Success leaves clues, which is one of the main reasons I love to read biographies. I’ve recently read the biographies of the amazing Jay Z and Steve Jobs. They have achieved amazing things, and the books carefully outline their steps to success. However, some of the actions don’t match my internal representations of success. A traits both biographies highlight is the disloyalty of the heroes. This got me wondering: can it be that you should be disloyal in order to succeed?
As I believe in an honest approach when doing business, I’m not willing to accept a relation between disloyalty and success. Besides, Zig Ziglar taught me long ago that true success can never be one-sided: if you earn a lot of money but you destroy your relationships, health or faith along the way, then you are not successful.
So how was I going to internalize disloyalty in my model for success? Both guys became billionaires, so they must have done something good. It got me thinking for days. But then I tried an alternative route. Could it be that these guys had such an amazing skill set that it would compensate for their negative behavior? Could you be successful not because a specific behavior, but despite?
I immediately believed this to be true. Many theories like this one from Gallup suggest that everybody has strengths and weaknesses, even our most admired heroes. That’s why you should always think before you model. There are many examples of successful people that have achieved amazing things despite large roadblocks. Stephen Hawking had ALS, Helen Keller was both blind and deaf. However, most of the weaknesses our idols have are less obvious. You should be cautious for the ones that you don’t see straight away.
Success leaves clues. It’s up to you to find the right ones.