Success And A Sure Fire Formula

Success and the success formula - guy at a blackboard with a formula


I have a success formula which works but you probably won’t like it. It works almost every time it is carefully followed. Most people hate it simply because there are no short-cuts.

My claim is totally true by the way, I really do have a success formula and, what’s more, I’m going to give my  formula to you today for free at the end of this article.

Before we look at the formula, I’m going to look at the concept of success itself and bust a few myths about success and its opposite number, failure.

What is success?

Success means different things to different people. We know this is true. Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose or the good outcome of an undertaking.

For example, one person may see climbing Everest as their personal success. Another person might see walking unaided after a major accident as equally important. Yet another may see acquiring the last china plate in a limited edition set as their personal peak achievment.

Is one occurrence or expression of success better than another? No, not at all. It is what it is and is equal for all, am I right? Maybe.

Success and failure are only relative and very subjective

Success and failure are relative terms? They are relative to a baseline measure or target. To say someone is successful means comparing what they have or have achieved against a set target then deciding whether they are equal to or above that target. Below the target means failure.

In the absence of a target or baseline everything you do simply represents data. Labelling or classifying statements are only brought into existence and given meaning when that data is measured and contrasted in some way.

How anyone else thinks or feels about someone else’s success or failure depend on their beliefs, perceptions and values. These are also relative terms based on variable benchmarks. Life is a very subjective experience indeed.

Setting the right benchmark for yourself is the key

Activities we undertake are judged against some criteria to ascertain whether the activity succeeds or fails. This is a key point to understand. Success and failure are subjective. One person’s failure could be another’s success. Criteria are set internally, and we measure ourselves against the target. The criteria can also be set externally by other people or situations and we are judged accordingly. Can we trust these criteria to be fair or even accurate? How are these criteria arrived at?

When you agree to or set criteria for yourself, you will have full control over what triggers a label of success or failure. Use your options wisely. Set criteria which have genuine meaning and value for you.

Some criteria are set by society at large and based on years of collective knowledge as to what is good or bad. These are generally called laws and although they are still subjective the authorities do prefer you adhere to them.

We cannot escape these pesky judgements

Rightly or wrongly, we set criteria and criteria are set for us all the time. We cannot avoid being measured and judged against these criteria. We are either above the mark or below it. Success or failure.

How do we know which side we are on? The feedback we get from our internal processes and the world at large, informs us if we have succeeded or failed.

If we are continually rewarded for our successes we become conditioned to seek more of it. You can, however, have too much of a good thing. If all we knew in life was endless success, there would be no need for articles like this. If there is no darkness there can be no light, can there? Same with this. Continual victories would pall after a while as there would be no failure to compare it with. It might be nice to experience it for a while of course.

Let’s discuss the dread spectre of failure

Failure is the flip-side of success. Failure is a taboo subject because failure is bad. Winning is wonderful, but failure is to be avoided at all costs. I have even been told by, certain managers and bosses over the years, “Failure is not an option.” I hate to bear some shocking news for them but, like it or not, failure is most certainly an option.

Failure happens all the time. Small failures, big failures and even catastrophic terminal failures happen. It is an inescapable fact of everyone’s life. Life is an inherently risky undertaking. A life lived without risk is a poor sort of life. If you never try anything you will never succeed at anything. Remember that failure is a relative term like success. Failing means your target criterion aren’t being met.

How we react to and respond to our failures and successes is what’s important.

Learning from feedback is the key to transforming failure into your biggest ally.

Not learning from feedback is what I consider to be real failure.

A challenge for you

As an interesting and powerful thought experiment, I offer you the challenge of asking yourself two simple but deep questions:  “What does success mean to me?” and “What does failure mean to me?” Take some time over these. This thought experiment demands considered and honest answers. The results are surprising.

Here at last is a free sure-fire success formula just for you.

A free sure-fire success formula? Am I insane?

“Why would you give away a surefire success formula?” I hear you cry. “Won’t everyone muscle in on your territory once they have the secret?”

No is the answer. I’m on safe ground here because there is always  a lot of room for others to succeed. Some people will be successful and happy in their lives, but the fact is most people will not be successful. People will respond in many ways to this lack of success. Some people will not really care one way or another. Many people will chase one type of success and find it was not what they really wanted or needed. Other people will keep trying for success anyway and simply enjoy the adventure. Too many people will try then fail then blame others for their lack of success and live lives full of anger, bitterness and regret. Unfortunately, there are more failure versions than success versions. There are no real guarantees in life.

Why did I create this success formula post and the subsequent series?

To be absolutely clear and open with you, this post was initially meant to be somewhat satirical. A tongue-in-cheek swipe at the “get rich quick” brigade and our increasing desire as a population to want to cut corners and take the easy option. That was my intention when I began to write it, but things changed a little.

