I spend a lot of time thinking about why some people are successful while others are not.
The reason for my doing so is probably the large number of people who e-mail me saying they are not successful and asking how they can become so.
On reflection, I think success is largely a matter of 7 factors coming into alignment:
1) Brains: Most of the successful people I know are smart—at least smart in business if not academically.
2) Talent: It helps if you can develop a specialized talent that the market is willing to pay for, such as designing computer systems or winning cases in court.
3) Aptitude: Some people naturally gravitate towards professions or activities that are lucrative; e.g. real estate investing. Others are attracted to activities that don’t pay well, e.g. poetry.
4) Hard work: Most of the successful people I know just don’t work smart; they also work hard – even though they may make proclamations to the contrary.
5) Persistence: Your chances of winning in the games of business and life increase exponentially if you are persistent and do not give up when faced with adversity, as so many do.
6) Luck: Let’s face it: some of us get lucky while others don’t. For instance, one exploration and production company strikes oil while another’s well in the very same field comes up dry.
7) Timing: A lot of success is being in the right place at the right time. However, remember this observation from Pasteur: “Chance favors the prepared mind.”
Also, you increase your odds of being in the right place at the right time by being in the right place all the time.
This is why successful entrepreneurs market continually rather than only when they need business: You never know when the perfect customer is going to go looking for what you sell, so the trick is to be there whenever they do look.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.