 am

And by successful, I mean making (very) good money.

Am I the only one who sees a problem right there?

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coachz
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by coachz » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:55 am

Trader/Investor wrote:And by successful, I mean making (very) good money.

Am I the only one who sees a problem right there?


No. He's just trying to provide context for his question only.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by technovelist » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:55 am

gasman wrote:Some combination of talent, drive, and luck.


+ 1 million.
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:03 am

an_asker wrote:...That said, what I've also noticed is that most folks I've met who are in high positions and are successful (from my point of view) are usually off-the-cuff don't care for grammar types...
Counterexample #1: John C. Bogle, whose net worth is something like $80 million, counts in my book as a reasonable financial success in dollars, and his success is the result of his entrepreneurship and innovation. He is literate and well-spoken.

Counterexample #2: Bill Gates is certainly a financial success, and he, too, is well-spoken and uses good grammar when speaking--apparently off-the cuff--in interviews, like this.

I feel impelled to tell an old joke:

In 1900, a man living on the Lower East Side applies for a job as shamus (caretaker) of the Broome Street Synagogue. But he is rejected, because he is illiterate. So, he takes all his savings, buys a pushcart and begins selling fruit on Bleecker Street. Soon he is expanding, owns a bigger pushcart, then several pushcarts, then a grocery store, then six, then a hundred, and eventually is the billionaire CEO of a national supermarket chain. While being interviewed in his skyscraper office, a secretary interrupts with some things for him to sign. The reporter notices that he signs them with X's and learns that he is illiterate. The reporter says, amazed, "You've achieved so much, and without being able to read or write! Just think, if only you'd been able to read and write, where would you be today?" The man answers "If I'd been able to read or write, today I'd be shamus of the Broome Street Synagogue."

If there's any truth to your generalization, I think it could come from two sources. The joke pertains to point (b).

a) Education and being well-spoken are simply unrelated to business success. They don't help but they don't hurt either. The population of successful people is a varied mix, and sometimes the variety surprises us.

b) People who are well-spoken are probably, for the most part, college-educated (or beyond). This in turn is associated with a family with reasonable financial security, and a somewhat relaxed attitude toward spending time--specifically, spending four years on education. People in that situation do not develop a desperate burning need for financial success as such; they are somewhere in the top layers of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and concerned with "self-actualization." So financial success is prized as a way of keeping score, validation.

The very, very highest levels of "success" are probably occupied disproportionately by the kind of people who have a desperate fire in their belly for it, and can't even imagine marking time getting an MBA or even an undergraduate degree when they could be using those six years to start businesses. Or people who have been so seared by poverty that they accumulate wealth without limits because no amount is ever enough to make them feel completely secure.

Anyone who can possibly be content with "enough" is not going to reach the very highest reaches of financial success.
Last edited by nisiprius on Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:17 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Trader/Investor » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:03 am

coachz wrote:
Trader/Investor wrote:And by successful, I mean making (very) good money.

Am I the only one who sees a problem right there?


No. He's just trying to provide context for his question only.


OK, my bad, I can understand that. So maybe a topic for another time on happiness. But I am no happier now debt free with a seven figure cash net worth, lots of friends, the greatest lady on the planet, and super health than I was 40 years ago when I was perpetually dirt poor with a negative net worth, no girlfriend. and not many friends. I guess the only constant is super health.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by an_asker » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:32 am

coachz wrote:
Trader/Investor wrote:And by successful, I mean making (very) good money.

Am I the only one who sees a problem right there?


No. He's just trying to provide context for his question only.

True. Let me rephrase from
Though I make a decent living, I count myself among those not successful. And by successful, I mean making (very) good money.
to
Though I make a decent living, I don't count myself among those who make (very) good money.

