Distortions of success

by: Anthony Demangone

When you see someone find success, it can be easy to attribute it to good fortune. Or perhaps a genetically-inspired skill set that made their success inevitable.

That’s why I like reading about successful people. Usually, their story isn’t one of skill or luck.

The John Maxwell Company highlighted this so well in a post about Julie Andrews. I grew up with parents who were hooked on musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein, so I was no stranger to the music from The Sound of Music.

It turns out, much to my surprise, that Andrews wasn’t born a natural singer. And she endured a ton of failure in her career.

The article raises a number of points, but two of them really spoke to me.

  1. When it comes to success, we overestimate luck, and we underestimate the role of hard work.
  2. When it comes to success, we overestimate skill, and we underestimate stamina.

Why do we do that? I have a guess.

continue reading »