Achieving success is really a very simple thing. It’s a three piece puzzle.
1) You need to be smarter than the competition. That doesn’t mean more intelligent in a general or universal sense. It’s about being smarter in solving one specific problem. And you only need to be a little bit smarter about it.
Of course, being a lot smarter about a lot things helps, but it’s not necessary. Look around. How hard is it to find people not as smart but more successful than you? Focus! Concentrate your effort on just a few things.
2) You need to work absurdly hard for a really long time. Go check out any so-called overnight success. You’ll find it was anything but overnight. There is no such thing! All the research about putting in your 10,000 hours is true. (Check this out.) There are no short cuts. There is no easy way. Shut up and get back to work.
3) You need some dumb luck. There are lots and lots of brilliant, hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone failures out there. And that’s really sad.
Recognize that luck is not total serendipity. It is possible to get better at being lucky. Step one is to put your ego aside and acknowledge that luck is essential. Embrace it! (More insight from my colleague Anthony Iannarino on this point here.) Step two is be alert! Most unlucky people simply aren’t looking for the break or don’t see it when it floats by because it’s not all wrapped up with a pretty bow. Most times the big break is not what you anticipated and requires some re-swizzling of you product or service. Be prepared to change – to change really quickly.
There you have it. Simple! Simple in concept anyway; not so easy to execute. Now go study, work hard and when you stumble, remember you might be stumbling into a windfall.