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Several Truths Regarding Success

Truth 1: People convince themselves not to do something

A lot of the time when it comes down to doing something, people convince themselves away from doing it on counts of risk, on counts of time, on counts of effort and difficulty. While all these points hold weight, they are typically massively overestimated and overblown.

As the most basic example of this, in an 8 hour day of work, people tend to only do 1-2 hours of "real" work, but often this "real" work isn't effective or successful work because it's terribly mismanaged in large corporations.

I would say about 95% of people fall into this category.

Truth 2: Actually finishing something

There is a common element about programmers... they start projects and do not finish them. The same is said of Game Developers, Artists, Musicians etc. While there's something to be said of starting a project for study, exercise or improvement of your skills... most people simply do not finish their projects.

I would say a further 90% of projects people do fall into this category.

Truth 3: Regarding quality of work

Sturgeon's law says 90% of everything is crap. Personally, my standards of quality are much higher so I'd be much more aggressive about this, and say 95% of everything is crap. As a result of this, you will also find success if you produce something of quality.

Truth 4: Regarding marketing of work

Most people don't know how to market themselves. Admittedly, I am the same so I cannot offer advice on how to market well- but I observe this fact, and this hurts a further 90% of projects.

Truth 5: Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle is the 80/20 rule. As a result, one can observe that 80% of the work is done for 20% of the effort. While this doesn't always hold, as a general point it holds. This also interacts interestingly with "value-action" gap, where announcing your plans and intentions tends to hurt your efforts on them as you get "social dopamine" from this. As a result of the final 20% of the work requiring 80% of the effort to reach that very high bar of quality... if you're running for that dopamine, you will suffer with regards to Truth 2.

I am generally of the opinion that this general statement holds true:

"Make a high quality work, make people who are interested aware of its existence somewhere during the last 10% of the work, and actually finish and deliver it... and it will succeed".

Truth 6: Matthew 25:29

Now this also entertains a final point regarding success. Success is typically iterative, each success rebounds with further bigger successes. Similarly each failure rebounds with bigger failures.

=> This is also a secret meaning of the Bible verse "Matthew 25:29". This is commonly given the name of the Matthew effect of cumulative advantage.

Conclusion and tangents

I label the above as truths. It's more apt to call them truisms. Regardless you can multiply these out to find out how many people will typically be successful. 0.05 * 0.1 * 0.1 * 0.1 = 0.005% of the population. As a fraction, that is 1/20000.

Now this is merely for a high quality, "good" work that succeeds. Now add a healthy dollop of creativity, and creativity is already one of those qualities that is typically doomed from the outset as nature's offshoot mutation in individual strategy that typically face-plants and fails.

An interesting idea would be to plot this against a population graph of the world and the geographic history of the world to see how this relates to the "great" people of history. There is also probably a cultural coefficient that worsens or improves certain nations. America for example, with its liberties and capitalist reward in line with the Matthew effect provides good reward to the good people.

This is also a point in the direction of the vast majority of people being leeches... but most living creatures are leeches in terms of how they acquire resources to live, so it's natural that it's a strategy for living for people.

Published on 2024/01/28

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