You can choose to be successful despite external forces.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success, argues that individuals we often praise as "self-made" successes in fact had a lot more help than it appears. These bonuses are myriad, and on top of all the obvious elements (race, class, and gender), they also include war, racism, and even birth date. It is certainly a remarkable take on success. Essentially, Gladwell believes meritocracies - systems in which progress depends on one's capabilities - are outright shams.

At first look, I found this thought antithetical to the base value that each of us can excel if we put in the work. But how can that be true if there are entire frameworks significantly assisting some and obstructing others? Can both realities occur concurrently?

I would suggest so. The existence of these involved powers doesn't erase our capabilities each to make a choice, and not just the choice to work harder or to never back down. Willpower and dedication definitely have value - and these are, in simple terms, givens. Rather, I would say, if nations and societies have this robust effect on our successes, then it would benefit us to definitely consider what lifestyles and communities we take part in. These are not, as it may look to be, determined variables that are simply outside of our control.

Go where people understand you. And that doesn't mean surround yourself with 'yes' men and women who never challenge you to elevate your skills and methodologies. It means you will hope to spend less time with people who repeatedly complain, who talk but never execute, who don't share sources, who don't share your core values, who regularly break engagements, who sidetrack with assurances of instant gratification, who don't value your potential, who themselves don't practice excellence, who diminish you, who tell you you're dreaming too big, or who have a knack for attracting controversy, poverty, and plain bad luck.

You are who you spend time with. You really should think of your company as your company. That is, your buddies and colleagues as members of your figurative venture. As a good supervisor, you wouldn't give someone a task they weren't capable of handling, would you? Nor would you terminate them right away because you assigned them a task they couldn't manage. The buck stops at you. You must promote and demote people based on their competencies to implement certain responsibilities. Again, this is a metaphor - It doesn't mean you should start hiring your friends. What I urge is for you to comprise your symbolic advisory team, the people closest to you, only with high-quality dreamers and doers. Of this, you are at the helm.

In maintaining a similarly aspirational and high quality inner circle, you can spark momentum. You can begin to create an environment that is more conducive to crafting best practices and results. And likewise, everyone you influence within this sphere and beyond will also gain, permitting them to focus better, breathe easier, and realize more.

Find those brilliant spots. Dwell there.