The Universal Laws of Success

Arguably, certain media figures and personalities as well as certain academic and intellectual figures may even underestimate the power and the influence they wield in terms of impacting people’s emotions and psychological well-being. But a power and an influence that was once concentrated and monopolized within the American mainstream media and within narrow academic circles has now dispersed and fragmented as a result of globalization and technology and as a result of the advent of the internet and social media in recent decades. 

As Daniel Drezner argued: “The skills needed to survive and thrive in the public sphere are not the skills needed in traditional academic scholarship. The latter rests on a bedrock of original research, careful fact checking, rigorous peer review, and citations to authoritative and relevant academic literature. Writers who excel at public engagement possess different comparative advantages: speed, clarity, wit, and the ability to provide self-assured, real-time analysis.” It follows that: “The modern Ideas Industry rewards intellectuals who are willing to engage a wider audience.” 

It follows that anyone can have their own “information empire” and now anyone can influence and sway people in this day and age as long as they have the creativity, drive, resources, skill, and the wit for such an endeavor. But there are also certain rules or “laws” behind why certain individuals achieve “success” in its commonly understood manner while others do not. As one writer argued, there are five “universal laws of success” as well as a “formula” which everyone should consider in order to understand what we would deem as “success”:

  1. “Performance drives success, but when performance is immeasurable, networks determine success” – in other words, networks are the invisible force which catapult an individual to higher levels of achievement and success
  2. “Performance is bounded, but success is unbounded” – in a sense, once success is achieved, it becomes eternal 
  3. “Previous success and fitness equal future success” – basically, future success is built on an edifice or foundation of previous self-development and previous successes
  4. “Team success requires diversity and balance” – it follows that successful people have a balanced and diverse team which surrounds them through the course of their endeavors
  5. “Success can come at any time as long as we are persistent” – opportunity, opportunity, opportunity

Malcolm Gladwell argued that “success follows a predictable course.” Gladwell added: “It is not the brightest who succeed.” Another set of interesting points which Gladwell made about the nature of success are: “Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is, rather, a gift. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.” The ideal world, however, would be one in which we would be able to “replace the patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success – the fortunate birth dates and the happy accidents of history – with a society that provides opportunities for all.” 

Moreover, our previous discussions on the issue of fairness and justice also relate to the issue of access to opportunity to a large extent. While some of us have the entrepreneurial drive, the resources, and the support to create opportunities for ourselves, many people do not have the guidance, resources, and the support needed to create opportunities. In a sense, fairness and justice would amount to those who have the entrenched power, resources, and the support to go forward with affording opportunities to others. But not only is there a “famine of opportunity” being fostered at the top, but there is also an active denial of opportunity and ‘stonewalling’ which I have experienced personally in my life, and most certainly others have experienced this denial and stonewalling as well. 

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