The randomness of success

Remember, yesterday, I talked about the guy that I met that made me think hard? Well, that hard thinking is still happening! In the sense that what he said, I haven't been able to get it out of my head. There are a million threads going all over the place but the one that I keep coming back to, again and again, and again and again and again is the one where he asked me about my heroes and their success. He said, what if the heroes that I look up to (people like Steve, Bill, Elon, Jeff, Paul, Raj, Suvi, Rajesh and others) were not really driven by hard work but by randomness. What if they just got lucky and there is no formula that you can take from their success to apply to your life and get successful.

Now, this is a very new idea to me. I mean am aware of the concept of fooled by randomness and the coin-flipping concept outlined in the Superinvestors of Graham and Doddsville. But I never applied that to the success of people that I look up to. I always thought they were ahead of the curve because they were doing something right. And I've believed that I can reverse engineer their success and create this magic potion that can help me find success.

But this very thought that the heroes that I look up to could be because of sheer luck, it is not cool. In the sense, I want to believe that success is achievable and there is a path that I can walk to reach the end goal. I am not getting in this debate between goals, path, destinations, etc. Hope you get the drift when I say that you can tread a certain path to reach the end goal. 

I tried hard to give evidence against the assertion. I said that if success is random, then how is that some people can get successful at multiple ventures. And before I could wait for a reply from the guy, it dawned on to me that just the law of large numbers can explain people who have multiple successes and people who have nothing. It IS all randomness!

The idea that success is random also sort of questions the very existence of this idea called Saurabh Garg. I mean the inking that I have in terms of what I want to do with life is around enabling others to live their best life and that means I need to help them get successful. But, if I can't decode success and thus I can't enable it, why am I even alive?

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