What you need to be successful

A successful person on top of a mountain
Not me.

I heard a quasi-debate the other day between friends.

The question at play: What leads to a person’s success—hard work…or luck?

On one end, we can be given all the best tools and resources necessary to live amazing lives; but if we don’t take action and actually use those tools…nothing will happen.

We need to do the work.

On the other end, we don’t choose anything about ourselves: to be born, who our parents are, where we’re born, our brain makeup, etc. If we grow up in a neighborhood where education isn’t available and drugs and violence are rampant…it would be almost impossible to develop an “I’ll just work my ass off” mentality.

We need to be lucky.

The Growth Mindset—the belief that we can improve in anything with enough time and effort put into it—is real. But it’s only real if a person believes it’s real. Hence the word mindset.

And a person can only believe it’s real if they have the luck and means to—e.g. a community which challenges them, an inner ability to pursue things, or access to the internet or to books.

As with almost every debate, my stance is that two things can exist at the same time. In order to be successful we must put in the work consistently…and we have to be lucky.