The key to success is often hard to define, but we often try to categorize it as something that we can put a label on, such as hard work, education, or an entrepreneurial spirit. The key to success is most likely different for each one, just like every human is different; the key to each person’s own success will most likely also differ from person to person. Therefore, we should not try to emulate others in hopes of copying their success since that may not lead one down the right path for as an individual. Rather, we should know ourselves better; understand where we come from and what events have shaped our personal brand, strengths and weaknesses. Using this information we can then best determine which incremental key ingredient is necessary for us to maximize our own personal success.

Clearly, there are many common factors that will elevate our performance, especially determination. Having a strong determination can go a long way in achieving tremendous success. In fact, most of the fictional characters that inspire us tend to have a strong sense of determination that keeps them going in overcoming hurdles and challenges. However, there is a point where determination may result in diminishing marginal utility and other factors will be necessary in reaching a higher level of success. One of the factors that we sometimes forget in our intense quest of continuously improving may be humility. Humility is commonly seen as the act or posture of lowering oneself in relation to others, or conversely, having a clear perspective and respect for one’s place in context.

Humility is often underestimated as a key to success, but it is critical for long lasting success. By being humble, you will never underestimate the competition and the need to learn more and gain new experiences. If hubris is the downfall of greatness then humility should be the trajectory of success. Thus, as we attain incremental success we should always make sure to eat plenty of humble pie to ensure that we stay hungry for more success and never fall into the trap of underestimating our competition. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote: Every battle is won before it is ever fought. We should keep this in mind as we strategies for the next corporate battle and ensure that we remain humble so that we do not overestimate our strengths or overestimate the competition’s weaknesses.