BTW, I also did ask, later in the OP:
Anyway, what I'm trying to get at, after all that meandering, is a) who would you count to be a successful person

Look, I am definitely frustrated that I don't make as much money as I should be making (based on self assessment, of course!). But it is not like I am up all night wondering why I am not doing so either.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by batpot » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:55 am

an_asker wrote:the fact that I am not a good salesman, especially in selling myself. :oops:


This is key to me.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by goingup » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:01 am

an_asker wrote:One thing I've noticed - and this is probably something I inculcated as a kid from my parents (and I, in turn, am probably doing the same with my kids) - is that I try to use good grammar and proper word choice. In so doing, I used to stumble very badly during presentations at graduate school (don't do public speaking any more, as I don't need to). I've noticed the same thing at my work environment as well, where I am super cautious in using the right words/phrase. And as an immigrant, it is tougher than it is for you natives. :-) I have the perception - don't know whether it is right or wrong - that this might be holding me back, as also is the fact that I am not a good salesman, especially in selling myself. :oops:

an_asker wrote: said, what I've also noticed is that most folks I've met who are in high positions and are successful (from my point of view) are usually off-the-cuff don't care for grammar types.

I suspect you are asking us why you are not more successful, and what we would suggest you do to make your kids more successful.

Successful leaders are usually good speakers. I wouldn't say they are "grammar" types. Good speakers can articulate thoughts, convey meaning, and show mastery of information. Good speakers show confidence.

If you stumble or hesitate while speaking you may be projecting either lack of confidence, or a lack of knowledge about the topic you're speaking about.

Consider joining a Toast Masters club https://www.toastmasters.org to improve your speaking skills. Improving your skill in this area would be an excellent example for your kids. :)

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by livesoft » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:15 am

There is a real danger in assuming one has to be a perfectionist in grammar and syntax. At some point, it becomes inhibitory.

My kids learned to write in elementary school. The program was called something like "I love to write!" and at first they were not corrected on spelling and grammar. They just had to write something every day and get words on paper. Then, they were introduced to editing. So after they wrote something, the next day or so, they would re-read it and make corrections. They got used to not worrying about writing and grammar and speaking. They got used to making mistakes, proofreading, and eventually correcting them. That has become the normal way of doing things for them.

The public school system also had kids do presentations in front of the class from kindergarten on. Sort of public speaking built right into the curriculum. First graders simply recited simply poems that they had memorized at first. Every year, the assignments got longer and more complicated along with original work such as an oral book report. But no one was tasked with reciting the Declaration of Independence in first grade.

As for other instances of trying to be perfect .... One just has to watch a televised sports championship. Players are the tops in their profession if they get to the championship game. Yet they still make bone-headed mistakes and survive. All they can do is shrug and carry on. My kids played sports and lost games, but shrugged those losses off. After all, even the best players in the profession still make mistakes.

So schools and sports can train (force?) kids to get up in front of their peers and perform.

So I am not writing that one should forget about trying to not make mistakes. I'm saying that they should not hold you back and you should not worry too much about them if you have a chance to correct them.
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DaftInvestor
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:57 am

You need some talent but you need a lot of drive and really good work ethic to be successful.
I've seen people with drive out-work someone smarter than them many times into more successful positions. I'm not the brightest bulb in the factory but I work hard and its got me into positions ahead of other folks a lot smarter than I am.

Work-ethic is one of the best things you can teach your children. A lot of new grads don't have enough of it these days.

(EDIT: On another thread I saw someone point out to the OP the difference between the word "Lose" and "Loose". The OP used the latter even though he meant the former. We all knew what he meant and the dialog went on for a dozen or so posts before one anal-grammar person felt the need to point out the difference. Who really cares - the person with the better content will outshine the person with the better grammar in every situation).
Last edited by DaftInvestor on Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Toons » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:59 am

Successful people I know ,thrive on that which doesn't work out.
They just treat it as a Learning experience and a stepping stone to get
where they want to be.
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by akblizzard » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:18 pm

I agree with the post above about joining Toastmasters, or get involved with some activity that forces you to speak in front of others (teaching, training, coaching, etc). I was an adjunct at a local college for a while, that was interesting.

Side note, great leaders I've known could communicate thoughts and knowledge well, and were able to communicate well with all levels of the org chart. A good leader can talk to anyone and make them feel understood and appreciated.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by IFRider » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:26 pm

an_asker wrote:Anyway, what I'm trying to get at, after all that meandering, is a) who would you count to be a successful person, and b) are we (or, more specifically, am I) just giving our kids too much of a hard time to do good in verbal communication and social interaction? In other words, are the data points I have come across in life typical or are they bucking the trend?


