General Entrepreneurship

The Key to Becoming Successful at Anything

In fairness to Inc.com they are not the worst when it comes to click-bait headlines, so when I saw a headline in my Facebook Newsfeed entitled ‘The Key to Becoming Successful at Anything’, I thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.

Before the article downloaded I asked myself what I thought it could be.  Cynically, it brought back memories of a joke that used to do the rounds when I was in the derivatives markets:

Q: How do you make a small fortune trading Futures?

A: You start with a large fortune.

So, assuming the answer wasn’t going to be as churlish as having a rich daddy I asked myself what answer I’d give if asked the question.  Personally, the characteristic I always observed in successful people was their ability to ‘get things done’.  That might sound pretty intuitive but when contrasted against people who always found an excuse for not doing something, usually in the form of ‘We need to do a lot more research before we do this’, I’d always pick the guy who does it over the guy who spends too much time thinking about it.  Don’t take my word for it – read the first 3 chapters of The Lean Startup.

But no, the answer was not ‘Just Do It’, although it’s not a million miles away from that either.  According to Justin Bariso, Founder, Insight, the key to becoming successful at anything is ‘creating habits’.  (Good habits, presumably!)

And the reason why habits are vital for success is because habits turn into routine.  And routine increases efficiency and makes it easier to keep up with those difficult or undesirable tasks.  Makes sense, although the article probably should have gone on to explain how someone creates habits.  It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Bariso ends with a note of caution: It takes significantly longer to break free of a habit than it does to build a new one.  I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

You can read the full Inc.com article here.

Conor Foley

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