What is the formula for success?

Hello my fellow human Beings:

I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success.  In the book, Gladwell examines the formula for success for star hockey players, software tycoons, top New York lawyers, and legendary rock stars like the Beatles, to name a few successful professionals.

Gladwell professes over the course of the book that:

Success = talent + hard work + the right opportunities

He states:

“[S]uccess arises out of the steady accumulation of advantages: when and where you are born, what your parents did for a living, and what the circumstances of your upbringing were all make a significant difference in how well you do in the world. … [T]he traditions and attitudes we inherit from our forebears [cultural legacies] can play the same role.” (p.108)

Gladwell later elaborates:

“Our ability to succeed at what we do is powerfully bound up with where we’re from … [but given] an opportunity to transform [our] relationship to [our] work … [and] when we understand how much culture and history and the world outside of the individual matter to professional success – then … we have a way to make successes out of the unsuccessful.” (p.127, 134)

He sums up by stating:

“[S]uccess follows a predictable course.  It is not the brightest who succeed … Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf.  It is, rather, a gift.  Outliers [,significantly successful people,] are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.” (p.162)

So how do we apply this formula for success to living an abundant life?

First, we identify and connect with the inherent talents that are in each one of us.  Each of us has a unique set of talents or gifts or strengths or innate abilities.  By spending time to connect with our True Selves through being still and quiet meditation we can tap into our internal abundant resources.

Next, there is hard work.  Gladwell shatters the myth of rags-to-riches success stories; rather he reveals that “working really hard is what successful people do” (p.145).  He writes about the 10,000-hour rule, that is, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something.  So just as Bill Gates put in 10,000 hours of software programming or the Beatles put in 10,000 hours of performing concerts before they became successful, you too will need to put in 10,000 hours of meditation practice, of letting go of the ego, of developing alertness and awareness, of strengthening your equanimity, to lead you further on the path of living a successfully abundant life. (Yes, 10,000 hours does seem a daunting number, but practicing daily, with more intense periods of practice through added long course and retreats, will help you move towards this goal.)

Finally, having the right opportunities presented on your path of life, will aid you in achieving the success of an abundant life.  How will you know what are the right opportunities?  — By developing your sense of awareness and alertness to the opportunities that are presented in your daily life.

Therefore, through daily continual practice of being still, meditating, and connecting to our True Selves and the infinite wisdom within, we can become more alert and aware, strengthening our talents and skills, and being ready to take appropriate action, without fear, when the right opportunities present themselves to us on our path of life.  So that we all may be successful at living abundant lives!


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