This Is Why You Shouldn’t Listen To Successful People ✓

In this week’s episode, I’ll share with you why you shouldn’t listen to successful people.





This man is a hero.

His name is Abraham Wald. You don’t know him. Most people don’t. He’s one of the reasons why we are not living under Nazi Regime.

He wasn’t even a soldier. He was a mathematician.

Now, I’ll share with you what he taught the allied forces that made them defeat Nazis, save Britain and France. And what he taught the allied forces over 60 years ago, may also just help you save your career now.

In 2nd World War, when the Brits were taking heavy hits on their air force when flying over occupied allied territories, they realized that they need armors, heavy armors to protect their planes.

But they quickly realized that they can’t armor the entire bottom part of the plane as it would make the planes too heavy to take off.

So, the smart men and women from the center for naval analyses department had conducted a detailed study of the damage done to aircrafts. The study went on for months.

And finally, they drew a map of where the planes got hit the most. Then, they gave the map to the army to cover those areas with strong armors. It made sense to everyone. Why wouldn’t it, right?

Now everyone was happy, they were celebrating and they immediately got to work, started putting armors based on that map.

And after the first batch started flying, they realized nothing changed. They were still receiving heavy hits and still crashing down.

Then, Abraham Wald, the mathematician came to save the day. He pointed out the mistakes in their thinking.

He said it was an incredibly dumb idea to cover the areas where they got hit and came back to survive. Because the aircrafts they were looking at were the survivors.

It’s the ones that you don’t see, the ones that were shot down, those are the ones whose hits you need to protect against.

So, if anything the places you needed to cover is the places that didn’t get hit in the planes that survived.

Now, what does it have to do with you and your career?

Well, believe it or not, it’s extremely applicable to you. Let me give you some examples so you understand how relevant it is.

This is called Survivorship Bias.

Survivorship bias is a cognitive bias that happens when you try to make a decision based on past successes while ignoring the past failures.

For example, people thinking that the path to a multibillion dollar empire is to quit the college just because Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg did.

Or you thinking that your colleague at work, got a promotion by doing X and that you think you can replicate his success and get a promotion if you ALSO do X.

Now that would a big mistake. Maybe 9 out of 10 who also did X and they all got fired… and the only one remaining in the company is your colleague who happened to get a promotion.

Makes sense?

Let me give you another example, an actual one that I experienced.

I remember an instance. A friend of my wife from her college, after he graduated maybe about 10 years ago, he ventured into consulting and he had a brilliant career, very similar to mine. He worked there for many years. I think he worked for BCG if I am not mistaken. Then he left BCG about 2 years ago and put up his own shop in e-commerce. Then he wrote a brilliant article about his experience of how he resigned from his 6 figure work at Boston Consulting Group, chose the route of entrepreneurship and wrote an article about his success.

Now, his article got viral and was viewed by 10s of millions of people. So much so that my friends who don’t know each other from completely other parts of the world, like some from China and some from Canada would be sharing that on their social profiles. So, talk about viral.

And I was very jealous. I was jealous because my wife would come to me and talk about his success. Yeah, I am a jealous person like that.

Anyway, if you go online now and search by his name, or by the keywords “entrepreneur stories” and you’d find that article.

That article is still getting millions of visitors every month.

Here is the interesting part now, he wrote that article 2 years ago, things are very different now.  He, unfortunately, went bankrupt within his 1st year of entrepreneurship, with a very large loan to pay back, his life was ruined, and he is currently looking for a job. He actually even joined my LIG program.

But you don’t get to hear about his failure. You only get to hear about his success.

A failure is an output. And the sad part is that most often, that output never becomes an input to the next person in line. Simply because your story gets lost. But the story of the survivors thrives.

I don’t remember who said this, but there was a saying which said;

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”.

It may be Mark Twain I am not sure.

Deniz, what’s wrong with failing? Every successful person says that the worst case scenario is that you learn so you don’t fail the next time.

Well, it may be applicable to a few in the world, a few with a luxury to fail. But you know what?

not everybody has that luxury. Go tell your 4-year-old child who doesn’t have food to eat, that you failed, but that’s ok, you learned.

Yeah most of us don’t have that luxury of failing multiple times.

I am gonna quote another person here. I am gonna quote Warren Buffett now.

“The first rule is not to lose money”

Because if you fail, and let’s say you lost half of all your savings. It’ll require doubling that money just to get back to where you were.

And it’s not just about money. It’s applicable to your careers as well. You work for a good company in a good position. You make a wrong move and you lose that job. Now you are unemployed and had to settle for a mediocre employer in a mediocre position. It’ll now require double the efforts to get back to just where you were a few months ago.

So, the key takeaway is not to fail in the first place.

Yes, It’s inevitable. You’ll fail at some point, but at least don’t fail because you are analyzing the inputs all wrong.

If you want to listen to successful people it’s all fine just make sure you also listen to unsuccessful ones, the ones who failed before you make your decisions.

Thanks for watching. See you next week.