ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Five Top Reasons People Succeed Regardless of Education or Intellect

Updated on March 11, 2017

The popular belief in society is that higher education brings success, and intelligence can bring you out on top through life's hardships. Why, then, are some of the world's most successful people high school or college dropouts? Why do people of average intelligence sometimes far outstrip the success of people who are above average? Sure, you can argue that they have connections, or started out with money, or any of the popular excuses. The truth is, many did not start out with what we'd call "advantages," yet they still found a way to reach a high level of success. Let's first examine the education part. Do you think that you must have college to be successful? Let's see if you recognize any of these dropouts (if you don't recognize them, look them up for some great success stories):

  • Bill Gates
  • Henry Ford
  • Michael Dell
  • John D. Rockefeller
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Steve Jobs
  • Matt Mullenweg
  • Richard Branson
  • Ralph Lauren

Heck, Einstein failed to hit the minimum on entrance exams more than once, and thought himself a stupid man through much of his life. So -- if it's not intelligence, education, or even connections in life, then how do people achieve success? Here are five reasons that successful people achieve their goals, and they're five things that absolutely anyone can do as long as you have a pulse and some communicating neurons.

Success doesn't happen by accident, and it doesn't happen to all deserving people. You have to identify your roadblocks and actively work toward the "win."
Success doesn't happen by accident, and it doesn't happen to all deserving people. You have to identify your roadblocks and actively work toward the "win." | Source

Reason #1: People bound for success have confidence that they can achieve their goals

Before you can get where you're going, you first have to believe that you can make it to the finish line. How many times have you felt like you're not good enough to do what you want to do, or that your idea just won't hold water in the marketplace? How many times does it keep you from doing anything at all? This is one of the biggest success killers in the world today. No matter how well-educated or how intelligent you are, you will not be successful if you don't actually believe you can add value to the world.

Reason #2: Successful people believe that they deserve it

Sounds weird, doesn't it? Of course you believe that you deserve success. Right? After all, you work really, really hard. You use all of your mental faculties. You take action on every single one of your ideas that might have some merit. You bring value to the world that no one else could, and success is a fair exchange of that value. You're awesome, so any success that comes your way is your rightful due for all the awesomeness you bring to the world. Wait -- did I lose you somewhere in there? Then you, too, may believe that you don't actually deserve success.

The belief that you don't deserve success usually isn't a conscious one. In fact, most people have no idea why they're not advancing on their chosen path. In many cases, it's because they believe, at some level, that someone else can do it better. Maybe they think that the value they have for the world isn't actually all that valuable. Think about this like asking for a raise. If you ask your boss for a raise, you might get it and you might not. If you never ask, you won't get it. If you simply accept what comes your way, there's a good chance that you'll always be at the bottom of the heap and will never be properly compensated for what you actually bring to the table.

Let's take a look at this one. Do you bully yourself, and does it impact your life?

To what extent do you think negative self-talk influences you?

See results

Reason #3: Successful people are nice to themselves

Okay, it's great to have a day of pampering every now and then, or give yourself a treat for a job well done. While that's a great thing to do too, what we're really talking about here is the way you treat yourself on a daily basis. Are you a bully to yourself, or do you offer yourself kindness and encouragement? For instance, you drop a plate on the floor. Do you say, "Holy crap, you're such a stupid klutz! Why can't you just pay attention??" Or do you say, "Oops, guess it's time to sweep the floor."

Whichever one you choose, how would your response differ if it was one of your family members who dropped the plate? For a lot of people, the knee-jerk reaction for one's own mistake is to berate themselves, but treat others with moderation and care. My child or my husband would already feel bad enough about dropping the plate, so I'm going to be reaching for the broom while I let them know it's no big deal and make sure they didn't cut themselves on broken shards. Can you imagine saying the first thing to your young child, or the well-meaning spouse who is washing or putting away dishes? The sad thing is, most of us can see saying it to ourselves. Why is it okay to treat ourselves like crap? The truth is, it's NOT okay.

Put simply, successful people are at least as nice to themselves as they would be to others. They work to reserve judgment, go sparingly on criticisms and negative commentary, and offer praise whenever it's deserved. On a bad day, these people offer themselves encouragement and look at the bright side of life rather than constantly redirecting to everything that's bad. If you treat other people badly, you're a bully and an a-hole that no one wants to be around. It is the same when you treat yourself badly, even if no one else knows about it except yourself. You can't be mentally healthy, happy, or successful until you get a handle on all the horrible things you say to yourself.

Stuck on how to fix negative self-talk? These exercises might help

Transforming Negative Self-Talk: Practical, Effective Exercises
Transforming Negative Self-Talk: Practical, Effective Exercises

Start being nicer to yourself and paving the way for success going forward. If you want to feel better, get motivated and be productive, it all starts with getting rid of the biggest bully in your life -- the voice in your own head.


Success isn't easy, but you can't cross the finish line if you never even start the race

If you're not achieving the success that you want, ask yourself if you've really even started working toward it.
If you're not achieving the success that you want, ask yourself if you've really even started working toward it. | Source

What are common motives in other people?