I would encourage the OP to read The Millionaire Next Door. In my opinion, this book provides insight into both of these questions.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by llcoolln » Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:46 pm

In so doing, I used to stumble very badly during presentations at graduate school (don't do public speaking any more, as I don't need to). I've noticed the same thing at my work environment as well, where I am super cautious in using the right words/phrase. And as an immigrant, it is tougher than it is for you natives. :-) I have the perception - don't know whether it is right or wrong - that this might be holding me back, as also is the fact that I am not a good salesman, especially in selling myself.


I agree that it is a combination of hard work, luck, and drive. This section on the OP's post really stuck out to me though and what other posters said about knowing yourself is right on. In addition to knowing yourself, you also have to be able to put yourself outside of your comfort zone and work on the skills you do not do as well at. Encourage your children to get outside of their comfort zone too. Join Toastmasters, put yourself in awkward social situations. I am not naturally a good salesman either, but I got a part time job in retail sales in my early twenties to help overcome that and practiced/wrote elevator speeches to refine my language so that selling myself became more natural. I'm not great at it still nor do I like it, but it's always a work in progress for me.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by inbox788 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:13 pm

Success is such a broad topic that there will be numerous factors that are involved, and when you limit it to financial success, and when you're talking about very high amounts, say hundreds of millions or billions, then one factor may be greed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEaJYeRpl1g

Like others have mentioned, hard work or luck may have something to do with it. Do you consider someone who inherits a lot of money successful? What if they take that money and build upon it? And are they more or less successful than someone with nearly nothing and building a lower amount of wealth?

If you listen to popular psychology, one of the latest factors being touted is grit, expounding the ideas of passion and perseverance. It's a good idea, but just another factor, and associated with other similar past ideas (drive, determination, etc.). And that may be giving way to new ideas involving imagination and innovation.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_an ... _this.html

As far as grammar, it's useful in being a good communicator, and good communications is often a prerequisite to success.

Let's not forget education and ethics as important factors. So in the end, it's many factors and not any one that will determine financial success. And most important, financial success in and of itself ins't really success.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by fpr4 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:19 pm

an_asker wrote:[moderators, please feel free to change the topic, because what I am trying to ask is a very loose one)
Though I make a decent living, I count myself among those not successful. And by successful, I mean making (very) good money.

One thing I've noticed - and this is probably something I inculcated as a kid from my parents (and I, in turn, am probably doing the same with my kids) - is that I try to use good grammar and proper word choice. In so doing, I used to stumble very badly during presentations at graduate school (don't do public speaking any more, as I don't need to). I've noticed the same thing at my work environment as well, where I am super cautious in using the right words/phrase. And as an immigrant, it is tougher than it is for you natives. :-) I have the perception - don't know whether it is right or wrong - that this might be holding me back, as also is the fact that I am not a good salesman, especially in selling myself. :oops:

That said, what I've also noticed is that most folks I've met who are in high positions and are successful (from my point of view) are usually off-the-cuff don't care for grammar types. These folks typically use "your" for "you're", "than" for "then" and so on (or vice versa). I specifically recall this soccer dad business owner who confessed that he had a learning disability, did not do well in school, has only a high school diploma, is not really social, does not like people but is pretty well off in life. What was really weird is that saying all this, he got along much better than I did with the other soccer dads and moms on the team!

Anyway, what I'm trying to get at, after all that meandering, is a) who would you count to be a successful person, and b) are we (or, more specifically, am I) just giving our kids too much of a hard time to do good in verbal communication and social interaction? In other words, are the data points I have come across in life typical or are they bucking the trend?


It's probably assertiveness. Or willingness to take on risk. Or being intelligent. Or unwillingness to settle.

I highly doubt poor grammar is any kind of correlant to success. If it were, facebook would be full of rich people.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by warner25 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:40 pm

I've noted that many of the (self-reported) richest/ highest income participants on this forum write in a distinct manner. In particular, they write extremely short sentences and don't use first-person pronouns.

