Derek Sivers’s definition of success

This week on the Tim Ferris podcast featured round-2 with one of my favorite people, Derek Sivers. In this episode, Derek answers call-in questions from listeners. One in particular asked what characteristics Derek felt were most important for success.

Derek began by offering his definition of success, which included succeeding at two things:

  1. Mastery of oneself
  2. Helping others

With that definition, he listed the four characteristics which he believes leads to success:

  1. Ability to manage one’s state
  2. Knowing what people need in general, and what you need in particular
  3. Knowing how to see and communicate from another’s point of view
  4. Ability to focus, learn and practice what you learn

I also enjoyed his responses to the question: Who is the most successful person you know?

  1. His first response was that the first response is probably bad. Richard Branson was the first name that popped to mind, but knowing that our slow thinking mind usually produces better results than our fast thinking mind, he’s certain he could come up with someone who, for him, is more successful.

  2. Second, we can’t determine whether someone is successful without knowing their intent. If Branson’s goal for his life was to live quietly next to a lake in the forrest, yet found himself incapable to doing anything other than starting and building stressful successful companies, then our view of his “success” might change.

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