The Rules For "Success"

Posted on Friday 11 May 2012 and filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through theRSS 2.0 . You can leave a response or trackback to this entry from your site

Much importance is placed on certificates in today’s materialistic and artificial world. Without it, people simply do not believe that you are worth anything. That is why parents push their children to study hard and graduate from universities. However, to what extent is this sociological concept true to be used as a yardstick to measure one’s capabilities? Does this mean that those who do not possess any qualification of any sort will automatically be denied “success”?

People place more importance on the certificates that you own instead of valuing one for his or her talents. Therefore, youths today are ‘forced’ to blindly swallow plenty of theoretical knowledge, but when it comes to practical knowledge, not many have it!

I term “success” as a state of mind. Its definition varies for different people. For one, “success” may mean to be a millionaire, but for another, it may simply mean to publish a book. Whatever it is, everyone has an equal chance to “success”. Therefore, no one has the right to judge if another person has been “successful” because the meaning that one attributes to the term is a reflection of his or her innate opinion and values.

Regardless of what “success” may mean to you, there are rules that you can abide by to fulfill your ideals, and it has definitely nothing to do with the paper certificates that people value so much today.

1) Maximise the utilisation of your inner talents!
This is the simplest and most straight forward factor that many usually ignore! Everyone has at least one talent be it writing or even just simply talking. Identify that talent and take off from there. Develop it so that it serves you a good purpose.

A good example for this is master blaster Sachin Tendulkar who never attended college, but is now the national pride of India and known worldwide as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

When he was young, Tendulkar would practice on the field for hours. After all, practice makes perfect, and Tendulkar sure is a great example of truth in such statement.

Even without a college degree, Tendulkar's fame and talent earned him the Padma Vibhushan award, which is India's second highest civilian award and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award (India's highest sporting honour) just because he did what he loved most and what he was good at. He also received honorary doctorates from University of Mysore and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, and was also the first person without an aviation background to have been awarded the honorary rank of Group Captain by the Indian Air Force. Tendulkar also won the 2010 Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for cricketer of the year at the ICC awards.

What about those whom society consider as being "highly educated"? Did they achieve half of what Tendulkar has achieved?

2) Don't compromise yourself!
Never sacrifice who you are just because someone else has a problem with it. Most people are judgemental in nature and may try to direct you to the path that they think is "right" for you. But, what is "right" and what is "wrong". We live in a society that holds on too strongly to a collective consensus of rules that differentiates the so-called "good" from the "bad".

Just be yourself! Why let others push you around? Even if the whole world thinks you cannot sing, but if what you want is to have a successful singing career, do whatever it takes to get there! Why bother yourself with what others think or say about you? It is what you think and say about yourself that matters most!

There is no way that you can please everybody around you! So get out from your comfort zone and do whatever it takes to live the life of your ideal regardless of all the criticisms and challenges that may come your way.

Did you know that Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs was a serious practitioner of Zen Buddhism who engaged himself in lengthy meditation retreats despite having been criticised for his seemingly odd beliefs and practices? His 7-months journey to India looking for spiritual enlightenment bestowed him a sharpened intuition, which helped him professionally later in his life. All the things that he had learned in spirituality about simplicity greatly influenced his design sense. After all, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, which is evident in the designs of Apple's recent products.

It is also interesting to note that Steve Jobs, who got himself enrolled in Reed College in Oregon, dropped out after one semester. This again raises the question, "Are certificates really 'that' important as society has deemed them to be?"

Also, another important lesson is to find your passion. You have to determine for yourself what exactly that you really love doing. If you truly enjoy doing something, you are bound to be successful in it.

Steve in his own words said:
"I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

3) STOP blaming your circumstances!
People usually come up to me and complain: "Oh, how I wish I could..... (fill in the blank)".

I never failed to reply to each and every one of them, "STOP WISHING! JUST DO IT!".

Their response was always the same: "But I cannot... I am not like so and so... I don't have the talent / time etc. (whatever it may be, you name it!)".

Do you really think that successful people were born to be? NO! They carved their lives themselves, and one thing is for sure, they did not blame their circumstances and definitely also did not use their family backgrounds as an excuse. In fact, many successful people today were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Some were born in families that were far poorer than you are now. So, if they could succeed, why can't you?! At the end of the day, it is all about your mental aptitude and attitude that draw the line!