For example, "Have $5M from recent sale of business. Now earn $400k consulting 10 hours a week. Getting worn out. Wondering if it's enough to retire..."

I've always thought it has something to do with strong egos, or their time is really too valuable to be wasted writing pronouns.

I also suspect that there may be an inverse correlation between precise attention-to-detail (more associated with introverts) and soft people skills (more extroverted). My guess is that more extroverted people, who make more friends in the right places, make more money (on-average, assuming all else is equal).
Last edited by warner25 on Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:42 pm

warner25 wrote:I've noted that many of the (self-reported) richest/ highest income participants on this forum write in a distinct manner. In particular, they write extremely short sentences and don't use first-person pronouns.

For example, "Have $5M from recent sale of business. Now earn $400k consulting 10 hours a week. Getting worn out. Wondering if it's enough to retire..."

I've always thought it has something to do with strong egos, or their time is really too valuable to be wasted writing pronouns.

I also suspect that there may be a slight inverse correlation between precise attention-to-detail (more associated with introverts) and soft people skills (more extroverted). My guess is that more extroverted people, who make more friends in the right places, make more money (on-average, assuming all else is equal).


Think this is overanalysis.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by fpr4 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:02 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
warner25 wrote:I've noted that many of the (self-reported) richest/ highest income participants on this forum write in a distinct manner. In particular, they write extremely short sentences and don't use first-person pronouns.

For example, "Have $5M from recent sale of business. Now earn $400k consulting 10 hours a week. Getting worn out. Wondering if it's enough to retire..."

I've always thought it has something to do with strong egos, or their time is really too valuable to be wasted writing pronouns.

I also suspect that there may be a slight inverse correlation between precise attention-to-detail (more associated with introverts) and soft people skills (more extroverted). My guess is that more extroverted people, who make more friends in the right places, make more money (on-average, assuming all else is equal).


Think this is overanalysis.


Bravo

finite_difference
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by finite_difference » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:08 pm

gasman wrote:Some combination of talent, drive, and luck.


++.

In my opinion it's not enough to be smart. You have to work hard, too. I'm still working on that part :). For my generation I think I have an OK work ethic (Gen Y) but I can't hold a candle to baby boomers. Luck definitely plays a significant part, too.

Even Einstein, one of my personal heroes, and who was probably the greatest scientist of all time, I think worked pretty hard, although he may not have considered it work.
Last edited by finite_difference on Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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warner25
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by warner25 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:09 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:Think this is overanalysis.


So you must be very wealthy.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by MossySF » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:16 pm

warner25 wrote:For example, "Have $5M from recent sale of business. Now earn $400k consulting 10 hours a week. Getting worn out. Wondering if it's enough to retire..."


This is the writing style for powerpoint presentations, email bullet points, resumes, etc.

You have a limited amount of space so you chop off the pronouns on the assumption that your audience knows it's you or your team.

swaption
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by swaption » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:35 pm

You want to be liked
You want people to like working with you
You want to be constructive
You want to be engaged
You want to be effective and productive
You want to be cooperative
You want to care about the effectiveness of your group and your organization
You want to be attentive and communicate effectively

All of the above will make you highly effective, much more important than internal considerations like how you speak. Think about your soccer dad friend in the above terms.

To go even further, develop leadership skills. While the above make you better, an effective leader can others better. This is not motivational bs, this is real.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:49 pm

an_asker wrote:[moderators, please feel free to change the topic, because what I am trying to ask is a very loose one)
Though I make a decent living, I count myself among those not successful. And by successful, I mean making (very) good money.


