A formula of success

July 3, 2019

Disclaimer: this is not a formula 'for' success. It is not a step-by-step guide how to achieve success. Instead it is philosophical approach to the concept of success.

In fact it is even a simple mathematical formula, that started as a thought experiment. Let's say you don't want success and you even want to minimize your success as much as possible. In our culture it is very common to strive for a maximum of success, but let's think we want the opposite. And if success was a number how could we get that number as low as possible. Here is the formula:

(effort + luck) / expectations = success

Now if we put in zero effort, count on a little luck and have huge expectations, how much success do we have in the end. Let's substitute the numbers.

(0 + 1) / 1000000 = 0.000001

Excellent! A very low successrate... Let's break down the formula.

The first part effort has been documented enough. Put more effort into something and the chances that it will succeed become higher. But there is still a factor of chance, hence the second part luck. More luck is more success. Note that these are two seperate parts: one you can control and one you can't control.

But the third part expectations, is where it gets interesting. If you somehow manage to lower your expectations, but still put in some effort and have some luck, there will be more surprises waiting for you.

Now, i know it is very paternalizing to say: 'Lower your expectations, young one!', but just think of the whole formula. Maybe you don't need to put in as much effort or have as much luck as you think you should. You just need to balance the whole thing.


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