How To Be Successful by Sam Altman
13 thoughts about how to achieve outlier success for founders.
Table of Contents
- Compound yourself
- Have almost too much self-belief
- Learn to think independently
- Get good at “sales”
- Make it easy to take risks
- Work hard
- Be bold
- Be willful
- Be hard to compete with
- Build a network
- You get rich by owning things
- Be internally driven
If your business grows 50% in value every year, it can become huge in a very short amount of time, thanks to compounding.
You also want to take advantage of compounding magic and apply it on your life. Your rate of learning should always be high. As your career progresses, the work you do should generate more impact and leverage, either via capital, technology, brand, network effects and so on.
Take a truly long-term view, be patient and trust the exponential rewards.
Have almost too much self-belief
Trust yourself like how Elon Musk was absolutely certain about sending rockets to Mars. However, this must always be balanced with-self awareness to avoid self-delusion.
Learn to think independently
There are 2 steps to cultivate it your own:
- Think from first principle, try to generate new ideas, exchange them with other people.
- Find easy and fast ways to test these in the real world.
Get good at “sales”
You want to be able to convince others of what you believe. This requires:
- Inspiring vision.
- Strong communication skills.
- Some degree of charisma.
- Evidence of execution ability.
Make it easy to take risks
It’s easier to take risks early in your career as you don’t have much to lose and potentially a lot to gain.
- Look for small bets where you lose 1x if you’re wrong but gain 100x otherwise.
- Don’t save up for too long.
- Don’t get used to a comfortable life and predictable job.
- Keep your life cheap and flexible.
It’s more important to work on the right thing than it’s to work many hours. Don’t waste time on stuff that doesn’t matter.
Extreme people get extreme results though it comes with huge life trade-offs. To work hard without burning out:
- Find work you like doing.
- Know your purpose and impact matters to something larger than yourself.
- Work with people you enjoy spending time with.
Work hard at the beginning of your career as it compounds. The earlier you do it, the more time you have for the benefits to pay off.
Follow your curiosity, work on hard and important problem, let yourself grow more ambitious.
Try a lot, be persistent, keep going until this works no matter what.
Be hard to compete with
If what you do can be done by someone else, it eventually will be, and for less money.
Build up leverage by building a strong personal brand, getting good at a niche, and so on.
Build a network
Develop a network of talented people to work with. There are several ways to do so:
- Help people as much as you can.
- Develop a reputation for taking care of people who work with you: be generous, learn to evaluate what people are great at and help them achieve these roles.
- Find someone eminent to take a bet on you, ideally early in your career.
You get rich by owning things
No one in the history of the Forbes list has gotten there with a salary but owning things that increase rapidly in value, such as business, real estate, and intellectual property.
The best way to make things that increase rapidly in value is by making things people want at scale.
Be internally driven
Don’t do what you do because you want to impress others even though you’ll realize that you care about their opinions a lot.
Do what you do because you want to challenge yourself and because you feel compelled to make something happen in the world.
Tagged: #blog, #outlier, #success