How to Be Successful

success = little things over a long period of time

jordangonen
Apr 29, 2016 · 3 min read

At least for me, it is really easy to immediately to jump to the output. I am cognizant of this, yet it still is difficult. I find it an innate human tendency to judge a success based off of output and overlook the in-between-steps. But in doing so, we also fail to comprehend and appreciate the factors that lead to success. And it happens to me all of the time, across all sorts of scenarios.

Look at Product Hunt, a wildly successful platform. Ryan Hoover’s idea seems simple enough: build a list of the best products every day — “helping people discover their next favorite thing.” Why had no-one built this before?

I strongly believe that it comes down to execution. And no-one, in the WORLD, executed as well as Ryan and his team. You can read all about his story here :

TL;DR — he worked really really hard and did a bunch of little things.

A couple of things I want to highlight here:

The first being these little things…These are the ugly things that no CEO ever wants to be doing. But they are also the things that differentiate founders and startups from incumbents. They are crucial to the survival and lifeblood of young companies. And the little things, thing no-one wants to do, are crucial components of my formula for success.

Another thing to highlight: the impossible task of appreciating the little things when looking at the output.

It is really really hard, even when aware, to try and understand the blood sweat and tears that go into an output.

Try this — next time you see a big building — just try to imagine the amount of work that went into building it. The contractors, workers, paperwork, trucks…every single component — crucial to the establishment of the building.

Now imagine that on an even larger scale — on building an entire company. It is hard to appreciate all of the work that has gone into a company, especially for a company like Danielle Morrill’s Mattermark where the output and usability is tremendous. As a consumer it is easy to just focus on the utility gained from the product. But that gives you a distorted perspective and makes it harder for you to define a plan of action for your own success.


From all of this nit-picky deep-diving, I’ve come up with a humbling, actionable heuristic from attacking any plan and reaching a goal. Albeit broad — it’s how I view success, and it’s very simple:

Success = a bunch of little things + time + luck

If you can perform a bunch of little things over a long period of time, and get a bit lucky in the process, you can do anything.

Now before this equation seems too good to be true, let me qualify:

If you do a bunch of little things over a really long period of time, you will either reach success or die trying. But trust me on this one, most of your competition will not make it as long as you think. Why? Because no-one will want to sustain as long as you do. Because you are committed to reaching success and you know, to do so, a crucial component is doing these “little things” longer than anyone else.

Now time and luck are not as much so in your control — just remember to stay healthy!


YO thanks for the read :)

Let’s continue the conversation — tweeter @itsjordangonen

email — jordangonen@wustl.edu

jordangonen

Written by

think for yourself. https://gonen.blog/ views mine.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade