I've learnt something from 20 years out in the wild of commercial and government enterprise, and it's that human beings - like old computers - are discarded at an alarming rate. I don't mean sacked, or made redundant, I mean thrown on the dust heap with the used papers.

I'm not about to rant about this, rather to explain to you my thoughts on how people work and why success is not guaranteed in this world of ours.

The Elements of Success

Listen to your average Dr Phil, or Oprah Winfrey show and you might thing that the only thing that stands in the way of you and success is your own willpower. Well they are absolutely wrong, and are just soundbytes telling us what we want to hear.

How often does a fortune teller say you are going to die ? Never. Dr Phil and Oprah are not about to tell us bad things, they will lose viewers.

There is in fact, three elements of success:

  • Yourself : Yes a large part is yourself (so Dr Phil wasn't totally out)
  • Other People : You need other people - success doesn't come alone
  • Environment : You need an environment allowing success, including money, education

If anyone thinks a starving child in Ethiopia just needs willpower to become the boss of a large software corporation - has more than a screw loose. The simple fact is, that everyone depends on those three things to gain success.

Look at acceptance speeches by famous actors, biographies of large company CEOs - all of them had a stroke of luck, which they took advantage of and friends and family to depend on at the start.

What Dr Phil and his cohorts really should be saying, is that you can't get anywhere unless you want to - because that is true.

Elements of Yourself

I want to concentrate of the individual for a moment.

Have you ever wondered what drives you, how you do things and why you may seem less than someone else. Well the good news guys is that it is all an illusion, everyone has something to offer - the problem isn't with you.

Here is why.

People have three driving forces in what they do:

  • Thinking - How well you think, this is your ideas and creativity and working things out
  • Wanting - What you want that you don't have, what you would really like to do
  • Doing - What you are really good at doing, your skills and abilities.

In case you are lost, I'm going to get personal here and tell you some of my driving forces in each of these three areas.

  • Thinking - I've got a complete novel in my head called 'Craznar Millenium' which I thought of in 1987, it's still in my head and not on paper. I've also worked out a mechanism to allow computer understanding of western type languages.
  • Wanting - I really want to be a film director, I'd just love to be a film director
  • Doing - I'm a very good system analyst and computer systems developer.

Ok, you might ask - why isn't my novel written - and why aren't I a film director. And why am I still doing what I am good at. Well that is the question.

That, and the reason why this is such a loss to the individual and to society I'm covering in my next blog.

So, we have established that success relies on a person, other people and their environment and a person's responsibility for success is their thoughts, wishes and skills.

Now that this is established, I'm going to simplify it a little.

The Elements of Success

  • Idea (what you think, your imagination)
  • Will (what you really want to do)
  • Ability (what are good at)
  • Resourcing (things or people you need)

This basically puts everything in one basket from the previous entry.

Now - no matter who you are, or what you intend to achieve - all of these components are required. If you are missing some of them, you need to fill them in with other people (friends, employees etc) by getting them to do it, or getting them to teach you to do it.

As a hint ... other people can generally only provide extra ability ... the idea and will normally need to be yours.

Only once all those components are in place are you going to succeed.

Accept Your Failure and Move On

The important thing you have to remember, is that accepting failure is a positive movement towards future success. Ignoring or forgetting failure and you are doomed to repeat. Dwelling in failure and you are doomed to stagnate.

So when all the soundbyte regurgitators tell you that failure is a negative thing, and then tell you that it's your fault that you failed - change channels.

Describing My Failure - The Novel

I'm going to go through the details of a large failure to succeed in my life, and follow through the reasons for the failure.

I have a complete short story in my head, from start to finish - all the characters, places and events. It's called "Craznar Millenium" and it popped into my head in 1987.

After almost 20 years - it's still in my head, it's not a novel, not a movie - no one will ever read it.

Well, I had the idea - it's a very good idea, it would make a great movie even. I can imagine Peter Woodward as the leading actor. The idea wasn't the problem.

I can tell you right now, that initially I had the will to make a book, or a movie out of it. The willpower initially wasn't a problem, however it eventually waned.

The third requirement. Skill. Well - I am a hopeless writer, I did courses and could never understand why I couldn't write. Then I was diagnosed with Alexathymia and that's why I couldn't write (apart from technicals documents).

So I hunted around for other people to fill in the gaps in my abiity, but of course no one is interested. They were not interested because they didn't have the will to do it, nor did I have the money to pay them.

So, in short form - I failed because of my lack of talent, the lack of resources to continue it and after 18 years the loss of the will to proceed with it.

Was it my fault - no. Was it someone elses fault - no. It was noones fault, it just was. Just as it is noones fault that gravity pulls objects to the ground.

Where to Go After Failure

A few things to do after failure.

  • Firstly - don't blame yourself, don't blame anyone and don't blame the universe. Blame is a negative thing that reenforces future failure. If you blame yourself, you will be more likely to lake the will in your next endevour. The more you blame others - the more you will depend on others for the parts you can provide. And if you blame the universe, you are likely to hide in a box or jump off a bridge.
  • Secondly - look at why you failed, realisticaly - look at the components. Was your idea silly (like taking a trip to the moon), did you really have the will to do it (the olympic games needs ALOT of will), and did you have the ability to do it, or other people to do it ?
  • Lastly - very quickly start anew, very quickly find another idea ... get stuck into something again - quickly.

Why does this matter ? Why is it important to society, to the people in it and more in the next blogs.

We have established the three personal components of success (idea, will and ability) and the external requirements of resourcing.

I have given some ideas on how this affects the individual, and why it's important to know.

Well that's not where it stops. Why should the world care about a bunch of failures that have added nothing to society.

The Resource Wasted

Society goes to great lengths to extract minerals from the ground, to farm plants and animals in the most efficient way possible.

That same society creates incredible lengths to build amazing structures, devices and systems - each created with efficient use of the resources at hand.

Then why is it that over half the world's population can barely feed itself, and 99% of the rest sit mindlessly in front of the Television watching reality TV.

No, it's not because people love being hungry, or bored, or lonely. It's not because they want to be like that ... it's because society as it stands drains hope, drains will and leads people to death and starvation of either body or mind.

The ideas and skills, both developed and never realised of 99% of the world's population - thrown away, wasted.

All because of some mistaken idea that people are soley responsible for their own destiny. What an arrogant point of view that is, that sort of delusion belongs in the 15th Century when we thought the earth was the centre of the universe, and that praying would solve any ill.

The truth of the matter is that society as a whole is both responsible for, and the largest loser of the individualist approach to the human resource.

Individualism Gone Wrong

When a person is successful, they seem to think it was all their own doing and immediately assume other's that fail do so through their own action or inaction.

The mass media is full of people like this, who spread the word that failure is unwelcome, and discard those who can't contribute.

Individual rights were meant to protect those from people with more power, but recently it is being used to attack those same people.

The attacks come directly in the form of speakers telling us we have failed, or indirectly via reality TV shows which glue you to your chair to get some small taste of that success so often denied.

There is a solution, it's not complex and it will benefit individuals and society as a whole. It will benefit large corporations and their profits, and eventually (I hope) benefit those in physical stagnation as well.