However, after I kicked the idea around with a few friends and, once we got talking more seriously about it, the idea took on a whole new life and perspective. We all agreed that most people today are looking for shortcuts to success and easy fixes for their problems. Life is not like this. Real and lasting success in life takes effort and time. All your effort over your whole lifetime in fact.

Based on this I felt there was a need for a reality check and a reminder of some old-fashioned values which will lead you to success. I decided to make a more thoughtful guide to a proven process of success and as a result a whole slew of articles will follow this one. I’d love to hear your comments and stories of your own successes. Do you have your own sure-fire success formula?

What is going wrong?

Some people have concerns when they first learn of such a formula. The overall amount of work required overwhelms them. Some people have no plan at all and merely hope for success to arrive by itself. Many people already know the formula or one very much like it. They may have tried and failed already. Many people give up their trial too soon. They lack the necessary elements needed to achieve a good result in one or more or even all of factors in the equation, but they are either unwilling or unable to address the deficit. I do not judge people of course, I merely speak from experience. I have my own life to lead and, whilst I can consider other people’s perspectives, the only one I can be truly confident and honest about is my own.

We all have many options in our lives and a great many paths we could follow. Two great question to ask yourself are: “Which path am I going to follow?” and “Where do I stand on my chosen path right now?”

The formula

Here then is my formula for success. 14 named factors plus the mysterious factor X.

Revel in its glory for a minute or two then I will explain a little further.

Success = Reason + Goal + Measure + Strategy + Knowledge + Action + Work + Feedback + Focus + Support + Attitude + Belief + Patience + Grit + Factor X

Now, I said I had A formula for success not THE formula. There are others out there, of course. Perhaps there are in fact no genuine formulae at all? Who knows? This one might not work for you at all – I offered no guarantees. It is, however, correct for me, which is what ultimately counts.

An overview of the success formula factors


You need a big why as fuel for your journey. Something intrinsic rather than extrinsic works best.


You need a target to aim at. How will you know you have achieved success if you don’t know what you’re aiming at?


Take care to check progress by measuring but make sure you are measuring the right things.


You need at least one strategy. You can then use the best tactics to achieve your strategy and get to your desired goal.


You of course need knowledge but can you have too much knowledge? Yes you can and it can lead to delays whilst you build it up. You have to know when to stop and take some action.


Speaking of which this is where the rubber meets the road. It is what turns mere plans into tangible outcomes. Action is where the magic happens.


Achieving anything of real value takes work. Work is the payment for success.


Once you take action you can compare what happens to an ideal scenario. This is feedback and feedback is like oxygen for successful people.


Being able to focus and knowing when to focus are key skills. When to relax, when to pay attention and when to focus are all inter-linked competencies.


You will struggle to operate in a vacuum. We have support available all around us yet we often don’t see it or reject it through fear of appearing weak. We all need support so knowing when and how to get it is critical.


You can call this factor mindset if you like. This is crucial as the wrong attitude or mindset can undo any other good work you have out it. The right attitude or mindset can overcome a number of limitations and boost your chances of achieving success.


Believing in your goal is vital but I believe self-belief and confidence is actually far more important to get the job done.


You must have the patience keep on keeping on without taking shortcuts or giving up through boredom. Success takes as long as it takes to achieve so patience can definitely be a virtue.


This refers to your ability to move forward with steely determination and overcome  your obstacles despite sometimes feeling down and out. The tenacity and doggedness to stick to your purpose through thick and thin is what will get you to your endpoint. Resilience and “bounce-back-ability” are also crucial.

Factor X

This is whatever you need it to be to get the job done. It is your formula so make it yours by adding one or more factors which will help you succeed.

Will the formula work for you?

Yes, I do believe the formula, and the success factors it contains, will give you a solid foundation on which to build and achieve your success. These success elements are battle-proven. Tested and refined over the ages means they are reliable and work. Many successful people have followed just such a formula because it works and they knew it would work. I have even included the mystery term Factor X which you can use to include any other element or elements to make your formula special to you. For me, the term Factor X represents fun. I maximise fun in my life because nothing is a true success for me without some built-in fun.

Over to you

I’ve given you the success formula. Can you make it work? The formula is difficult to follow through to your success. Follow it through and your well-deserved success will be the right success for you.

As I mentioned earlier, I am planning to run a series of articles to usefully expand on the various terms in the formula and why I have deliberately chosen not to include some terms which other people feel are essential. I hope you will enjoy them and gain some benefit from them.

I hope you enjoyed this first article in the series and found it useful. If you did then please like it and share it. Every little bit helps in internet land.

Why not check out the other Success Formula series posts?

Reason Provides Your Driving Force

What Goal Are You Aiming At?

Measure It Right To Succeed

Strategy And Why You Need One

Knowledge Is Essential

Action Required Now

Work Smart Effectively

Feedback Is The Fuel Of Champions

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