It’s not the idea that makes you successful, it’s the execution, for Ideas are a dime a dozen.

Author, entrepreneur, athlete, and millionaire Richard St. John gave a very short three-minute TED talk about his list of eight traits that lead to success, which he gathered by interviewing 500 successful TED attendees over seven years:

  1. Passion: do it for the love, not for the money. Do something for which you’d pay someone to let you do it.
  2. Work: anything that’s going to make you successful is going to be a lot of hard work. Which is why you need the passion: it makes the hard work fun.
  3. Good: you have to be really good at what you do. This takes a lot of hard work, which requires passion. To be good, all you have to do is practice a lot — 10,000 hours, according to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers
  4. Focus: if you’re doing three things at once, you’ll be mediocre at all of them. Focus your energy on one thing, so that you’ll be amazing at it.
  5. Push: there are always going to be obstacles; your own psyche (self-doubt, shyness), external factors, barriers. You have to push through them all. Sometimes you need others to push you.
  6. Serve: you can’t give yourself millions of dollars — others have to give them to you. And for that, you need to create something of value and serve it to them. In return, you’ll get rich.
  7. Ideas: come up with a great one. It’s not hard: listen, observe, be curious, ask questions, problem solve and make connections.
  8. Persist: through failure, through CRAP (criticism, resistance, assholes and pressure)

So, pick a field you have a lot of passion for, work hard to get good in it, come up with a great idea, focus on it, persist and push through all the obstacles, and then serve it to people.

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