  • Help you in the context of their experiences
  • Keep you from changing
  • Use your efforts to help themselves
  • Get something from you for nothing
  • Keep you dependent on them
  • Make sure you succeed, but a little less than they do
  • Want you to conform to their ideals

Reason #4: Successful people don't let others' opinions determine their path

People have advice and opinions. Pretty much everyone. In fact, well-meaning people who truly care about you will offer advice, often not realizing that it could be the worst possible advice for you. Think you have a great idea, but others say it just won't work? That's not to say that you should completely ignore what others have to say, but don't let their word be the final decision on your life. Take their points into consideration, bear in mind that they could actually be wrong, and move forward based on your own thoughts and beliefs.

Also bear in mind that not everyone wants you to succeed. In fact, it might surprise you who doesn't. Even some of your best friends, your parents, your siblings or spouse may stand in the way of your success. It doesn't mean they don't care about you or want to hold you down, but they may have a deep-rooted belief that your success means you will change. You may move away from them, and may even find those people irrelevant in your life. Just because the idea seems absurd to you, doesn't mean it does to them. On the same token, be extremely wary of the motives of people around you -- acquaintances, friends, co-workers -- who may only seem to have your best interests at heart.

Catch yourself caring too much about what others think?

What You Think of Me is None of My Business
What You Think of Me is None of My Business

One of the biggest success limiters in the world is what others think. If you're wrapped up in their opinions, their expectations, and their beliefs about what you should be, then you're never going to find YOUR success.


Don't believe me about the importance of taking action? Hear it from Jack Canfield

Reason #5: Successful people take action

Simple? Yes. It's also the one thing that over 99% of people in the world never do. They say that the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. It's true, but doesn't do anything for you if you're still sitting on the couch and wondering why you're no closer to your personal form of success.

What does your success look like? Maybe you want to write a book. Naturally, that means you have the first sentence written, right? For a lot of people, that's just not the case. It's one thing to think about what you want to do with your life and the type of success you want to achieve, but it's another thing entirely to actually do something about it. Taking just one step forward already puts you way ahead of most people who are not succeeding in the way they want.

People who are not successful also often have difficulties making a decision. On the flip side, successful people make decisions quickly and often. Are they the right decisions? Not always. Sometimes it's not even the majority of the time. If you have a question, though, there's nothing that can answer it except to try something. Thomas Edison is famously quoted as saying, when asked if he felt discouraged by his "failures," that he didn't fail, but instead "found 999 ways not to make a light bulb." Whether Edison actually said it or not is under debate, but the concept remains true -- when you try something, you'll either find out that it works or find out that it won't. If you sit and worry about the outcome of your decision, all you'll know is that you don't know.

Like the video above? Here's one of the best-known books from the guy who made it

The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Just as in everything, there are fundamental building blocks of success. Best-selling author Jack Canfield examines these success keys, and presents them in a way that's easy to follow and easy to see how it can be implemented in your own life. far have you gotten on your road to success?

Success escapes most people because they never actually get started, or spend their lives going the other way.
Success escapes most people because they never actually get started, or spend their lives going the other way. | Source

Sound too simple? Or maybe too overwhelming? Let's recap

Okay, so there's no huge secret to success. The process is simple, but it's not easy. Sometimes it's not even easy to see why we're not getting anywhere. It's also easy to discount the importance of a healthy mindset and mental well-being. In fact, most people want to put mental health and a positive outlook behind education and intelligence. The result? A whole bunch of intelligent, over-educated people who are just as stuck in the mud as they were before. They're miserable, and now they have a bunch of student loans on top of their woes over lack of success.

Whether you call it the law of attraction, or reaping what you sow, or just plain treating yourself the way you'd treat others, it all starts with the positive mindset. Once you figure out how to get past the worst challenges in your own mind, it's just a matter of taking small steps consistently and at every opportunity.

Does this hub mean that education is a bad thing, or intelligence is worthless? Not at all. It does mean, however, that having those things doesn't guarantee success, and not having them certainly doesn't guarantee failure.

I hope this hub has been helpful. What do you think? Is this over-simplified, or is it really what it takes to become successful? Does it really take a "special advantage" in life in order to be one of the "successful ones"? Or, is success actually a possibility for anyone? I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments section, and feel free to ask questions or suggest topics for additional hubs.

© 2014 Rebecca Mikulin


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      5 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Andrew Carnegie went from poverty to the richest man in the world. He was always friendly, jovial; hired talented people to do the work and did not criticize them.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Success means different things to different people. For my mother, her life was a success because she figured out how to never have surgery, that is until she fell at the age of 78 and broke her shoulder! Each person has to define success in their own way and in their own time. You are right, we have to see ourselves in that position before we will ever get there. It is something we have to want bad enough that we will do what it takes to get it!

    • wychic profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Mikulin 

      5 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      Exactly! Opportunity is always there, but sometimes you have to go tackle it in the streets instead of waiting for it to knock ;)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      successful people make it happen instead of waiting for IT to happen to them. great hub. voted up!

    • wychic profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Mikulin 

      5 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      Thanks! So glad you like it :D. This is what happens when a question really speaks to me -- I love exploring the factors that go into success, as well as the common problems that cause "failure" or the lack of success. I just hope that people stop seeing success as this distant, untouchable thing. It'll look different for everyone, but we can all achieve it if we know what keeps us stuck and work to change it.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Read this fiercely informative hub. You have stated some significant points and did some quite analysis. This hub is definitely succinct and on the money. Voted UP!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)