So STOP blaming your background and others for your somewhat mediocre life. If you want change, then start doing something different! You cannot stick to old routines and habits and expect your life to turn around.

Let's take the example of the great Dhirubai Ambani, the founder of one of the largest companies in the world that is based in India. For your information, Ambani was not born in a well-off family and he did not even finish college. When his father fell ill, he had to stop his studies to work as a clerk in Aden to pay for his father's medication. However, that did not stop him from being one of the greatest examples of success in the world today.

Ambani used his time well while being a clerk by learning many things that a trader must know such as book-keeping and accounting. After having worked for many years and saved a lot of money, he established in India the Reliance Commercial Corporation in 1957, which became successful in most of its ventures. Poverty was never an obstacle to Ambani's dreams. He is hard-working, ever alert for opportunities around him, and believes that there is always room for improvement.

4) It's not all about money!
I believe there is no one who knows not of Bill Gates. Today, we are seated in front of our computers with a highly enhanced Graphical User Interface popularly known as Microsoft Windows thanks to this man!

Although Gates was accepted in Harvard after scoring excellent result in his SATs, he left to start off his own company and never went back to the university to obtain his degree. Some resources tell us that Gates, who believed that every house will one day own a computer, had tried to sell his software idea to another company but to no avail. No one shared his vision. However, Gates remained convicted in his beliefs and went on to form Microsoft, which later on proved them wrong!

Even though Gates, a self-made billionaire (and also tops the richest man in the world list), no longer needs to bother himself working with computers, he still does. When asked why, Gates simply replied that this has always been his passion! It was not really for money that Gates had in mind when he decided to form his own company. Due to his passion, he worked hard to materialise his vision. Because of his dedication and undying enthusiasm, money started flowing in.

When you love something so much, you practice without ceasing and attempt to perfect it and people begin to appreciate you for it. Those who make the most money are those who usually excel at what they truly love!

5) Be ready and seize opportunities when they arrive!
It does not matter of what background you have come from, or what your education level is! Life moves on, and so must you. Do not see anything unpleasant as an obstacle but an opportunity to grow and refine yourself. CEO and co-founder of Oracle Larry Ellison proved this fact!

Although abandoned by his mother as an infant and a university dropout, Ellison did not fail to be listed as the 3rd richest man in America by Forbes in 2008.

Despite the fact that no one saw the potential of a programming language called SQL circulated by IBM in the industry in the 1970s, Ellison did. So he rewrote the language so that it could be run on any computer. A few years later when IBM decided to allow all of its products to support SQL, Ellison already had his product in hand and Oracle boomed!

Ellison is known to possess high self-confidence in his ability, which is why he was courageous enough to have a vision to challenge Microsoft and be number 1 in the industry although Oracle's revenues were less than half of Microsoft's.

Oracle has gone through its fair share of ups and downs, yet this man has never given up on both himself and the company. Instead, he persevered and braved through all the challenges that came his way and also modified his strategies when any of them no longer seemed to work.

6) Find a purpose and live it!
What is the purpose of your life? Every one of you have something buried at the bottom of your heart that you would like to do in this world. Deep within you lies a calling, a mission, and only with thorough self-reflection can you discover what it is!

Julian Assange, founder of the famous WikiLeaks, also left university to start his own venture. He had a burning desire to work towards the call for a more "transparent" and "freedom of press" in journalism. His philosophy for operating WikiLeaks was this:

"To radically shift regime behaviour we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forbears could not."

Even without a university degree, Assange lived faithfully by his purpose and was referred to by The Age as "one of the most intriguing people in the world" and the "internet's freedom fighter".

7) Who cares about age?!
Who said that only the old and experienced can be successful? You may be young and have not been exposed to various experiences in the field that you are in love with, but these are no obstacles in your path to success! At least these were not the factors that stopped Mark Zuckerberg from making Facebook successful and him, a billionaire!

He is another individual who is passionate in his goal, that is to create something that helps others connect with each other. Zuckerberg once quoted that Facebook was created "not because of the amount of money". The young lad turned down the offer of selling Facebook for a large sum of money because seeing media corporations owned by conglomerates was not an idea that appealed to him.

"The thing I really care about is the mission, making the world open," Zuckerberg said to Wired magazine in 2010.

