The maths behind success

The maths behind success

Physicist Albert-László Barabási, in a TED talk, shared his thinking on the maths that goes into thinking about success.  

He came up with a simple equation: 

S = Qr

S stands for success, Q is that person's ability (to execute an idea) and r is the value of that idea.

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"I thought I wanted to be a scientist when I went to Princeton...halfway through, I figured out I wasn't smart enough to be a physicist."

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The hard truth: personal quality matters

Have you heard of the saying: and if it doesn't work the first time, try and try again? 

Although perseverance may be seen as essential for success, Barabási argues that personal quality matters. The hard truth is that, however long you persevere and keep pushing the rock up a hill (think Sisyphus) "if you don't have what it takes, you just don't have what it takes". 

This view seems to run in contradistinction to the 10,000 hours rule, where you put in 10k hours of practice and you become an expert in a given field.

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Although it may sound all doom and gloom, knowing where your talents are, and being self-aware of your strengths, grants you the power to invest your energies into an activity that will:

  •  provide a higher rate of reward
  • be a better fit

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If you want money, stop chasing money. Look for big problems and come up with solutions. The market will reward you generously. 

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Then there’s social confidence,” or self-assuredness. If you speak as if you’re worth listening to , you’re displaying social confidence.

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