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Are You Destined for Success?

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Dr. N. Subramanian
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:56 pm    Post subject: Are You Destined for Success? Reply with quote

Are You Destined for Success?
Deepak Chopra,
November 02, 2013

Success is mysterious enough that no single ingredient, such as being born with money or going to the best college, can be used to predict who will wind up achieving it. The part that pure chance plays is uncertain, although it has surprised me, when asking CEOs and other high-level executives about their success, to find that many believe they were simply lucky. "I was in the right place at the right time" is the phrase they generally use. Corporations would like to know in advance which person to hire for a position with an aim at future success, and business schools keep studying the relevant factors that go into success. Yet far and away the person who is the most concerned is you, the one who is trying to climb the ladder to the top.

Measurable factors seem to be correlated with future success. Among the best known are:

  • Being highly motivated and working hard.
  • Having a passion for what you do.
  • Going to the best college you can afford.
  • Being intelligent.
  • Associating with other people who are likely to succeed.
  • Having parents who believed in you and gave you confidence in yourself.
  • Being born with a special talent (e.g., for music, art, mathematics).
  • Practicing self-discipline, not giving up easily.

Yet none of these are accurate predictors of whether a single individual will succeed - statistics apply to groups, for the most part. Some experts have concluded that being lucky may count more than any single factor when it comes to individual success, which is an admission that success can't be measured. Some people are just destined to get there.

Strangely, the difference between fate and random chance is very hard to determine. Think of the following example of random choice: Fifty coins are lined up for a race. Each one is tossed, and heads allows a coin to stay in the race while tails gets it eliminated. After the first toss, probability says that 25 will advance and 25 will be eliminated. If you continue the procedure, tossing the coins until only one is left, the "winner" did nothing to be the last one standing. Every toss led to random results. Yet the last coin out of fifty might easily feel that it was destined to get there. It would be a very human reaction.

Statistics has a similar effect when you take the ingredients that supposedly favor success in real life. If you question a "winner" in the game of life and discover that he went to Harvard, moved to Silicon Valley, invested early in Apple, and in addition had a high IQ, a stable family life, and strong self-confidence, it might appear that you have discovered the recipe for success. Yet like the coins being tossed, there are thousands of people who enjoy the same advantages but who didn't become especially successful. There is no reason to think that the difference between them and a big winner was due to anything but statistical probability.

Yet none of us wants to feel like the pawn of fate, so the search for the golden key to success remains alive. I believe that the real answer lies elsewhere. The key to success lies in one thing: Stop using a win-lose model. There is a way to make success a win-win situation. It's based on the simple idea that life isn't a zero sum game. Not every person who enters a corporation can end up as chief executive. But every person can achieve the fruits of success if we stop measuring them by external labels. The fruits of success, as measured in lifelong satisfaction, are far more meaningful. They consist of:

  • Setting a long-range goal and fulfilling it.
  • Building a secure sense of self.
  • Becoming a unique individual.
  • Fulfilling your potential in a satisfying way.
  • Evolving in strength, love, and wisdom.
  • Being of service to others.
  • Living for a higher value that can be described as spiritual.
  • Staying true to yourself.
  • Becoming a role model.
  • Being part of a stable and loving family.
  • Living with dignity.

These are the ingredients of a truly successful life. You can achieve them in parallel to a brilliant career or a career that will go unnoticed by the world at large. Every deeply rooted culture has valued the inner qualities that produce worthy individuals, who are the flower of that culture. If you lack these qualities, becoming a king will still leave you feeling empty and miserable. What I've outlined is called the path of wisdom in the East, and it's worth considering here and now. In a consumerist society driven by the ethic of win-lose, it comes as a relief to know that there is another way.

Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 75 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers.
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