Seven hours in airplanes provide the perfect opportunity for some reading. Yesterday, I purchased at the airport bookstore Robert Herjavec’s The will to win: Leading, competing, succeeding. Herjavec isn’t a name familiar to me, though his claim to celebrity arises from his participation as a Shark Tank panelist. His story, of rising from an impoverished Croatian immigrant to leading a massively successful online security business, is inspiring.
The advice he shares, of course, reflects his experience, wealth-generation and personal values and it seems the basis of his success is largely his sales ability and his capacity in finding others with great talent to work with him.
There are points about when and how to take risk, and the need to set and achieve smaller but challenging goals on the way to greater things. Much of the material here reflects the “how to succeed in life” literature we’ve seen since the days of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich.
Of course, as he points out in his concluding chapter, nature doesn’t always dish out opportunities or hardships fairly. He shares a story of a child with deadly cancer achieving his (brief) lifetime dream of being able to “go fast” in Herjavec’s race car.
His mother told me that she was a fan of mine, and asked the secret of my success. I replied without thinking:: “Bad stuff happens in life, and when it does, you just have to get up the next day and carry on.”
My words brought a small sad smile to her face, and she said, “Yes, I know.”
Immediately, I felt an inch high. Maybe less.
I wish I had an answer to the improbabilities that often define our lives. Luck really matters. Of course, successful people say that they know when and how to capture their good fortune and apply it with spirit, determination and some forward thinking accomplishments. Yet there were and are forces beyond their own control that certainly influenced and created their opportunities.
These thoughts frame my perception I enjoy Google’s hospitality in San Jose. How has luck intersected with personal accomplishment to define my, or your, life?