A Little Success Post

by David Ning · 7 comments

“The measure of success isn’t if you have a tough problem, but whether it’s the same one you had last year.”– John Foster Dulles

Sometimes, a simple statement contains so much wisdom.

  • It’s okay to fail. In fact, fail fast.
  • It’s okay to have problems, but make sure you address them when they pop up.
  • Notice that there’s no mention of outside help. Results are important, not necessarily how exactly a problem is solved.
  • Efficient is good too. This is obvious, but it is not nearly as critical as actually fixing what’s wrong. Someone who can get things done with less is, in theory, more valuable; but in reality, not that many people can quantify and measure the difference.
  • It’s okay that the problem is tough to solve. In fact, some problems are tough by design. If every solution is trivial, we will start categorizing the easier problems tougher, because everything is relative.

But How Do You Succeed?

Let’s be honest. Some people are just more gifted. They are smarter, think more quickly, and seem more resourceful. You can’t change your naturally born talent, but you can improve by experimenting.

  • How do people know the answer of 1+1? Because they were told the answer ahead of time.
  • How do people know how to find the lowest cost? Because they have tried different ways and found the method to get that price.
  • How do people understand that their emotions usually wreak their investment performances? Because, in addition to being told on sites such as this one, they have lost money.

Talent is talent, but nothing beats real world experiments and experiences.

Fail Often

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward” – Thomas Edison

We say failing often, but there are actually no failures in trying. Failure happens when you don’t try, because you gained nothing. When you attempt at anything, you are at least learning whether you like to try again or not. If you choose to pursue it, you already know one way that hasn’t worked.

Thomas Edison arguably invented one of the most important product of all time. He might have been smart. He might have had lots of help. He might have been blessed, and he might have been lucky. But for sure, he was determined to succeed. He never failed, because he never saw it that way.

You can succeed too.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh March 8, 2010 at 9:55 am

When I went back to my college reunion, I saw that most of the people who became successful were the hard working ones, instead of the ones who were the smartest. I’m sure it was because of the fact that by working hard, they were able to keep experimenting with what works for them.

Good reminder.

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MoneyNing March 8, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I’m starting to see that around me too. One of former co-workers once told me that while not being the smartest is tolerable, not working hard isn’t. Working hard can make up for many flaws.

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Vincent March 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Many people are afraid to ask for help, but no project is done by a single person.

Also, if you are afraid to help someone, then no one will help you. What goes around, comes around.

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Kristine March 8, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I believe that success begins with a state of mind. When we focus our mind on success, and that picture is crystal clear, our mind begins to seek opportunities to have those thoughts come to fruition.

When we “fail,” we are receiving feedback to go a different way. Now we have more information to make a better choice in the future. Every adversity carries with it the seed of a greater or equivalent benefit. I ask myself, what is the benefit of this situation?

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Cd Phi March 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I wish I could say this about school. But in a way I guess it could be the same thing in that if you fail a difficult course, you obviously didn’t grasp the concepts which is why taking it again will definitely reinforce your foundation. Unfortunately, colleges don’t see it that way.

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kt March 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm

I really do not think that there are any secrets to success apart from good clean pure hard work at something that you derive pleasure from; not just something that you do just because it pays the bills. i am for the opinion that success isn’t only supposed to be monetary.

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Shares Selling and Buying March 15, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Einstein, Tesla, Hawking. All genuises, but not hugely successful in monetary terms. Success is down to personality; making the right friends; being in the right place at the right time and persistence. It just takes the right kind of person. Interesting that many of the millionaires and billionaires don’t have university degrees (Gates, Branson, Trump,

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