The formula for success

If you read this blog you will find many articles about the secret to happiness, how to find your passion and the definition of success. I believe that following ones passion is one of the main ingredients that leads to a successful and happy life. But is following your passion all you need to do to be successful? Could it be that easy? Passion alone will get you far but it’s not enough. More things are needed to be successful. Let’s examine the three main components, passion, talent and effort: The formula for success.


First you need passion. Here’s my definition of passion: Things you are passionate about go with ease, joy and fulfillment. They give you energy. Things you are not good at cause stress and resistance. You feel tired doing them. For me passion is everything, it’s what keeps me going, without passion I cannot be creative or do anything new or do it with a fresh mind.


Talent is the second ingredient. Passion alone can get you far, but without the necessary talent there is a good chance you will not succeed.

Everyone is born with a set of talents or core qualities. These are the skills we are naturally good at. For example I am a good listener; this is one of my main qualities and I can use this skill, this talent, for empathic listening while conducting my coaching sessions. I didn’t have to go through days of training to develop it, it is natural to me.

Suppose you have a passion for football, you’re nuts about the game. Without the necessary talent you probably will not get beyond amateur level, with the talent you can reach the top.

The good thing about talent is that it is something you can develop. Of course if you have zero talent to play the piano you will never be a great pianist. But someone with moderate talent, enough passion and determination can make it pretty far.


Effort is the third success factor. If you never put in the effort and try you will not succeed; if you don’t try hard enough you will fail. Most successful people have one thing in common: they don’t give up, they are determined to succeed. Failure doesn’t exist for them. When things don’t work out, they will try again and again till they succeed.

The formula for success

So now it’s time to combine these three success ingredients together into the formula for success:

Success = Passion * Talent * Effort

All three are important. Passion will give you the energy to start, to keep going. You need talent to stand out above the rest. Effort is the final ingredient. You can be passionate about something, have enough talent, but you need to be determined and put in the effort to make it all work. If you leave something out, whether it is passion, talent or effort; success is difficult, if not impossible.

But if you can use your passion for something, align it with one or more of your talents and are determined to make it work, it is very difficult to fail. You will see something magical happening: You have found the formula for success.

5 comments… add one
  • Benjamin Mar 7, 2010 @ 19:08

    A great post, Patrick!

    Passion and effort really seem to go hand in hand.

    I can’t tell you how many really talented kids I’ve seen practice Karate for a little while… and get pretty good… but they could be truly brilliant if they had the passion to put in the effort to keep going with training.

    I guess talent is only a blessing if we put it to good use!

    keep smiling,


  • Adam Mar 9, 2010 @ 1:59

    “But someone with moderate talent, enough passion and determination can make it pretty far.” – So true! People forget that sometimes the greatest successes had a moderate amount of talent but a tremendous amount of motivation.

  • Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny Aug 16, 2010 @ 18:28

    Discovering your passion is key and then, as you say, putting in effort to learn more about the thing you are passionate about. Discipline is important to learning. With anything new, we’re bound to bump into scary places where we have to take a risk and sometimes fail. Passion coupled with discipline keeps us coming back for more. As my blogging buddy, Ben, said above he sees talented kids practicing karate, but they’re not really passionate about it so they stop or just go through the motions. I’ve had several passions over my lifetime. I’ve enjoyed each one and then moved on to the next discovery when the time was right.

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