Lifehacker asks: What is the essential key to career success? Their take is curiosity.
I have been thinking hard about this as well the past week or so, but from a different angle. I meet so many people with good potential who disappoint me with their unprofessionalism and their tunnel-vision world views that it is physically depressing for me.
I have been thinking hard about what is wrong — what is wrong with all these kids coming out of colleges with no idea how the real world works, but still believing that their point of view about professional ethics, communications, legal and moral responsibility, and work behavior is correct…
…especially when those opinions are based solely on the environment they see around themselves — a society where mediocraty is the norm, personal opinions matter more than proven fact, where vanity on top of factual ignorance is rewarded, and deceiving, lying, stealing from, and manipulating your employers / benefactors / seniors often gives you a short-win in the larger trek of your career.
What is the #1 key to success, something that our students and employees and even companies — all professionals — need to adopt for us to be successful in our careers, in our ventures, in our industry?
I have thought about this over many-a-jar of coffee. I think this #1 key to success is the desire to be the best.
I look at a young promising new professional as an analogy for the industry. The way to succeed as a professional is to work with a company that is trying to push the boundaries of what is possible in your field — a company that is creating new cutting-edge knowledge or theses about that field.
In order to succeed in that company, you will have to learn the cutting-edge of what the world already knows, and then you will able to push the boundary and create something entirely new. In terms of pure knowledge, no other type of experience can make you an absolute expert within the same amount of time as other experiences.
In other words, success comes from being willing to face a challenge that everyone around you tells you is impossible, and then overcoming it.
The trouble is, all I see from that young professional — most young professionals these days — is an attitude that says “I just want something comfortable… not too much work… easy timings … car, phone, travel covered … and I want to learn but, not too much… anything with differential equations, recursion and regular expressions and thats just too much work…”
The trouble is, 95% of the companies around them also accept mediocre people, so if they had a choice between hard work that will ultimately make them successful, or 5-6 years of hopping around casual easy-going jobs, young professionals are choosing the latter.
We are losing the desire to be the best in the world in what we know — we only want to go as far as being better than our friends in salaries / materialism. On the other hand, I think this is the one fundamental trait in Americans that have pushed them to achieve higher and higher standards of achievement right from the start of that country — the desire to be better than everyone else around them in terms of knowledge, skills, and ability.
That was my take — what do you think is the #1 key to success?