If you could pinpoint a single factor that propels people to success, what would it be?
That was the question posed to popular writer Malcolm Gladwell at this week’s World Business Forum in New York. Interestingly, he didn’t mention skills or innate abilities, deliberate practice, or even having the ideal conditions for success, though surely all are important. The most important factor, the “David and Goliath” author said, is having the desire to win and the passion for what you’re doing.
“Nothing happens without desire and passion,” Gladwell told Business Insider in a round-table interview. “Otherwise, nothing else falls in place. It’s very hard to find someone who’s successful and dislikes what they do.”
“Except if they’re a lawyer,” he added, with a smile.
When asked what had helped make him so successful, Gladwell said he was no longer held back by fear.
“I try to be unafraid of making a fool of myself,” he said. “I don’t mind changing my mind.”
“The older I get,” Gladwell continued, “the more I understand that the only way to say valuable things is to lose your fear of being correct. As a writer, the best mindset is to be unafraid.”