Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Master the triangle of success

Master the triangle of success
Where do you think you will be career-wise after a decade, as compared to your classmates? Do you think only top-ranking students become successful in life? What do you feel might happen to that classmate of yours who is the butt of jokes and ridicule?

If you believe only academic brilliance leads to success, you must revalidate your opinion; or read books such as, ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill, which is the summation of hundreds of success stories.

The key questions in your mind should be: How do people become successful in their chosen professions? What’s the secret of their success?

Evaluation of success stories of statesmen, business-persons, actors, writers, educationists, is a revelation and one can come up with several concepts behind their success. A proven concept is the ‘Triangle of Success’, representing the three success ingredients: Knowledge, Skills and Attitude.
The magic triangle
Which success ingredient is more important? Even though difficult to generalise, in the work environment, the stress is more on ‘attitude’, with the belief that ‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’ required for the job can be imparted. However, in general, the Triangle of Success is equilateral, affirming that all three aspects are equally vital.


In an academic environment, knowledge represents the core curriculum, irrespective of the courses. To illustrate, in a Management course, to make learning more comprehensive, the curriculum includes such diverse subjects as Economics, Finance, Human Resources, Organisational Behaviour, apart from Management. Knowledge can be said to be the foundation for success.


Our educational system focuses on imparting knowledge for a career and not on essential soft skills. For example, any career requires skills such as planning, time management, logical reasoning, inter-personal relations, presentation skills etc. to apply knowledge in a practical situation.


While knowledge and skills are essential, they are not adequate for success. A study attributed to Harvard University found that people are employed, 85 per cent of the time because of their attitude, and only 15 per cent of the time because of how smart they are and how many facts and figures they know. Surprisingly, almost 100 per cent of educational money goes into teaching facts and figures which account for only 15 per cent of success at work!

Attitude includes key aspects like honesty, integrity, self-confidence, cooperative attitude, expectations, energy levels, optimism and so on, which are critical for career success
Interdependency of ingredients
The desire to be successful in a chosen profession is widespread. This desire, which is more an intention, should evolve into a plan of action. The interdependency of knowledge, skills and attitude, must be clear before translating your desire into an action plan.

Knowledge from an academic environment is the foundation for the chosen field. Degrees in Management or Engineering, may prepare you with fundamental knowledge for management and technical careers.

Communication, analytical and presentation skills make you competent and ahead of others in these professions. Depending on professional requirements, you must acquire complementary skills to be effective.

Remember the adage, ‘a Ferrari never wins any race while it is in the garage’. Similarly, the knowledge that you possess and the skills that you acquire, govern your potential. However, your productivity depends on how positive your attitude is. Lou Holtz, the famous football coach said this most appropriately, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it”. 

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