I think if you define success as making a lot of money, you could put in more hours. For example, some people I know stop spending as much time with family and friends, on their hobbies, exercising, etc. They use their time on things that generate income instead. They simply sacrifice for money. Most people do this to some extent but we each define how much wealth is important to us and what we are willing to do to get it. You said you make a decent living. Something to think about is how much more you would like to earn and toward what end.

an_asker wrote:I've noticed the same thing at my work environment as well, where I am super cautious in using the right words/phrase


Relax. Your words need to be articulate enough to get your ideas across. They don't need to be perfect. Having to think of the precise words to use in every sentence before saying something isn't a fun way to live. If you have a thought or great idea, share it with the world. If you stumble with your words a bit, it's okay. Most people will hear your meaning. Some will only notice the grammar mistake but those people have problems of their own to deal with like suffering from tunnel-vision. No one's perfect!


an_asker wrote:That said, what I've also noticed is that most folks I've met who are in high positions and are successful (from my point of view) are usually off-the-cuff don't care for grammar types. These folks typically use "your" for "you're", "than" for "then" and so on (or vice versa). I specifically recall this soccer dad business owner who confessed that he had a learning disability, did not do well in school, has only a high school diploma, is not really social, does not like people but is pretty well off in life. What was really weird is that saying all this, he got along much better than I did with the other soccer dads and moms on the team!


It sounds like the soccer dad might be chummy; based on your description, he sure seems talkative for someone who says he doesn't like people! I get the impression that he'd have just as many friends whether or not he uses "your" and "you're" correctly.

an_asker wrote:Anyway, what I'm trying to get at, after all that meandering, is a) who would you count to be a successful person, and b) are we (or, more specifically, am I) just giving our kids too much of a hard time to do good in verbal communication and social interaction? In other words, are the data points I have come across in life typical or are they bucking the trend?


a) I would count someone to be successful if they are happy. For most people, this includes having enough enough health, relationships, money, and time to do the things that one enjoys (this is not a complete list). Personally, to me, making a positive impact on the world is important as well. Money by itself is usually not enough.

b) I have no idea. If you're talking to your kids about the topic here and there, you're probably fine. If you're nagging them to death, maybe scale back.

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Will do good
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Will do good » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:58 pm

warner25 wrote:
DaftInvestor wrote:Think this is overanalysis.


So you must be very wealthy.


+1 :D

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grap0013
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by grap0013 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:37 pm

livesoft wrote:Successful people I know really don't care too much about what others think about them. They don't worry about the failings of other people and certain don't worry about any failings they might have. And they especially don't care if anybody criticizes them. They just get on with being themselves. They have learned the consequences of mistakes and that most mistakes don't have consequences.

And I don't get how when speaking anybody can tell whether you said 'your' or 'you're' or 'there', 'their', or 'they're.'


+1. I lump that all into "perseverance". Add in some hard work and passion and then luck matters less and less because people will notice the quantity and quality of work you are cranking out.
There are no guarantees, only probabilities.

financial.freedom
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by financial.freedom » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:42 pm

It's called "grit," some interesting studies on this trait and how it relates to successful people.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by LarryAllen » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:50 pm

There are so many different avenues to "success." Money is an easy thing to focus on of course.

I would say there are very few successful people who have not worked very hard at some point in life. I know I have worked harder than most people the last 20 years and it's put me ahead of most at least money wise.

It helps to have a head start. For example no student loans for me.

It helps to come from a family of other successful people. College AND grad school were foregone conclusions in my household.

Being confident of yourself is important but not required for all successful people but it sure doesn't hurt. My business boomed when my confidence started to boom.

Lastly, there is some luck in there. Maybe it was good choices but I had a couple of choices that were 50/50 for me and it worked out well. Probably some luck.

Most importantly, stating the obvious, is to not make money/stuff as the definition of success. With that there is always someone more successful.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:05 pm

OP,

I might be overstating the OBVIOUS. But, here it goes.

People are successful because

A) They know what they want in their lives. They have a goal.

B) They are willing to put in the effort to reach their goals.

C) They persevere in pursuing their goals in spite of many challenges in life.

So, do you know what you want in your life? Are you putting the effort to reach your goal?

It is very simple but hard.

The bigger question which I have no answer of. Why somebody has IT while others don't? I know and I can tell some people will be successful unless a rock fell from sky and killed them instantly. They can fail many many times but they will keep on going forward. They will die trying. They are unstoppable.

KlangFool

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Pharmacist » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:15 am

Drive, discipline, skill, and talent.

