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The secret of success lies in the power of foresight: John D. Rockefeller on Success

Book Cover
Book Cover

Everybody wants to be successful but very few of us want to pay the price. However, this does not reduce the attractiveness of the answer to this very question: how to be successful?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is always an elusive one. What may come to our aid are the lessons and opinions from the people who made it in life before us.

For Napoleon Hill, a burning desire backed by unwavering faith is the key to all human achievement. For Lara Jade, success depends on how badly we want it and for Debbie Millman, we choose all of our success and failure by belittling ourselves in our imagination. For Walt Disney, success comes with imagination and hard work to make that imagination true, for Polaroid founder Edwin Land success is a process that takes five thousand steps of hard work, faith, and obsession.

Here are two rules for success from John D. Rockefeller from a 1901 book “How They Succeeded: Life Stories of Successful Men Told by Themselves”

To ride a car you need to look far ahead otherwise the propensity of accident increases. To be successful one also need to look ahead which they named foresight. The heavenly ability to see the future and translate it into reality before your fellow competitors can set one ahead in the competition and let win the race. From invention to innovation, whatever you name it, all are the result of farsightedness. Steve’s foresight awarded us with the first personal computer, Henry Ford’s foresight with model T, and our very own Samson H. Chowdhury’s foresight awarded us with the first Pharmaceutical company and Kamal Quadir’s a mobile platform for selling and buying, and later mobile money.

In an investigation to understand the chemistry of success of Rockefeller one of his business associates credited his foresight for his success over anything else. His associate said:

"I believe the secret of his success, so far as there is any secret lies in power of foresight, which often seems to his associates to be wonderful. It comes simply from his habit of look-in gate very side of a question, of weighing the favorable and unfavorable features of a situation, and of sifting out the inevitable result through his unfailing good judgment."

Rome was not built in a day. Everything takes time and one must stick to her plan until she makes it. Giving up spoils the game and you will never win anything if you don’t stick with it. As Iraj Islam  said “I believe the two most important things for an entrepreneur are passion and perseverance” in a recent interview; Rockefeller said the same thing in 1901:

“It was early training, and the fact that I was willing to persevere. I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. I t overcomes almost every-thing, even nature."

Complement this with Amelia E. Barr's 9 rules of success: 9 rules for success from British Novelist Amelia E. Barr, Napoleon Hill's Imagination for success Everything about Imagination: The workshop of the mind from Napoleon Hill, 1938, and Thomas Edison's one thing rule for success Do one thing and do it obsessively

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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