The Iceberg Illusion: What People See Vs What They Don’t

Ace Green
Ace Green
Jun 23, 2016 · 4 min read

I came across this illustration and it really struck me. There is this glamour around success that only appears when you have already made it. People like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook reap the rewards of this success.

But what about what people do NOT see?


Whether you quit your stable, high paying job to peruse your dream or already have a business running but have to sacrifice luxuries to keep it running. Success always comes with some sort of sacrifice.


The iceberg illusion would have you believe those that made it, never went through failure. But time and time again we are proven that’s not true. The story of how Apple was founded and Steve Jobs was pushed out of Apple are a great example of that.


This usually comes after failure and often even in between the various stages. You create a product but it doesn’t become a hit. Or you are extremely close to a new feature but get stuck. Or you release a product and receive bad reviews. Disappointment is part of the game, one thats never all rosy.


There is no such thing as an overnight success. Most spend years developing their idea only to be recognized for it one instance and then gets spun as an overnight success.

Hard work

In todays world we are wired to think success happens overnight, and that just an idea is enough to be successful. Unfortunately thats far from the truth. All success stories involved a lot of hard work. Hard work involves digging deep down, tackling changes and ultimately finding solutions.

Dedication & Discipline

The difference between discipline and dedication is often blurred. What many perceive as discipline is in fact dedication.

Both are really the glue that sticks all the above aspects together. Without this glue, the probability of success is diminished significantly. It’s by far one of the hardest attributes to master, because we are wired to dislike repetition. Discipline is all about mastering the craft of repetition to the point where tasks second nature and we no longer think about them.

We will not act anymore. We will RE-ACT!


Self-control, not talked about often, is the fruit of the spirit. In the name of religion, we are called, for instance, to abstain from gluttony, and sexual excess, and drunkenness, self-mutilation and even suicide. Really, we are called to abstain from excess of any kind as a form of self-control.

Instead we abstain from financially rewarding ourselves, or enjoying the freedom given to us until our goal is ultimately achieved. So in success, a similar type of self-control is a given, without it the probability of success is diminished significantly.

Take a look at some of the stories below, and you will notice none of them went through some, if not all, of the above stages.

One might say, Success is the outcome of some or all of the above stages

What Do You Think?

If you enjoyed reading this article, please feel free to add some of your thoughts in the comments. I’m sure I missed a ton of other things. Also hit the ♥ button in the footer so we can share this with more people! 😊

About me

I like to describe myself as a technologically savvy person who’s able to leverage experience and a broad background to excel in a variety of roles. Although I have an engineering degree, I have been drawn to various other areas through sheer curiosity, and have developed a strong passion in them. I have dabbled around in the stock market, and currently work on making awesome apps. And I enjoy amongst many things technology especially the FinTech space, traveling, fitness and music.

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