On Success

“Each field of endeavor has a bunch of tricks, shortcuts, best practices, rules, whatever you want to call them. If you want to succeed in that field, you must learn them and master them. The great news about them is that everybody can master these things, but many of the more talended people will not master those things and you will beat them out as a result."

John T. Reed, author of Succeeding

“The one thing you need to know about sustained individual success: Discover what you don’t like doing and stop doing it."

Marcus Buckingham, author of The One Thing You Need to Know

“I get asked this a lot and I have a pretty standard answer which is, a lot of people come to me and say "I want to be an entrepreneur." And I go "Oh that’s great, what’s your idea?" And they say "I don’t have one yet." And I say "I think you should go get a job as a busboy or something until you find something you’re really passionate about because it’s a lot of work."

I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You put so much of your life into this thing. There are such rough moments in time that I think most people give up. I don’t blame them. It's really tough and it consumes your life.

If you’ve got a family and you’re in the early days of a company, I can’t imagine how one could do it. I’m sure its been done but its rough. Its pretty much an eighteen hour day job, seven days a week for awhile. Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give it up. So you’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about otherwise you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that’s half the battle right there."

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple

“… What’s success? Do you need to make Google money? Do you need to have Microsoft market share? Do you need to have Apple’s brand loyalty? Nope.

So what do you need to be successful? Luckily that’s entirely up to you. Success is relative.

The best way to be successful is to define your own success. Success can be tiered too. If you want to eventually run a public company you can still be successful on your way there. If you want to stay small you can fight growth and remain successful too. It’s up to you, not up to someone else.

A small company with a few employees pulling in $25,000/month can be successful. Another company with a couple thousand paying customers can be successful. And another company that just breaks even but stays happily afloat can be successful. You don’t need to win every medal to be successful."

Jason Fried, partner at 37signals

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Published: July 23, 2006Last updated: July 23, 2006

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