Presenting yourself in a professional manner (good grammar) might lead to a good impression and may even lead to opportunity but it does not cause success by itself. You have to be an asset to your employer, or if you own a business you have to offer a product or service that people will buy.

Motivating factors may be family, financial independence, or simply a particular lifestyle.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by technovelist » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:47 am

grap0013 wrote:
livesoft wrote:Successful people I know really don't care too much about what others think about them. They don't worry about the failings of other people and certain don't worry about any failings they might have. And they especially don't care if anybody criticizes them. They just get on with being themselves. They have learned the consequences of mistakes and that most mistakes don't have consequences.

And I don't get how when speaking anybody can tell whether you said 'your' or 'you're' or 'there', 'their', or 'they're.'


+1. I lump that all into "perseverance". Add in some hard work and passion and then luck matters less and less because people will notice the quantity and quality of work you are cranking out.


I'm a great believer in the old saying, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by david99 » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:31 pm

I'm currently reading, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert). He has some great ideas on what it takes to be successful. In it he states, "goals are for losers and systems are for winners. People who seem to have good luck are often the people who have a system that allows luck to find them." He points out that Warren Buffet has a system for investing. Personally, I believe that it's fine to have goals, but we need good systems in place to achieve our goals. For example, most of us on this board want to make our money grow and our system is to invest in a balanced mix of low cost index funds. I've actually never set a goal for how much savings I wanted, I've just used the Boglehead system for investing and it's worked very well for me. Anyway it's a good book to read and has some great ideas on what it takes to be successful. Incidentally, Adams failed with most of his entrepreneurial ideas but obviously hit it big with Dilbert.
Last edited by david99 on Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Tycoon
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Tycoon » Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:45 pm

Fear of failure is a powerful motivator.
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Mrxyz
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Mrxyz » Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:07 pm


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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:20 pm

I haven't really seen a definition of "success". There's probably such a range that trying to find any commonality is tough.

Take my case. I have worked in engineering for over 35 years, about half in software. I have found that to be enjoyable and not overly taxing work. I have a lot saved for retirement and decent pension coming, which will allow to probably retire early next year before age 60. Is that success? I kind of think so. If it is, I can tell you I was never driven and mostly didn't work that hard. I had a lot of native smarts and good training, but have always been pretty laid back. Had I worked full-bore during the time, I'd be a higher grade level and have more money. So by not achieving that am I no longer a success?

Earl
This week's fortune cookie: "The stock market may be your ticket to success." I sure hope so!

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by Better2bWise » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:46 pm

I believe successful people have an understanding of successful behaviors and require themselves to reach those behaviors.

Lou Holts said in an interview that he gathers with his family for one week per year and each night for an hour every family member describes goals of the nightly category. He also reviews three principles that he also shared through his career with his football players: 1. Just do the right thing. 2. Do everything to the best of your ability with the time allotted. 3. Show people you care. http://www.uexpress.com/harvey-mackay/2 ... es-of-life

I take Lou Holts ideas and simplify them into two principles that give me the ability to gain trust from people within 2 minutes. Demonstrate competence and Practice kindness and caring. People will decide within 2 minutes if they can trust you and that might be the only chance you have to make a first impression.

I would look into the concept of emotional intelligence. I think many difficult situations are avoided by people who are strategic and centered even through tough times in their career and life. I believe many of these traits were taught to me by my family and my Christian beliefs. http://www.fastcompany.com/3047455/hit- ... successful

My last advice is "have ambition and dream of greater things" even after you become comfortable in the tasks of your job. If you do your best long enough you get better at the tasks and the job gets easier or "routine". You can become bored and to others only appear dissatisfied and slow or lazy with your steady pace at work. If you want to advance, don't get caught up in the culture at work who only care to do the routine at work and go home. You must show that your worth is always increasing at work with additional tasks or demand for more responsibility. Over the long run you will be remembered for a better position at your job or good reference for a position at another company. The next step up the ladder could also be additional education for a higher level position. All of these include risk and hard work. http://www.success.com/blog/5-daily-hab ... ful-people

drkathryn
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by drkathryn » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:53 pm

All what is said here and ability to delay gratification.

