The Biggest (Yet Least Known) Secret of Success

What is your metric of success? Your social status or the amount of money you make? The total valuation of your properties? How quickly you own fancy gadgets gadgets before your peers? Or the number of foreign trips you make? Or some points which are not written here?

I have some bad news. If you measure success with tangible results, you will never have enough. Someone will always make more money than you, or can afford more expensive tastes than you. I’m sure even Columbian drug lords think that they don’t make enough money.

So how can you measure success intangibly and live happily?

Success is living your life on your own terms.

Many success secrets have been revealed in articles online. Don’t worry. This post is not another listicle. Instead, let’s talk about the single most powerful trait that will let you pursue success – the one trait that people strictly advice you against.

I have read extensively about success people – their lives, struggles, trials, acid tests and victories. Each of them followed one philosophy diligently:

Success ∝  ______________________________
How much you care about what people think

Yes, success is inversely proportional to how much you care about what people think.

Think about it. How many times have you suppressed the desire to do something because you were afraid of what others would think? How often have you wondered about how amazing it would be not to care about others’ opinions, but found it impossible to implement? Man is a social animal after all, right?

But history is proof that time and again, the men (and women) who swam against the tide truly lived their lives. Steve Jobs landed himself a job in HP after he called up the CEO for spare parts for his computer. Would you? Most of us refrain, fearing what the CEO of HP and our colleagues might think. Ingvar Kamprad outsourced operations of labor of IKEA to Poland when retailers in Sweden refused to stack his goods because his products were undercutting competition. This, when the Berlin Wall was being erected and the military condition in Cuba was getting out of hand. Ratan Tata went against the market sentiment and bought Corus Steel, Jaguar and Land Rover. He pledged most of his empire to raise funds for the acquisitions. True, some decisions go bad, but those are part of the journey towards success.

Imagine what a world we would live in if everyone cared about what others think. A world without Harry Potter, Star Wars, LED lighting, Post-Its, and without cars.

Not caring about what others think means that you become brash and cocky. Feedback is important. But accepting feedback from the right people is even more important. According to research conducted by Justin Berg, test audiences are 55 percent more prone to undervaluing a strong idea than creators. This means that focus groups get it wrong more than half the time. Creators, on the other hand, can give more accurate feedback and help you refine what you do. So if you want to pursue a new idea, ask successful entrepreneurs for feedback.

The same applies to happiness. The less you care about what others think, the happier you are. Naysayers are many. You will always find people who will discourage you. In fact, the more radical the thought, the more the resistance.

I’m not asking you to stop giving a damn about the world; not saying that you should be a jerk to your parents, spouse, children and friends. But don’t let people hold you down. Follow two simple steps to unravel the secrets of success. First, surround yourself with people who love and support you. If you don’t know of any, look harder. You will find many. Second, pursue what you believe in with enthusiasm. People will talk negatively no matter how hard you try convincing them. But if you succeed, the same people will say that they always had faith in you.

Originals feel fear, too. They’re afraid of failing, but what sets them apart from the rest of us is that they’re even more afraid of failing to try.” – Adam Grant

If you succeed, people will shower praises. If you fail, you will have learnt a valuable lesson. And you will not live with the regret of not having tried. So go ahead. Follow your dreams even if you think that nobody approves. Because one person will always have your back. Me. Good luck.


  1. Tushar Gangoly April 4, 2016
  2. Purvesh Gada April 4, 2016
  3. Shantala April 5, 2016

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