I like lists just as much as the next person. The top 5 highest grossing rock n’ roll bands. Pitchers with the lowest ERA going into September. Maybe the best places to eat while in Salt Lake City. But the weed like propagation of blogs and articles that not only list, but seem to mandate one model their personal and professional lives after the ultra rich or highly successful has reached critical mass. Articles such as 9 Things Rich People Do Everyday or 15 Things Startup Entrepreneurs Never Do. The list goes on and on (pun intended).
So here is 5 reasons why you should not only NOT pay attention to them, but why they distort your view of success.
1. Confusing causation with correlation. If the rooster crows at dawn, it does not mean the rooster causes the sun to rise. In other words if highly successful people floss their teeth everyday, you should too. You will have healthy gums, but you might fall short in making the country’s richest people.
2. Family and network. Who you know and more importantly who knows YOU can help to propel one from moderate success to massive success. Using your network and contacts to bolster one’s career is never a bad thing.
3. Natural ability. Some people are just really, really good at what they do. Be it Shaquille O’Neil or Richard Branson, they have just honed their natural ability to such a fine point that they can dominate everything they do.
4. Hard work. Just working really hard and not taking shortcuts is much more important than the fact that some rich and successful people don’t watch TV.
5. These lists always seem to leave out the fact that some people’s random circumstances play a huge role in the success in their life. If one is born into a tribal village in sub-Saharan Africa their likelihood of being a billionaire is much lower than someone born in Beverly Hills. It is economic randomness.
So if you want to be the tops in your industry or obscenely rich; work hard, use your network, take advantage of your surroundings, and just be nice to people.
Good Luck and Good Selling!