The One Test That Determines If You Deserve Success

I’m not a big fan of ego because I’ve been burnt by it many times before. And I know many egotistical people. They crave to be higher than others until the ceiling comes smacking down on them, and they get a taste of a little humble pie.

I think the central focus in business should be character. And I would dare say that if you truly have developed your character, you will not fear business. The problem is that people are afraid to test their character.

How would you test character?

You’d have to do impossibly hard things. The things that others will think you are crazy to do. Consider that people will say you’re silly for waking up at 4 or 5am to start your day. That people will say it’s crazy to do 200 pushups or 100 chinups a day. They will say those things because they are unhinged by mediocrity. But you have to be unfazed by difficulty.

The impossibly hard centers the lives of people whom when you talk to, say it’s not so hard. But of course! A powerful teacher makes teaching look easy. A fit person makes fitness look easy. An eloquent speaker makes speaking look easy. A dynamic leader makes leading look easy. A resilient business owner makes business look easy.


Because they went through the tedium, the obstacles and the hard work to emerge at the top! And I want to emphasize: it might be tedious, but it isn’t mysterious. Don’t go around unhinging your success simply because you felt like giving up. If you have run a mile and that’s all you can do, one more step helps you to break a previous barrier. That’s it.

There’s no failure, only experiments.

And when experimenting to inprove the chances of your success, you know you can have at least a little fun.

In my opinion, every place can be a platform to face up to difficult things. You could be a student and face the fear of failing an exam. But you do it anyway and learn to increase your changes of success through different strategies. I used to be a terrible learner. Now I’m a lifelong student. I should have discovered it sooner, but I’m happy that I eventually did.

You could be a Singaporean son going through National Service, and face the fear of that the system is so devilish and demeaning. But you might stop yourself from shrinking and end up in a leadership position that allows you to make a difference. I made a terrible leader in my teens. Sometimes, downright disrespectful. Most leaders would look at me and carry out dialog of decimation. But it actually required one conversation of possibility to change my mind. My wish is that anyone in Singapore’s NS system will learn to utilize the platform for growth that can last them a lifetime. It’s not difficult – it merely requires clarity of purpose, and I’ll be happy to have a conversation with anyone who wants to know how.

Whether you are a business owner or an employee, you have platforms that help you to test yourself and your ideas. Don’t do it for your employer. Do it for yourself. Use it as an ego filter, so that you can learn to make mistakes and not blame others for them. If you have a clear enough goal, you will know what you have to do to live an uncompromised life.

Experiment and learn. Reflect and reapply.

Then you will find that the journey toward what you want the the enrichment you needed to enjoy the destination.

See also  Aiming for Greatness In Difficult Times

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