Sign in

The reason

Why Less Than One Percent Succeeds In Life

Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Adolf Hitler, J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs all have this in common…

I carried out extensive research on the most successful people to have ever walked on the planet. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Adolf Hitler (Sorry, but I consider changing the course of history success. Evil… but success), JK Rowling and many many more.

This is what I found common in all of them.

Each and every single one of them has failed multiple times in their life before succeeding.

  • Bill Gates’s first company Traf-O-Data was a massive failure.
  • Adolf Hitler wanted to become an artist but failed in getting admission into the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. His application was rejected twice. Had he been accepted, the Holocaust might never have happened.
  • J.K. Rowling manuscript of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone was rejected by multiple publishers. (Rowling herself mentions the importance of failure in many of her speeches.)
  • Elon Musk’s job applications were rejected by multiple tech companies including Netscape. While on honeymoon, he was ousted from PayPal. SpaceX had three consecutive launch failures and almost didn’t make it. It succeeded by the skin of its teeth with the final launch. Telsa almost went bankrupt.
  • Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple by his cofounders.
  • Einstien failed to get admission into the prestigious Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich, Switzerland. (He later went on to write the theory of relativity.)

I could go on…

But wait El! Are you saying that it is impossible to succeed on your first try?

No, Exceptions lie everywhere in the universe. We ourselves are exceptional beings living on an exceptional planet. What are the odds of that?
But according to my research, 99.9% of the people I studied have failed in the most grandiose manners at least once in their life.

Here’s an example most of us can relate to

Let’s say that you wrote your first article on medium. You researched what works, how to write engaging titles, how to structure the article for maximum engagement, chose a beautiful feature picture and finally hit publish.

That night you couldn’t sleep with excitement.

The next morning you jump to your computer expecting to see the thousands of hits your article got and the hundreds of dollars it generated in revenue.

But alas!

You notice that your article got lost in the ocean with millions of others and failed to get the attention you thought it deserved.

What do you do now?

Most people (approximately 90%) will give up around this time.

Less than 10% will try again for a second time.

And, more than 99% will give up after the third failure.

  • I tried my best and it didn’t work out
  • I am not meant for this
  • I don’t have it in me
  • It’s all a scam

These are just some variations of the same excuse people use to justify their unsuccessful attempt and give up.


The less than 1% who keep on trying even after multiple unsuccessful attempts are the ones who eventually succeed in the most flamboyant manners.

The Takeaway

Success generally hides beyond what seems to most like the ultimate failure and some people give up when they are inches away from success.

See failure as a learning opportunity and extract as much data as you can from the experience.

It’s not uncommon to fail even if try your hardest and think you got everything right. The secret is to keep on trying with as much determination as one can muster.

The great filter filters all of those two give up after the most catastrophic failures.

I say we should rather die trying than be stuck in a filter with millions of others.

“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”

— John F. Kennedy

Short bios are literally my worst nightmare.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store