TEDx Video of the Talk

1 – We can tell whether you can Succeed

We are measured by how successful we are in almost all things in life. What if we can tell with near certainty whether you will succeed in a career, in a relationship, or in life in general? More so, we can induce changes in behavior by simply improving your information? Success is very possible. It is simply a factor of individual capacities, rewards, and time. If you are aware about the right mixture and volume, time to success is short. If you are uncertain, or simply unaware about the composition of your resources and rewards, time to success elongates. It is pretty straightforward. Let’s see why.

2 – Biological Level of Abstraction – Predictable Action

We start from the biological level of abstraction – understanding how human works. We look at the fundamental principles behind human survival, and their effect on the behavior of a typical human in a primitive ecosystem – you either do or you expire. This disposition forces us to act in certain, predictable ways.

3 – Transition through acquisition of 3 Capacities

In our evolution, we transitioned from primitive to modern ecosystem by acquiring three distinct capacities. These are: your Intellectual Capacity (IC) composed of your educational background, your ability to assess, plan, and execute. Your Financial Capacity (FC) comprised of your income size, reserves, investments, savings, and simply overall assets. And your Network Capacity (NC) which includes your network size and the level of reciprocal relationships. These provisions provide every single one of us an indication as to where we stand as units.

4 – Which Capacity is the most Integral – Network from Birth

Which one of these capacities is the most integral? Financial? Intellectual? How about Network? Consider the following: In evolutionary terms, if humans did not elect to belong to a family or other groups – essentially their Network Capacity – their survival would have been tough to imagine amongst some much more powerful predators. Kinship therefore is the natural state.  When we are first born, regardless of our genes or the size of our brain or wealth, the parents or guardians are necessary for our survival in terms of providing us essential resources such as food, water, shelter, and early non-ingrained knowledge.

5 – Example – Picasso and Mozart

This remains true for the current state of evolution of humanity. Consider your individual families. They, to a large degree, are going to decide your fate. You may be more talented than Picasso and Mozart. But if you are a child and your caregivers are either poor or with less than adequate IC, or very limited NC, the following is expected: 1) you will not be able to afford paint brushes for you to draw, buy an instrument for you to play, practice, and/or 2) you will not have anyone within your family circle who would appreciate your raw talents to give you audience to climb up the talent latter. If people don’t know you exist, it does not matter whether you have the talents or not. It would be hard to doubt that there were very intelligent and talented people out of over 107B people who lived on this planet to date that no one knows anything about? Why? They likely lacked the proper NC. A well-connected individual not always has all the right answers, but does have access to the right people who have them. As such, the Network Capacity in raw form is the most pertinent for early survival. Yet, without Intellectual Capacity and then following with the Financial Capacity, an ordinary individual has very little chance in modern society to survive – one ends up homeless, at the best case scenario or expires at the worst case scenario.

6 – 3 Capacities are not enough – Gladwell, 10,000 hours

Evenso, the three capacities by themselves are not enough to determine our fate. Our fate and professional success is not in our DNA, though there might be some favorable attributes. Malcolm Gladwell in his bestselling book the “Outliers” poses a different hypothesis. He finds that success is a function of being at the right place and at the right time, while also putting in 10,000 hours of hard work in a specific domain. There is certain truth to Gladwell’s conclusions. It does require hard work and the right opportunity to generate success. A study by Professor William Davidson of University of Michigan and Professor Ernest C. Arbuckle of Stanford University found that the biggest impact on success for an entrepreneur is the initial failure. That speaks well to Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of practice. The experience stemming from 10,000 hours assumes failures and faulty starts before walking away with the ultimate prize. This is what Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did (remember Apple almost went bankrupt) and this is what every other successful entrepreneur will do.

7 – No one is superhuman, Everyone makes mistakes – Introduction of Core Capacity

The reality is that these alleged genetically privileged folks are not superhuman after all. They make the same mistakes and go through similar processes as anybody else. Then what is the difference?! The 4th capacity, both simplest and the most complex, is the essential in anticipating our actions. It is the Core Capacity (IC), which responds to the question as to why will we do whatever it is we are set out to do! Our Intent.

8 – CC Formula, Lotto Example

It is a function of Required Abilities and My Abilities by a function of my Overall Expected Rewards and the Rewards Expected from an activity, project, or a relationship – all within a specific timeframe. To simplify, we need to have 1) a certain level of ability, clarity of reward, relevancy of reward, and time, since everything is in fluid form and things could, and do change over time. For instance, if you win the lottery tomorrow, your reward relevancy changes significantly. If something that you are considering to do tomorrow that would produce $1,000 you would reconsider after winning a $100M lotto today. With that type of money in the bank, your level of interest to put up efforts for a $1K gig diminish significantly the day after, while all the other elements remain equal.

