There is one character trait that every successful person I have ever encountered all have.
An immunity to peer pressure
The ability to avoid general consensus that is wrong or groupthink that comes to a conclusion which has been misinterpreted and the majority of people are just going along with to fit in.
The key to succeeding in life is having an unwavering — almost deluded — conviction you’
Some people call this a delusion of grandeur, but it only appears to be this in hindsight if you don’t achieve what you set out to. In retrospect, Mark Zuckerberg’s assertions that a more connected world could be achieved online, Brian Chesky’s belief that Airbnb would exceed the use of hotels and Elon Musks desire to replace fossil-fuelled cars with electric aren’t that bold.
The trait they all share is a level of conviction that ordinary humans don’t have or can’t comprehend
They believe in their view of the world to an almost unrealistic extent
They can listen to the whole world tell them they are wrong, but march on regardless in pursuit of their dreams ignoring the whispering voices or the dissenting screams. They are insusceptible to social pressure.
There is a famous study of this
People were asked as part of a group to identify which queue of people was longest. Unbeknown to the majority of the people in the room, the first five people asked to pick which line was longest had been told to chose the second-longest queue. Following this, the vast majority of the remaining participants were unable to tame their desire to fit in. Instead of analyzing the lines and deciding for themselves they succumbed to the social convention of expectation.
Five people before them had all said the same thing so they are too scared to be contrarian. That’s how the human mind works, it will willingly avoid the potential for conflict or derision by submitting to the convictions of others when they should be more forthright and demanding.
The most successful among us have the ability to ignore the social pressure to comply because they don’t care if they are ostracised — they want to win
The most successful among us are wired differently. They don’t experience this the same as other people. To build innovative and revolutionary products or services you need to be pursuing things that are counter-intuitive and often things which at the time appear to be awful ideas.
But they aren’t stubborn
They may believe wholeheartedly in the success of an idea but they aren’t stupid.
If the front door won’t open they try the back door
If the back door isn’t open they try the window
If the window isn’t open they smash down the door
They all possess the unwavering conviction that they will overcome any obstacle, but they are flexible in how they achieve it.
They never become too fixated on any one particular path — they have a goal in mind and they take every path to get there
But if those paths are littered with warnings, people mocking them or advice that they will never succeed they don’t let that stop them. That is the critical difference.