Billions of different types of people have lived and continue to live in this world for centuries. So many people, who are never the same have a common desire: To be successful.

stairway to heaven
Stairway to heaven success

To be successful, we want to know what successful people look like, what they love, what they do and what abilities they have. In this way, we assume that it is those characteristic features that explain how they succeed.

In the autobiographies published every year by the billionaire/entrepreneur, the story line is always the same: our hero is born in unfavorable conditions and by effort of his/her own talent fights his/her way to greatness.

People cannot rise from nothing. In fact, they are quite lucky about something important- where and when they were born, who their parents are, how conditions they grow. In other words, there are many hidden advantages and opportunities behind their success.

Malcolm Gladwell mentioned about this in his book named “Outliers”:

Biologists often talk about the “ecology” of an organism: the tallest oak in the forest is the tallest not just because it grew from the hardiest acorn; it is the tallest also because no other trees blocked its sunlight, the soil around it was deep and rich, no rabbit chewed through its bark as a sapling, and no lumberjack cut it down before it Outliers matured. We all know that successful people come from hardy seeds. But do we know enough about the sunlight that warmed them, the soil in which they put down the roots, and the rabbits and lumberjacks they were lucky enough to avoid?

Malcolm Gladwell

Like he said, we should not look just for how quality seed the longest tree came from. We also should realise how lucky the tree is, about the situation that there are no  rabbits, no lumberjacks and no another trees to avoid the tree grows and gets the sunlight needed.

People who were born with these advantages, day by day, become more and more successful than the others. The sociologist Robert Merton famously called this phenomenon the “Matthew Effect”. He said:

For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance. But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

robert merton
Robert Merton

And then Malcolm adds this:

It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice.

In other words, rich become richer and poor poorer…

Another example is professional hockey players. Most of them were born in first months of years such as January and February. It is not a coincidence. When they were a child, they were more developed according to their peers. Because in the childhood, even a few months are important for physical and mentally development. Even if two children are peers, older one is luckier to be chosen in club competition. Then the chosen one can more practice and spend more time with his/her coach. So that, s/he become better and better and the qualify differences between them become wider. Unless unchosen one is really talented, s/he gives this up. That is why most of professional hockey players were born in January and February.

However, there is a reality that say us, you should be practice 10 000 hours to be perfect at something. If we look at the successful people at their job, almost none of them become their prime before they do practice 10 000 hours at their work. It is called ten thousand hours rules.

Despite the fact that there is so many factors unconnected between ourselves, there are also so many way we can go, also things to do and also 10 000 hours to study. We ought to realise our advantages and use its benefits!