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  October 12, 2012
What is Success?...


Long time readers of the OptiFuse Friday blog all understand that I typically don’t watch a lot of television. 
Oh sure... there are several shows that I follow throughout the year such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Parenthood, Shameless, and Nurse Jackie. However, fortunately for me, these shows tend to run in about 15 episode seasons which means I can rotate them so I am only watching one or possibly two shows each week throughout the year.

I find that these shows are all well written, highly acclaimed and very entertaining.

Not watching much TV frees up my evenings to pursue other interests and activities.

Such was the case a few days ago when I happen to be visiting one of my favorite websites - TED Talks.

TED is an acronym that stands for Technology, Education and Design. It is an annual conference that began in Monterey in 1984 and has since spread to other venues around the world.

At TED, speakers are selected to promote ideas that hopefully will educate and inspire... "ideas worth spreading".

TED Talks is a collection of short videos of selected speakers from these past conferences. Anyone with computers and a high-speed internet connection can view these phenomenal short presentations.

One video presentation that I watched a few days ago was by an educator and author named Richard St. John.

Mr. St. John has studied, among other things, the traits and characteristics of very successful people. Some of these people are extremely wealthy business leaders such as Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Sir Richard Branson.

Some of the people are political and military leaders such as Gen. Colin Powell, Gen. David Petraeus, Bill Clinton, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Some of the people are social leaders such as the Dalai Lama and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Some of the people are artists such as film maker James Cameron and actor / comedian / educator Bill Cosby.

Over a period of 10 years, he conducted over 500 face-to-face interviews with highly successful people from different disciplines to try and determine what it was that made them successful. After the interviews, he collected, organized, compiled and distilled the data points and formed his list of 8 traits of highly successful people... success measured over a variety of disciplines and fields.

8 Success Factors


Successful people are successful because they love what they do not because they can make money at it. There is an old adage that says, "if you do what you love to do... you’ll never work a day in your life". Successful people are passionate about what they do. They live it... they breathe it... they want to be doing it for the rest of their lives...


Successful people work hard at getting to where they want to go. They understand that rewards from their hard work will eventually come to them. They don’t look at work as toil and drudgery but rather they enjoy their work and have fun while doing it.


One of the greatest attributes of a highly successful person is focus. They understand the issues in front of them and devote their entire energies and mindshare to problem solving. They don’t spend time on distractions or procrastinate.

Be good at something

Successful people spend their time learning new skills and honing those skills by practice, practice and more practice. They become the expert... the "go to" person... the person who is indispensable. They continue to add new skills, techniques, and talents to their repertoire.

Push yourself

Successful people are self-starters. They want to get out of bed each morning. They want to lead. They have an unquenchable thirst for learning new things. They want new challenges in front of them. Successful people move ahead not because they lack fear... they move forward despite their fears.

Serve others

Successful people understand the "value equation" where people will trade their money, time and/or other resources for something of value. They know how to create something valuable that people want or need. They understand that by first helping others to get what they want... you will allow you the opportunity to get what you want.


Ideas come from listening... they come from observing... they come from asking questions... being curious... solving problems... they come from discussions and personal social interactions. Not all ideas will work... but if you focus on creating a lot of ideas... then some of them will eventually work.


Successful people fail. They have failed in the past... they fail in the present... and they will fail in the future... but after each failure... they get up... dust themselves off... and try again. They persist even though they might fail... they persist even when they are criticized by others... they persist even when their ideas are rejected. 

Success can not solely be defined in term of dollars and cents, a career, or other business ventures.

Success can be found in a successful relationships, philanthropic endeavors, higher education, sports and recreational activities, involvement in the community or places of worship.

Success is the journey... not the desination...

Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse, where we strive to help you to find as much success as possible. 


Jim Kalb

www.optifuse.blogspot.com (blog archive)

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