What Makes People Successful? - Deepstash
What Makes People Successful?

What Makes People Successful?

Curated from: Ali Abdaal

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How people get ahead

How people get ahead

We're often told that success is only the result of hard work. But it often seems that those who succeeded had an unfair advantage over their competitors.

We all have our own set of unfair advantages we can use to succeed. The book, The Unfair Advantage: How You Already Have What It Takes to Succeed starts with the premise that life is fundamentally unfair. When we're looking at successful people, they did not only work hard but there were also other things that played a role, such as luck, circumstances, privilege, etc.


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Life isn't a level playing field

Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. We all have our own unfair advantages in our own ways that can give us a competitive edge.

We can find out what our unfair advantages are using the MILES framework.

  • Money
  • Intelligence and insight
  • Location and luck
  • Education and expertise
  • Status


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Advantages that are easy to use to your benefit

  • Money. Evan Spiegel is the billionaire co-founder of Snapchat grew up in a multimillion-dollar house with well-connected parents.
  • Intelligence and insight. The Collison brothers co-founded Stripe which became a multi-billion dollar payments processing company before they turned 22. Patrick left school a year early to enrol at MIT and his brother John finished with the highest ever score on his Leaving Certificate.
  • Status. We don't all have the outward status of people like Elon Musk. But we can develop our inner status, for example, confidence and self-esteem.


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Location and luck

Location and luck

Ray Kroc, the pioneer of McDonald's once said. "The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it."

  • The right location can be vital in making connections and unlocking opportunities.
  • Luck is something we can make for ourselves by exposing ourselves to more things.  The more we expose ourselves to opportunities, the luckier we become. So take more action, meet more people, go to more events, produce things and publish them, get feedback, and put more stuff out into the world.


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Education and expertise

Education and expertise

Having a fancy degree from a prestigious university probably is an unfair advantage, but people increasingly care less about where you went to university and more about what you've been doing and what skills you can bring to the table. 

Our value comes more from our expertise. And that is something we can build on our own, such as taking online classes.


148 reads

You can turn your disadvantage into an advantage

  • Having a little money. Many people start off with having little money. But having little money makes you more creative and adds to your drive to succeed.
  • A growth mindset (instead of a fixed mindset.) Our abilities aren't fixed. We can grow. Everything we do is part of improving.

When we fixate on the privileges we don't have, we blind ourselves instead of appreciating the advantages we do have. It's about knowing the realities and using the unfair advantages we have to help us succeed.


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