He is one of the world's youngest billionaires with an estimate of USD$17.5 billion of personal wealth and is also regarded as one of the 100 most influential people in the world today.

8) Challenge your limits!
Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. He was enrolled in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1920, but dropped out in 1922 to take flying lessons in Nebraska instead.

There was not one who dared (and was successful) to travel solo from New York to Paris during his time, but 25-year-old Lindbergh decided to break the record. He emerged from virtual obscurity to instantaneous world fame after his non-stop flight from the Roosevelt Field in New York to Le Bourget Field in Paris in a single-seat and single-engine purpose built plane. For his historic exploit, Lindbergh was also awarded the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honour.

The man went on to become an international explorer, inventor, a prolific prize-winning author and an environmentalist in his later years.

So, who cares if no one had ever done something before? If it makes your heart sing, go do it yourself! Just because others cannot, or did not want to do something does not mean you should follow them too. As long as you possess self-confidence, you can weather any storm!

9) Continue learning and refine your skills and be one-of-a-kind
Name me one person who was born with all the skills required to make them a "Someone"! With or without an educational degree, or with or without talent, no one stops learning! Learning is a never-ending process. At every stage of life, you will always have more things to learn to continuously develop yourself. It is a folly to think that one can one day complete his or her learning cycle for good!

If you are passionate about something but lack the skills, don't just sit back and cry about it. DO SOMETHING! Many people I know just complain about how they cannot do this or that because they are not good enough instead of actually going out there and learn the necessary skills to bring them nearer to their goals or visions. If you really love something, then you must be ready to even sacrifice yourself for it! If you don't do anything about it, it just goes to show that you do not really want the success that you say you do. You are just offering lip service.

Take the famous director Quentin Tarantino as an example. He was a high school dropout who was fascinated with movies from a young age. Eventhough he had no qualification in the Art, that did not stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a film director one day.

He dropped out from high school and worked in a video store due to his love for movies. Tarantino used his time well at the store to refine his skills by watching films by the world's greatest directors so that he could understand better the laws and strategies of film-making. Tarantino's first attempt was an amateur production known as "My Best Friend's Birthday". Although the production was not deemed 'perfect', instead of feeling de-motivated, Tarantino took that as an opportunity to analyse his mistakes.

Tarantino was also famous for his original style. He did not follow the general rules as to how to or not to film a movie. By breaking traditional patterns, he became famous and even won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for his "Pulp Fiction".

10) It is not the fall that matters, it is how you get up after each fall that does!
No one breezes through life without challenges. Another famous director, Steven Spielberg, too has had his share of disappointments and so-called 'failures'. However, it was his perseverance and never give-up attitude that made him who he is today, one of the most popular and influential film-makers in the history of cinema.

His parents were divorced when he was young and was even bullied by his peers because he was an orthodox Jew. Spielberg was also just like every other child who was afraid that he would be ostracised by other kids due to his background. It is also interesting to note that this successful film director's application to join the film school at University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television was rejected twice. Again, this failed to stop him from becoming who he is today!

He was so engrossed with his passion of film-making so much so that he was willing to work in Universal Studios as an unpaid, seven-day-a-week intern. These are the price of passion that many do not understand; commitment and self-sacrifice.

11) Disability lies in your mind
I propose to you that physical disability is not a disability at all. Disability is really nothing of the body, but that of the mind! Why must what others see as a disability stop you from leading the life that you have always dreamed of?

Nicholas James Vujicic was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder that gave him no limbs. Although he struggled physically and emotionally to cope with his physical disability as a child, he grew up to become one of the world's most successful motivational speakers today. He did not use his physical disability as an excuse to run away from life, but embraced all that he has to make the most out of it.

Another example is Sir Richard Branson who struggled at school due to his dyslexia and quit schooling altogether at the age of 16. Nevertheless, Branson went on to set up his successful Virgin Group business with more than 400 companies today.

This is the positivism that many should learn to adopt. Despite having all limbs in perfect condition and even possess university degrees, many people today still wander around aimlessly just doing nothing with no definite goals in life!

12) Continuous effort and sharp judgement are the keys
Whatever that you wish to excel in, you have to put in your fair share of effort. Even an heir to a billionaire will lose all wealth should he or she idle and make bad decisions!

World's famous fashion designer Ralph Lauren came from a humble background who had a father who took on house-painting jobs just to pay the bills. He left the City College of New York business school to design ties for Beau Brummel and also launched the successful Polo brand later that same year.

