Ludwig Wittgenstein, a prominent 20th century philosopher, once said that the goal of his philosophy was to show the fly the way out of the fly bottle. The way out of this fly bottle – the path to success – is to realize that we each achieve success in our own unique way by using the gifts we’ve been given. Rather than seeking to acquire or hone one definitive set of traits, each person can, instead, seek the answers to these questions:
1. What would success look like for me?
2. What are my gifts – my natural strengths, aptitudes and abilities?
3. How can I use my gifts to achieve success?
4. How can I grow, develop and amplify those gifts?
It’s important to realize that the answers to those questions might change over time. At any age, you might discover talents or career possibilities you were previously unaware of. Your answer to question #1 might be very different when you’re 21 than when you’re 40.
It’s also important to invest wisely. You have thousands of options for how to invest your effort and perseverance in pursuit of success. Choose wisely. Take the time to discern your greatest areas of strength, aptitude and ability, and invest there. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-Hour Rule certainly works, but he never denies that talent is the ticket to admission. One can only achieve the highest levels of success when both are present – talent plus the 10,000 hours that most (even those who are highly talented) will not invest.
Wherever you are in your life’s journey, answer those four questions, act on your insights and invest wisely. That formula will empower you to achieve the success you seek.