in Life Lessons

The Dirty Little Secret About Success No One Admits

Being an occasional binge watcher of America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent shows (don’t judge), I can’t help but cheer on contestants who are obviously talented.

But what gets my attention the most is what Simon says every now and then, when a more senior performer gets on the stage.

He always says:

“So you haven’t gotten your Big Break?”

He characterizes the Big Break as though it was a life event – like marriage or winning the World Cup.

In many ways, it is.

Even a music producer as accomplished as Simon knows that there is such a thing as a lucky event that changes the course of one’s career.

The late Anthony Bourdain got his Big Break after submitting an essay about the untold truths of the culinary world to the New Yorker magazine. The rest, as they say, is history.

This concept was intriguing but I didn’t think it applied to me, until I spoke to a old friend of mine recently.

Success is about getting your Big Break

My friend is a year older than me and he started working since he was 20. He is one of the most ambitious people I know.

But in recent years, he seemed to have slowed down. Mellowed. He used to talk about hitting his riches young. But now, he lives a more carefree life.

I asked him about this. I asked what made him “give up” on his lofty goals.

He said he didn’t. He replied:

“I realized after years of working that getting rich is a matter of opportunity. So far, I haven’t been presented the opportunity (Big Break) yet.”

He further added that as long as he is headed in the right direction towards his life goals – he shouldn’t worry too much. Opportunities will come his way, he just has to be prepared and keep his eyes open.

This resonates also with another quote I got from an elderly friend after I ask what makes success in his industry (renovations). He said –

“When you try to chase money, it’s hard. When money tries to chase you, it’s easy.”

What he meant by that was – as much you try to push your product / service to the world, the sale doesn’t nearly as easy as when people come looking for you instead.

How to get to your Big Break faster

Now, does this give you permissions to throw your arms in the air and give up?

NO. Absolutely NOT.

Like George Clason wrote in The Richest Man in Babylon:

A man of action is favored by the goddess of good luck.

Most successful people would agree that the harder you work (read: harder and smarter), the luckier you get.

Take this analogy for a sec.

Imagine there are 10 doors in front of you. Each of them represents an opportunity. One has of them is the BIG one – it has the potential to turn your life around and give you everything you want.

Now, what would you do?

The best bet is to calculate the risk of each door (since you can’t do it all), then decide and tackle the best door.

If it doesn’t contain your Big Break, go back and try the next one.

How many times should you try until you get what you want?

As many times as it takes.

Don’t be the one who gives up easily after 2 failed attempts. Be the one who tries until the goal is achieved.

This analogy also rings true with the cliche that the most successful people failed the most (and how some to strike gold early on).

But the best part about success is, as Mark Cuban put it –

“You only have to be right once.”