In an interview, Lauren said that he does not chase trends, but is also not into old things either. He prefers to set them! Through sound judgements and being hardworking, Lauren was estimated to have USD$6.1 billion by Forbes in September 2011.

"You are what you are. I'm living proof if you work hard enough, you can accomplish something..." - Ralph Lauren

I am not here today to tell you that a university degree is useless. Almost all of the examples I have given involved people who never graduated from university. Nevertheless, they achieved success in their own ways even without a degree. So for those who do not have any educational background, please do not use this as an excuse to give up on yourself. You too can be successful! And for those who DO have educational qualifications, you have been given privileges that many people could only dream of. So, make the most out of it. All the more there should be no excuse so as to why your life cannot be phenomenal!

A university degree is only a passport to ease you to fit in within societal expectations, but true success lies within. A piece of paper is not going to tell you your direction. You are the one who will set the course of your journey through life! For those who graduated from university, just because you studied something need not mean that your life is doomed to that particular area. Many graduated with one degree and ended up in another profession altogether! But they were still successful because they were driven by their inner passion.

So, set your purpose, guide your passion and talents in the right way and work at it! Just being complacent in life is not going to bring you anywhere. It is foolish to be laidback and expect heaven to rain diamonds on you! All the people I have mentioned possess high-levels of perseverance and enthusiasm as well as determination to succeed according to the course of the river of life they have chosen. So know what you want and just get out there and work towards it!

Related articles:
What is Life?
Impossible is Nothing!
Committed to Success

Excerpts of Lecture delivered by Genevieve Tan Shu Thung
Andhra Pradesh, INDIA (March 17, 2012)

Copyright © 2012 Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Resources
Holistic Living Annex (Volume 1, Issue 5 - JUNE 2012 Edn)

14 Responses for “ The Rules For "Success"”

  1. Rick Spencer says:

    I loved it! I do not have a degree, but I have always known I can still succeed in life somehow. A degree is just for you to get a job easily, and even then also... so many graduates are competing for jobs, and I am happily owning my own store in town with a 5 figure income every month!

  2. mandygirl says:

    the secret to success is so simple yet many find it so difficult to master. these people were amazing!!! thank you genevieve.

  3. Inspired says:

    This was a beautiful lecture.Thanks for the inspiration and comments!

    Perhaps the writer may want to consider writing many more articles( series,perhaps!) with the same theme & with many more different successful people mentioned in the article!

    I love this part-"A university degree is only a passport to ease you to fit in within societal expectations, but true success lies within. A piece of paper is not going to tell you your direction. You are the one who will set the course of your journey through life! "

  4. Jeanine Lopez says:

    Fantastic!!! I'm going to see all of them at the top, just wait and see!

  5. Lovely article to start my day with!
    I am inspired by many of the articles in this site!

    "P.S. : Don't forget to vote for this site!"

  6. Anonymous says:

    Genevieve, many know not of how to use their innate talents for the better good. Perhaps you could try to explain how to identify these talents and how one can utilise them to achieve success?

  7. Audrey Browne says:

    I love you Genevieve! Thx for making my day again! I'm full of +ve vibes now.

  8. Dweeber says:

    Darn. If only God gave me these people's minds that I could maintain such vigour and determination to succeed!

  9. Janaki Ram says:

    Reading this really inspired me. Those who look down upon others who have no college degree are fools! They may possess a better character and end up more successful and happy than those who crticised them before!

  10. Beatrice Bohl says:

    Genevieve, I love your writing! It never fails to make me feel good. God bless you for shining the light of hope to all who lost it.

  11. Jon Henderson says:

    You are absolutely right Genevieve. Nothing can come our way unless we allow them to. All the bullshit people talk about their backgrounds and current monetary position that do not allow them to succeed in life are baseless!! These are just lazy people who only know how to complain and not do something about it to change it for the better. Thank you for your continuous motivation Genevieve. Keep on inspiring others with your good work.

  12. Elizabeth Chong says:

    Success is a state-of-mind, so Genevieve says. But sometimes it is just so hard to let this concept sink into our minds!!

  13. Kimi Ong says:


  14. Brandy Lee says:

    A very comprehensive and straight-forward account on how to achieve success. When is her next lecture?


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