Why Some People Fail and Others Succeed – Part 1

March 13, 2009

282pic3Why do some things, people and ideas remain ageless and timeless? While others can just come and go like Haley’s comet? What’s the ONE winning secret that separates a winners from a loser?

Perusing the landscape of winners and losers suggest, most don’t make it simply because nothing is supposed to last forever. The Roman Empire didn’t make it. Neither did the Greeks or even the great Chinese empire, so why should we – truth is we’re just as vulnerable to the chastening passage of time. What this recession really shows us is nothing – and I mean nothing can last forever; not even if it comes with the copper clad 100 year appelation of Lehman Bros, or the juggernaut size of Bear Stearns and panoptical financial reach of AIG.

Time it seems is the great equilizer – the great leveller, even.

But every now and then, we all come across those firms, individuals and even stuff which manage to slip through the odds and manage to make it. Nothing seems to affect these winners, not economic melt downs, natural disasters or even cataclysmic events like war or plug, play and throw away age. They’re just anchored like the stoutest lighthouses shouting out at the top of their voice, “come what may, I am here to stay!”

What am I talking about; that old bike that just rides better than it looks – you just know once the gear mashes followed by the forward glide – this a winner / or that girl that you always go back too – and no matter what may come and go – she will always be right in the middle of your life – or even that buddy that’s always been there.

But what’s lies behind the secret of these winners?

One clue to understanding why some things wax and wane, while others remain ageless and timeless is to be found in the science of life expectancies. To cut to the chase the math is pretty screwy here, so I’ve spare you all a comatose inducing lecture, but if I had to hammer it down to one phrase it would be this simply this:

“Stuff (and this includes everything from hamburgers, firms to governments) that endure are designed to beat the law of averages.”

Of course, I am simplifying big time here gutting out whole chunks of math, stats, axioms and even disquisitions so I know some of you out there will probably be hollering at the top of your voice, “You idiot, what about wear and tear, weather and a number of other factors can influence life expectancy like a lousy attitude?”  OK, I hear you, but if we square off the irritating details with our broader than broad rule or ladle and discount anomalies like housewife’s who regularly electrocute themselves because they don’t know how to use a power tool or drive their cars into bollards etc – the whole of idea of beating the law of averages is actually quite a robust theory that does a very good job of explaining why some products, firms and stuff manage to thrive long before the end of their expected life spans.

A big chunk of the reason is because we don’t usually use all functions that’s offered by either products and services regularly marketed by firms. Don’t believe me, when was the last time you took a picture, saved it and printed it into a photo? Or how many programs do you regularly use in the latest Microsoft Vista? Even the number of songs you listen too in an iPod, if you tabulate it out, it would probably be less that the regular 100 odd despite the capacity to hold 5,000 tunes. By the same logic, I know the latest PDA offers probably 1,000 new functions complete with all the bells and whistles of regression curves cum extrapolation that basically even allows a novice engineer to build an atomic bomb, but if I really squared off the day to day usages of functions I regularly use – I would probably end up lets say simple addition and subtraction – the rest you could just chuck out and it wouldn’t really make any difference.

So the key to understanding why somethings have this enduring capacity to remain ageless and timeless is to look deeper at the 20% instead of trying to figure out the larger than life picture of the 80%.

And what does that mean; well simply this – if you are going to love a woman to bits, its going to be that 20% that makes all the world of difference and never the 80% (like how she never shaves her armpits) – if you’re going to put rat poison into some ones coffee its probably going to be the 20% that pushes you over the edge (that could explain the stabbing pain somewhere in my liver right now) – if you’re going buy car A instead of B; the decider is just going to be 20% and if you win or lose in life – the margin of between the thrill of victory and agony of defeat is just separated by that elusive 20% that makes up the rest of the 80% to make up the wholeness of 100%.

And that’s all I have time for. Its time for my morning run, I’ve be back again in part two with the rest of the 20% of this essay – stay tuned and remember to check out our new portal in wayangparty.com.

Remember, life just boils down to 20%.

(to be con’t)

Darkness 2009

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