How did you become successful?

Mia and I went to the Book Lounge on Roeland street today. They read children’s stories at 11:00ish and serve cupcakes.. which look alarmingly similar to the cupcakes at A is for Apple.. maybe alarming because I recognised the cupcakes in kids bookshops.

While Mia was.. doing what Mia does, I was reading a bit of Malcolm Gladwell‘s latest book: Outliers.

He pretty much ponders why some people are successful.. very successful. I read the part about Bill Joy and Ice Hockey players.. where he explains the Matthew Effect: “For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance. But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

The way I see it, he suggests society creates incremental advantages for some people.. this builds over time, they are motivated and work hard because of this series of advantages and they become very successful. He pretty much says there is no such thing as the “self made man”.

Not a bad theory. I can relate to the Bill Joy example about having access to computers and spending hours tinkering with computers. I could also see how I’ve built up many hours of entrepreneurial thinking and business experience.. but that’s not so easy to pin access to MBA books.

This series of incremental advantages reminded me of the preferential attachment theory.. those who are popular become more popular. To be honest, the first thing that came to mind was.. now that we know about these life exploits we should try and apply them (-:

It seems Gladwell does not see it this way. He seems to suggest we should level the playing field.

Maybe I’ll buy the book.

Ok, that was a long intro… the points I wanted to make were:

1) I think the story of your success is more important than the level of your success.

2) The story of your success is something you can’t change.

I see lots of big houses and expensive cars around Cape Town. Many rich people around. I have to wonder how many of them made money from things like diamond smuggling, corruption, selling dodgy pet food, keeping criminals out of jail or selling Microsoft software.

It must be a real annoyance driving around in your black BMW M6 thinking, man.. if only I could tell people how I made all this money.

1 thought on “How did you become successful?

  1. I like this very much….we have had many such discussions in the past, and I enjoy your perspective.

    glad to hear you’re buying your car

    Everyone loves someone who ran with the ball

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