Quora Question: Why isn’t everyone successful? Is it because only a few of us are selected before hand to be?
Success has nothing to do with being selected in the sense you raise. Success does have to do with a combination of factors some of which you can control and others of which you have no control.
Your genetics: Your genetic makeup is the result of the union of genetic material from your father and mother and this is a given. You can’t change your genetics, so this is a factor out of your control.
Your environment: Genetic traits get expressed differently in different environments and while this factor is not completely in your control there are aspects of it that you can control.
A major part this your environment that will impact your success is the network of people you engage with. Depending on what field you are in there may be geographic areas that are better suited to work in and seeking out those environments could make a positive contribution to your success.
Your talent: Part of this is the result of genetics over which you have no control. There are things that you are disposed to be better at than others and there are things that you are less well adept at. The part of this that is in your control is the ability to identify your talents and take advantage of them to the best of your ability.
Your effort: This is a factor you can control and can have a major impact on your success. Combined with the talents you identify it can be a major factor in your success. How much practice you put into the skills necessary to achieve success in your field is something you can control and is the major factor you need to seize control over the increase your odds of success.
Luck: Finally, a not insignificant factor in your ultimate success is luck. You have limited control over this but you can do things to increase the odds of good luck finding you. As Pasteur once said, “Chance favors the prepared observer.” So, takes steps to be open to luck. Be open to new opportunities and put yourself in the right place to take advantage of them.
Ultimately, everyone is not successful because they do not take advantage of the factors mentioned above that they can control and optimize. Success requires the elements of talent, effort, and luck. Not everyone has talent, not everyone puts in the required effort, and not everyone is lucky,
Here are some books that might also provide you some insights into this question:
Daniel Coyle The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How
Daniel Coyle The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
Leonard Mlodinow The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
Daniel Pink When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
Angela Duckworth Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Seth Godin Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
Seth Godin What to do When It’s Your Turn
Scott Ginsberg Make a Name For Yourself
KEVIN J. BROWNE
Philosopher / Educator
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