Observations From Successful People

One thing I’ve been pretty interested in lately is people that achieve a high level of success. When I say success, in this post, I mean people who have earned a lot of money. I believe I have been able to make some pretty accurate observations about these types of people, and I want to outline them in today’s post.

First, An Analogy

A 22 year old guy, let’s call him Charlie, walks into one of the biggest financial consulting firms in the world. He goes to the front desk, tells the lady at the desk his name, and waits. No more than 5 minutes later a man, let’s call him Steve, comes out, says his name, and welcomes him to come chat.

They talk about a variety of things. Business, Charlie’s history and background, sports, movies, and other topics that all seem ordinary. At the end of the meeting, Steve told Charlie he’d be happy to have him working at their company.

A lot of people, if they could observe Charlie’s interaction with Steve might think, “I could do that. I could walk into a big financial consulting firm and talk about everything they talked about. So why can’t I get a great job at a big financial consulting firm?”

Because, the reason Charlie got hired has almost nothing to do with how their conversation went. Well, that’s not exactly true. It’s more accurate to say that Steve never would have agreed to speak with Charlie if Charlie did not have the amazing background that he did.

See, what I didn’t tell you about Charlie was that he went to a very good college. He got into that college by studying very hard in high school. A lot of weekends where he could have been at the lake or playing video games he spent studying, or figuring out what different schools liked in papers you submit with your application.

Then, after he got into a great college, Charlie spent a lot of time studying again. 4 years down, 4 more to go. In addition to studying he looked into what clubs he could get into that would look good to employers. He looked at what jobs or internships could he get in the summer that employers would like to see more than white space between May and August on his resume.

See, the problem with most people who would look at Charlie’s interview with Steve is that they only see the interview. They don’t think about the fact that Charlie actually spent 8 years of his life preparing for that moment. Every day doing homework, every weekend spent in preparation rather than play, every decision thought about with the long-term in mind led Charlie to that “easy” looking interview.

What This Post Is Inspired By

This post is inspired by a podcast episode by Gary Vaynerchuk talking about how “there is no such thing as overnight success…it doesn’t exist”.


Now, there are different levels of success and different metrics by which you can measure success. I’m sure there are people in this world who have very little money and ample amounts of success.

That being said, the people who do earn ridiculous amounts of money, particularly through building a business, are interesting to me. I think I’ve narrowed down a few characteristics of these people.


This is almost a pet peeve of mine at this point since people of success love talking about their routine. The reason it annoys me is because I don’t think they necessarily had this routine before they became successful.

However, I do believe having a routine of some kind can be beneficial. Even something simple like making your bed or doing a daily blog. There are actually studies that suggest having a daily routine is a sign of ambition.

Working After 5 & On Weekends

This is the biggy. This is the one nobody likes. This is the one that gets in the way. This is the one that likely separates the people who want to earn/achieve something more and the people who would like to wake up one day having magically achieved something more.

This is also the one that gets me down. I don’t want to work until 8 or 9 or 10 or 11 or midnight every night. I don’t want to give up weekends with my friends, who are one of the most important things in my life. I don’t want to give up video games. And neither do a lot of other people.

You know how I know? Because there are a lot less Gary Vaynerchuks and Tim Ferris’s and Jamie Foxx’s and Seth Rogins in the world than there are people who work a 9-5 or 8-5 and go home.

Now, this has been getting me kind of depressed lately. Because frankly, when I listen to these successful people they sound great and I would love to meet them, but I don’t think I want to be like them. I never really dreamed of an extravagant life. I always thought I’d be more happy with an average life. I’d have an average job, marry an average girl, buy an average house, grow old, and eventually that’d be it.

Don’t get me wrong, when I’m at work I try to make what I do above average for sure. You have to. Otherwise you won’t last long no matter what business you are in. If you’re not improving you’re not standing still, you’re falling behind.

I’ve just always been more of an observer than a go-getter I suppose. The problem is I’m not sure if that is me making excuses or not. Hell, take any person in the world. If they are not shooting for the stars are they just making excuses for doing what would be easy?

After all, some say that we were not put on this planet to be ordinary. Yet, aren’t most people ordinary? By definition, if there are people in the world who are “extremely successful” then wouldn’t it stand to reason that there are a large number of people who are not and are therefore “ordinary”? Are all of those people failures?

Whew, maybe I’m overthinking all of this crap. The above was just a series of seemingly very negative thoughts I had after listening to a podcast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *