The right place at the right time

Success transforms people a lot, it makes people feel that they are successful only because of their intelligence. By attributing success to their intelligence, people over the course of time regard themselves way too higher than their peers. This makes them feel that they are superior and sometimes not so appreciative of the knowledge and work of the new comers or the relatively inexperienced ones.

I observed that success was largely due to being at the right place at the right time and from then on it was a matter of hanging on to it. Just like a discovery is an accident meeting a prepared mind, success is also an accident meeting a well prepared mind. Some studies on IQ shows that intelligence is very much overrated. A person with an IQ of 110 can possibly do any job and excel at it with some deliberate practice and discipline. On an average, one in every four individuals have an IQ of 110, which means out of four people one person is capable of doing any work and excel in it like any other top performer in that field.

Below is a ted talk which talks about how humans perceive themselves to be superior when they have more wealth compared to others.

The talk also mentions that people do not do it knowingly. If we give those nudges and pushes at the right time to make people understand that they were at the right place at the right time to be at this level, then people will stay humble throughout their successful journey. Wealth is very easy to measure, so any individual looking at their wealth could easily know what their worth is. Knowledge and skill is not so easily measurable and hence people can get into a wrong sense of accomplishment and success. If that wrong sense of success gets into the head, it will lead us into a learning stage called “Expert Beginner” as mentioned in this blog [Expert Beginner]. In short “Expert Beginners” are the ones who have learnt something and before progressing to become competent they stop learning looking at the rapid progress and success they had in their new initiative. Growth stagnates from there on.

We just need to remind ourselves that a successful career may be just because of being at the right place at the right time and there is lot more to learn and lot more to do than to feel entitled and be on top.

Two things define you – Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything


  1. Good thought. I especially identify with the “Expert Beginner” phase. I think there’s another aspect that could lead to this, as expressed by this Hindi adage: Andho mein kaana raja (“Among blinds, the squinted is king.”)

    Chad Fowler also wrote about this in his book, My Job Went to India. He suggests trying to join teams or organizations where others are more experienced/knowledgable than you, at least, in aspects you want to develop in. It’s one of the reasons I joined ThoughtWorks. 🙂

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