How to find your mojo (in the beginning)

Success and failure are not isolated events, but sequences of events that add up to a sense of the whole.

You don’t win a football match at the full time whistle, or create a successful startup at IPO. Those events are the accumulation of small successes, unnoticeable successes.

In order to maximise your chance of success, you have to listen to feedback. Feedback in the form of a painful knee. Feedback in the form of a feeling of ill health. Feedback in the form of clients not returning to your business.

Businesses and people don’t simply succeed or fail in an instant. Their success and their failure is the accumulation of everything that has happened up to the point of success or failure. These things often stretch back far beyond the life of the company or the project or the career, or the life of the individual’s involvement with it.

To maximise your chances of success, you have to prepare the ground. That’s how successful people start out doing something unexpected. If you have a long term vision, the short term is not important. If you want to be a Supreme Court judge, the next logical step may be to take a ‘menial’ job in order to facilitate it. It is almost certainly not to enrol in an expensive law school and wait to be made up.
 One of my favourite writers, Aaron Sorkin, wrote part of his first play (A Few Good Men which later became a film with a young Tom Cruise and less young Gene Hackman) on cocktail napkins while working as a barman in a New York theatre.

Finding the right next step takes confidence and an eye on the long term. The right next step will not be the most popular one. The first steps on the road to your vision may not seem logical to others, but if you are determined and you know what you want, you can continuously refine your life into what you want it to be.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but when it does, it will seem like it was intended all along. Good luck!

James is a consultant and lawyer. He is still refining his life into his long term vision. If you want to ask him any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Originally published at on February 24, 2016.