The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Successful People Can Tell Whatever Story They Want …

Whether you like him or hate him, Gary Vaynerchuk has made a very big impression in a very small period of time.

As with anyone in this position, he has attracted his unfair share of fans and haters.

A few weeks ago, there was an article that challenged the story he tells people.

Not just in terms of it’s message [Anyone can achieve their goals if they’re prepared to work hard for it] but his background.

As we all know, there are always 3 sides to any story – your side, their side and the truth – and while it is true many people who have dreams and work hard DON’T achieve their goals, I felt it was pretty harsh of the author to pick on that given that there’s literally no other way to achieve your goals … just some are lucky and some [most] aren’t.

But this is where I do agree with author of the article, because they correctly highlight ‘successful people get to tell any story they want’.

I find it amazing how many successful people reimagine history.

It’s not hard to work out that their goal is to ensure people view their achievements through the lens of their unique brilliance – whether that is attitudinal or through their acts.

Of course both of those elements would have had a part to play in their success, but to not acknowledge the luck they enjoyed is to create a narrative that is as deluded as most of the Linkedin write-ups I read.

That said, not everyone is like that …

Many, many years ago I met a very, very successful man.

He had made his fortune in air conditioning and when I asked him what he felt he owed his success to, he said, “1976”.

Basically, he had owned a small firm specialising in fans and air con. Business was OK but not setting the World alight until the summer of 1976, where the UK experienced it’s hottest summer on record.

In that summer, he created the foundation for his future fortune.

It wasn’t that people just wanted a way to immediately cool themselves down, it made companies realize they may need to have a solution for future summers in the office.

Yes, he had worked very, very hard during this time – and subsequent years – but as he said to me, he had always been working hard … it was the good fortune of extreme weather that made his efforts experience greater rewards.

In other words, luck.

And while he still downplayed the effort he put in to be successful, I remember even back then how refreshing it was to hear someone being humble about their success rather than claiming it was down to their unique abilities and vision.

Which is why I still follow the advice of my dad, which was always listen to the opinions/advice/experience of others but remember a good percentage of what they say – even if not intentional – is probably what they wish they did rather than what they actually did.

23 Comments so far
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I really enjoyed this Robert. I enjoyed your perspective on success, the lessons you learned from your dad and (I assume, Mr Holt) and how you resisted the urge to lay in on Vaynerchuck. The only thing I would add is the definition of success should not be limited to financial gain or international fame, but I know you know that.
Great way to end the week.

Comment by George

theres only one thing i hate more than planners and thats when planners turn in to oprah.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m glad I was able to make you feel energized this morning.

Comment by George

energise me? im 3 hours in your fucking future.

Comment by andy@cynic

Andy FTW.

I’m 3 hours in George’s future as well. What’s that say about Googles smarts?

Comment by DH

The problem is wealth and fame are how the media defines success … mainly because it also gives them something to write about when that person screws up at some point. I’m other words it creates the aspiration for society as well as makes them feel better about who they are.

Comment by Rob

vayner is a rich kid who became an old kid who has made a fuckload of cash kidding the wannabes and insecure.

Comment by andy@cynic

I agree with this so much. That surprises me as much as it will surprise you.

Comment by Pete

and your old man explained the problem with every ad award submission case study video. fucking genius.

Comment by andy@cynic

Not the story of my life.

Comment by Chippy McChipShoulders

and campbell, if anyone ever fucking asks what you owe your success to, you better fucking reply “andy”. that goes for the rest of you bastards on here too.

Comment by andy@cynic

Meeting you was like winning the lottery. Or a scratch card.

Comment by DH


Comment by andy@cynic

Only possible answer I can give for any bit of good fortune I have.

Comment by Rob

I enjoyed that. Thank you Robert.

Comment by Lee Hill

Not bad Rob. Not bad.

Comment by Bazza

Vayner is more scam than asian ad campaigns.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Last para was summarised by Shakespeare 500 years before it was written. “Give thy ear to all, thy tongue to none.”

Comment by Abhiroop

As we all know, there are always 3 sides to any story – your side, their side and the truth

Comment by Charles Frith

The comments here are considerably better than the sugar coated middle management nonsense you‘ve been getting over on Linkedin.

Comment by Marcus

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