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JoMoney
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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by JoMoney » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:43 pm

By definition, to "succeed" requires a goal... but it may be that the 'goal' changes or is set retroactive after having achieved it. Not sure how that's helpful though, I can count any result as a success if I don't care what the result is. If I throw a dart it will succeed at hitting something. You hear the one about the guy who fires some gunshots at the side of a barn, then paints a target centered on the tightest cluster of hits and claims to be a sharpshooter?

I think this is interesting:
david99 wrote:I'm currently reading, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert). He has some great ideas on what it takes to be successful. In it he states, "goals are for losers and systems are for winners. People who seem to have good luck are often the people who have a system that allows luck to find them."...

It makes me think of all the various products that were a "success" at doing something different then what the inventor intended.
i.e. Play-Doh was invented as a cleaning product before kids started playing with it, cyanoacrylate (super glue) tried and failed at various other uses before being 'discovered' as a successful glue, Listerine was offered as a cure for gonorrhea and all sorts of other things, Coca-Cola was a result of John Pemberton trying to find an opium-free alternative to his morphine addiction.
...So maybe it is 'ok' to retroactively set the goal and call it a "success".
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:58 pm

Nothing makes them succeed. They choose to succeed.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:31 pm

an_asker wrote:One thing I've noticed - and this is probably something I inculcated as a kid from my parents (and I, in turn, am probably doing the same with my kids) - is that I try to use good grammar and proper word choice.


This is commendable.

an_asker wrote:In so doing, I used to stumble very badly during presentations at graduate school (don't do public speaking any more, as I don't need to).


Making presentations is important for one's career, even if it's not required in the job description.

an_asker wrote:And as an immigrant, it is tougher than it is for you natives. :-)


I have a strong accent. When I try to monitor it, it stifles my speech. And so I let it be and focus on improving my writing.

When I first became a teaching assistant I was terrified of facing a class of undergraduates, but I had to do it, I did not have a choice. And so I tried to compensate for my verbal inadequacy with detailed slides and jokes. After enough practice, I started to like it and to volunteer making presentations and teaching seminars. I sincerely enjoy it, and I volunteer making presentations even in retirement.

an_asker wrote: b) are we (or, more specifically, am I) just giving our kids too much of a hard time to do good in verbal communication and social interaction? In other words, are the data points I have come across in life typical or are they bucking the trend?


I think you should insist on your children using proper verbal and written communications. Even if some of your peers with poor grammar are financially successful. Even if your children's peers are less scrupulous in their communications.

You children aside, I strongly recommend that you get into practice of publicly speaking. You can start in a less threatening environment than your office. Check out Toastmasters in your area. If you have several clubs, visit each to see which fits you best. If you are willing to try something risque, take an improvisation comedy class. Seriously!

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: What makes people succeed?

Post by MondayMorningQB » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:15 pm

JoMoney wrote:By definition, to "succeed" requires a goal... but it may be that the 'goal' changes or is set retroactive after having achieved it. Not sure how that's helpful though, I can count any result as a success if I don't care what the result is. If I throw a dart it will succeed at hitting something. You hear the one about the guy who fires some gunshots at the side of a barn, then paints a target centered on the tightest cluster of hits and claims to be a sharpshooter?

I think this is interesting:
david99 wrote:I'm currently reading, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert). He has some great ideas on what it takes to be successful. In it he states, "goals are for losers and systems are for winners. People who seem to have good luck are often the people who have a system that allows luck to find them."...

It makes me think of all the various products that were a "success" at doing something different then what the inventor intended.
i.e. Play-Doh was invented as a cleaning product before kids started playing with it, cyanoacrylate (super glue) tried and failed at various other uses before being 'discovered' as a successful glue, Listerine was offered as a cure for gonorrhea and all sorts of other things, Coca-Cola was a result of John Pemberton trying to find an opium-free alternative to his morphine addiction.
...So maybe it is 'ok' to retroactively set the goal and call it a "success".


I'm glad to have read this post. I have never liked the concept of "goals". I like PLANS. I'm going to do X and this is how I'm going to do it. Period.

To original poster - there is great advice in this thread. Read it and implement it.

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