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What does it take to be successful? You probably got it all wrong

Source | | Santhosh Babu

My dad always told me when I was in the school that hard work, knowledge and expertise will make me successful in life. Which dad does not want his kids to be successful? I am sure that most dads will have some mantra for success that they tell their kids, like my dad had his mantra, hard work, knowledge and expertise. 

I almost believed him though I was not willing to put in the amount of hard work he wanted me to put in. Which kid wants to put in so much hard work in studies when there are so many other exciting things to do? 

What does it take to be successful?  I ask this question to clients and participants of our Leadership Development Interventions. Mostly I get answers like talent, intelligence, hard work, education and expertise and sometimes people also say it is luck. So nothing much has changed since my dad advising me Forty years ago.  I am sure you have heard the same advice from your parents and probably have given same advice to your children. Managers and leaders say the same thing to their colleagues. 

The underlying unspoken assumption behind these parental and managerial advice and our belief about what creates success, is that success is an individual matter and every person succeed or fail based on his or her individual efforts and abilities. 

Our rags to riches stories are all about sheer individual effort, expertise and action.  And no wonder we loved Ann Rand novels and philosophy, at least I did as a teenager. “To say “I love you” one must know first how to say the “I”.”  When I read Fountain Head by Ann Rand, I loved this quote and it made so much sense to me as a teenager.

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