I’ve been having conversations with myself about success – what it takes to be successful, the measurement of success and everything that comes with it. In short, what is the cause and effect of success?
How do you define success? Is it money? Assets? Power? Building a successful business? Changing the world? Saving lives? And who do you aspire to be? Warren Buffett? Bill Gates? Mark Zuckerberg? Bernard Arnault? Lawrence Ellison? Barack Obama?
Why are these people successful? What makes them stand out? Luck? Fortune? Inheritance? Intelligence? Questions upon questions I have asked myself, and I finally arrive at the one trait that shapes the success of these people – behaviour. Most successful people behave in a certain way, which we shall refer to as elite behaviour.
People with elite behavior believe that the world can be a better place, they believe that they deserve better and they actively engage, execute and improve. Most importantly, they believe they have a choice, they choose never to willingly accept anything that is handed down to them, they choose to question conventional wisdom, they choose to challenge the status quo.
Elite behavior is not a result for successful people. It is a cause – much like a pre-requisite. It is imperative not to confuse cause and effect because they are not the same. If a certain type of behavior leads to success, material rewards such as luxury cars, penthouses and pristine statuses are merely the by-products of success. It is not the cause of your success, much less the cause of elite behavior.
The logic of it seems plain as day when put this way, but we don’t often see things for what they are, do we? And who can blame us? All we see on TV, newspapers, magazines are successful people with the fruits of their hard work and dedication, and we try to mimic that success, buying things with price tags only the elite few can afford to pay, hoping to become like them (and racking up credit card bills that we can’t pay off). Failure to recognize the reasoning behind such success is foolish, because spending money you don’t have to buy the things you cannot afford in hopes of realizing a false dream that is fundamentally flawed in the first place, is foolish to say the least. But people do it anyway.
Having the most exquisite pen in the world does not make you write like Shakespeare. Wielding the sharpest sword does not make you a great swordsman. Sending your kids to a million different classes – tuition, ballet, piano, violin… and god knows what else parents get their kids to do these days, will not transform them into child prodigies, not if they are not passionate about what they do. If you want to be a champion, start thinking and acting like one.
Cause → Effect → Sub-effect
Elite behavior → Success → Material riches
Success is not a cause, and elite behavior is not an effect. I strongly suspect that a lot of people don’t give a “F” word about acquiring what it takes to be successful (cause). They just care about being successful (effect), or worse, they just want to appear successful (sub-effect). Sadly, there are no shortcuts on the path that leads to success.
So, do you want to be the real deal? Or the phony? You always have a choice. Choose, and behave now.