9 – CC example Bakery

Imagine the following, you want to start a bakery that produces the healthiest baked goods. You know that you have the recipe to get it done, you have enough reserves to put the bakery together, you have the location where people will have easy access to your goods, and the rewards that you are seeking, say making $10,000 a month net income. This is a recipe for success. The calculation that goes into this is three fold. 1) the business will be successful and make the $10K net because that product is needed and there are enough buyers to produce revenue of which $10K will be left as net income; 2) you have the ability (a combination of IC, NC, and FC) to build that bakery, produce those goods, and sell the necessary quantity and 3) that you are satisfied with $10K in profits (CC). Now, the fact that the business will be successful is critical, yet without the 2 and 3 it won’t succeed. What is expected to happen is the following. If 1) the business is established and I have the necessary capacities, I may be able to build a successful business, yet if my reward interest is $100K a month and this produces only $10K a month, at a moment when a new opportunity comes along, I will drop this business like a dime and move on to do the other thing. Also, if I encounter continuous challenges on the way to building the business, I will likely abandon it, because my Core Capacity level is low, 1/10 of the expected reward. That said, for some individuals with matching bullets 1 and 2, this business will be a success and for others with similar qualities, it will be a failure simply because of misalignment of their Core Capacity. When push comes to shove, whether an entrepreneur will persevere and go all the way to make something success relies on this critical calculus. On the way, if the reward component is not clear or the promise for the reward is lower than expectations, an entrepreneur will walk away. If it remains as desired and possibly shows signs of greater rewards, we expect the entrepreneurs to power through any and all the difficulties.

10 – CC example Lightbulb

Let’s look at it this way. When we ask a question as to who knows how to change a typical light bulb? The response in general is always near 100% for an ordinary adult individual. You unscrew one and screw another one. This is the only required ability to replace a lightbulb. That said, this, as a project, requires a specific skill – IC – unscrewing and screwing – and most ordinary individuals possess this basic IC. Now, the question is whether all the people in this room and all the people in the world will run out in the next few minutes to start changing damaged lightbulbs. And the answer is that it all depends. It depends whether your overall expected rewards and the rewards expected from the project of changing lightbulbs align. Here is how we can test this. Who in the audience will change a lightbulb for 1 penny an hour? Probably, and quite frankly, hopefully only a few. How about, $1, Consider $100, How about $10,000, and What about $100K an hour? All of your problems will be resolved by unscrewing and screwing a single lightbulb. Well, do you think, Bill Gates will do it? He makes approximately $130 a second and nearly $470K an hour. It’s literally not worth his time to pick up a dropped $100 bill from the ground since it will take more than a second to do so. But he may actually do it, if it will gain him enough additional IQ points, enhancing his Intellectual Capacity, because then he could convert that into far greater Financial Capacity and this time yawn as he steps on a million dollar treasury bill while moving onto the next reward.

11 – Wired to Stay Alive and Survive – Harmony and Order vs Agone and Chaos

Why do we always pursue rewards, well, as humans we are wired to stay alive and survive. We seek food, water, and shelter – all are scarce, hence our seeking to create redundancy to push away Agony and Chaos associated with lack thereof and establish Harmony and Order. In our world we are not familiar with a notion of complete comfort, complete Harmony and Order. From the essential resources only Oxygen is abundant in the current form. You don’t see people fighting to get more oxygen, less the green movement in anticipation of possible future crisis. When it comes to food, water, and shelter – any of these resources can be taken away from us at any given time by way of theft, natural disasters, nature’s evolution, and government interference.

12 – Avoid Noise, Don’t need to force success, the right calculation will keep you up at nights

Now, we need to relax and shut down the noise about what it takes to become successful in life. It is not magic. Everyone and anyone can do it, if you apply the right formula to whatever it is that you are planning to do in life. It is not about forcing yourself to stay up at nights to be successful. If the right calculus is in place, you won’t have to force yourself to stay up at night to do anything. It will come to you naturally. If the rewards are what you expect and the abilities are in the right equilibrium, you will not be concerned with time, opinions, and general other noise. You will power through and you will get it done.

13 – Quantify in advance to avoid costly mistakes – Crime and Prison example

We look to examine and quantify this ahead of time, thereby helping people save time and money before they embark on a venture or before it is too late and many of the resources have been exhausted. In today’s world, we are unsure about our abilities, the expected rewards, and at times our own desired rewards. Asking these questions in advance, getting a clarity will save us time, money, and health. Take Crime and Prison for instance. Knowing when the cost of committing a crime becomes cheaper than say obtaining IC and/or NC to secure enough FC for survival and growth, we may build preventive and preemptive responses to avoid the criminal behaviors. For instance, in 5-10 years when we have Big Data on each individual and we are able to extract their IC, NC, and FC levels and also know what kind of an equilibrated form of those 3 capacities a person would require to produce enough resources to survive, grow, and advance, we may be able to predict where the threshold is where the person will choose committing crime instead of doing something to grow IC, NC, or FC through socially accepted means. Now, when we know that in advance, and say for example, that crime will put the perpetrator behind the bars for 10 years, we can calculate the total cost of that act (including investigation, prosecution, court, prison fees, as well as loss of productivity from that individual for 10 years) and prepare a preemptive move that invests a certain percentage of that possible cost – e.g. the total cost would have been $100K, the government can intervene and spend say $25K on his education and job placement to avoid the future costs. Exciting? Improbable today, yet not impossible tomorrow.

14 – Takeaways – Right calculus can make you a Bill Gates and co

What do you take away from this short monologue? Every individual is capable and may have the opportunity to become a Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other inspirational individuals. It takes the right calculus of our individual capacities and most importantly our genuine understanding of our sought rewards. Knowing what I am really after, will open the path in ways not possible by any other means or any other individual intervention. Your success is nearly guaranteed. Your happiness is nearly assured. Your contribution to yourself, to your loved ones, and to other stakeholders are clear and pronounced.

15 – Conclusion: What truly matters to me?

When you leave this place today, ask yourself a simple question: What is my purpose? Do I want to be the smartest, the most connected, and the richest? Dig deep, unveil the true desire, then you won’t have to worry about ever procrastinating, stopping, or watching enviously how others are excelling. You would only need to worry about sharing the abundance that you create! Thank you.