Falling into Money, Accidental Success

When you read the success stories of some of the world’s richest or most successful people, you inevitably come across a few commonalities. A lot of the time, these people set lofty goals for themselves and they truly believe that they will be able to achieve them. In this way, if they shoot for the stars and only make it half way, they’re still way up in there in the sky, substantially higher than the people who are only reaching for the low-hanging fruit.

Another common factor among successful people is that while they may be setting some lofty goals for themselves, they are doing what they love. That’s the first priority and not money. They say that if you do what you love, if you follow your passions, the money will follow. If that were the case, wouldn’t every stage actor already be a multi-millionaire? They love to act, so shouldn’t the money already be there?

Success Can Come by Accident

I am a firm believer in the mantra that you should love what you do for a living. If you dread waking up each morning, if you despise your superiors and hate the work that you do, then the paycheque you receive just isn’t worth it. This isn’t to say that you have to be positively blissful every hour of every day at work — that’s an utter rarity — but there needs to be enough there to bring you happiness. After all, you are dedicating the prime hours of the prime years of your life toward this task.

The reason why I got started with blogging and a career in freelance writiing in the first place is because writing is my passion. Assuming that I’d be able to do it under my own terms, I would be writing even if I never made a penny. In fact, that’s exactly what I did for a number of years. Of course, something had to pay the bills, so it only made sense to translate what I was doing already into a little bit of money.

Some may argue that I have not yet found success as a freelance writer. I’m not rich, by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been able to parlay this passion into a full-time income. Has this “success” come by accident?

Even Accidents Need Some Help

Don’t expect success to fall in your lap. Chances are, you will not suddenly come into a substantial sum of money for doing nothing. Two critical elements that you will need to consider are focusing on your strengths and establishing a good work ethic. You need to try. You need to set goals. You need to have some sort of direction.

What Do John Chow and John Oliver Have in Common?

Allow me to illustrate with two very different examples. When John Chow first decided to monetize his personal blog, he wasn’t really sure what to expect. His goal was to see if it was possible to generate a livable full-time income through blogging, so he explored as many avenues as possible. Now that he makes over $30,000 a month from that blog, I’d say that he has easily surpassed his original goal. Was he lucky? Did success find him by accident? Perhaps. He wasn’t the first person to write about making money online and he won’t be the last, but John did focus on his strengths (Internet marketing) and it worked out for him in spades. His work ethic… well, I’ll leave that up to debate. 🙂

A more interesting example may be that of John Oliver. Like John Chow, John Oliver never really expected to achieve international fame. The lowly Englishman was happy with any gigs he could get, because he loved comedy. Even so, he worked hard at his craft, at which he happens to be very good. Oliver is my favorite on-screen personality from The Daily Show. Success by accident? Sort of. There are tons of other standup comics out there and Oliver “lucked out” by being “discovered.” That said, if he wasn’t good at what he did, he would have never been “discovered” in the first place.

You should work hard to find success in whatever you choose to do. Sometimes though, just sometimes, success needs to find you. Good luck out there.