The Forgotten Ingredient For Smashing Success

No, it’s not perseverance, grit, or resourcefulness.

Dandan Liu
2 min readMar 3, 2022
Left: Loki, the trickster god from Norse mythology. Right: The trickster figure Reynard the Fox from the 1869 children’s book by Michel Rodange.

When it comes to success, we all know there are these essential ingredients, ones like discipline, perseverance, and grit. However, there’s one that no one seems to talk about.

That missing ingredient would be: the willingness to look like a fool.

Yes, a fool. Wide-eyed, someone who looks a little crazy and marches on despite what people think. Someone who asks obvious questions and keeps chasing their North star—which, to an outsider, looks like an invisible friend from when you were five. Someone who is usually entangled in mess and not only puts skin in the game, but bone.

Go into the stories of our most celebrated entrepreneurs, and you’ll find that they were all fools once (while some continue to be). They all had to create solutions that were so out-of-the-box that people labeled it as nothing short of idiotic. They all kept fighting, despite the common sense advice (and more likely, desperate plea) to stop.

Yet this isn’t anything new. Since ancient times, the fool, also known as “the jester” or “the trickster,” took their important place in myths around the world. From the Native American Coyote to the Roman God Mercury, these tricksters were known for their mischief, boundary crossings, and inventions. Because they challenged assumptions and disrupted popular convention, they were honored as the creators of culture.

Isn’t it ironic, then, that we still expect the road to success to look sane?

And I’m not just saying this from the armchair. I have found that in my own life, the more foolish I am, the faster I learn.

So ask yourself: are you willing to look like a fool for what you love? When you talk about your vision, do you have that glint of crazy in your eye?

It’s time we reclaim the word “fool.”

Come join the band of fools!



Dandan Liu

I help people come home to themselves and build flourishing creative lives from their truth. Check out my signature program: