You can’t reach success without showing up. It’s not sufficient, but it is required, and often everything else follows.
This year I went on two campuses. In Florida, in this smallish private school I was on official Google expansion mission to help underrepresented schools’ students to get the first hand knowledge about how to get hired into good companies. It was just amazing that while this event was totally free, offered food and drinks, was on Thursday night — in other words absolutely no excuses to show up — only so many students came. Why not? I surveyed a few student who came to the resume workshop but did not come to the tech talk — some said they had a class that time, some said they just slacked. I mean do I even have to comment here!?
I’m pretty annoyed with how overloaded the word success is, but no matter what definition you pick, you just can’t be successful if you don’t show up.
Next up I self organized a talk at my alma mater in Voronezh. Contacted the student body, printed the ad, contacted the faculty. It was totally free, no advertisement or anything, just sharing the tips on how to get good jobs — on what to focus. 10 students showed up, and no faculty…
This makes me wonder, how many opportunities do we miss just because we don’t show up? Is it because we don’t believe it when it’s too good to be true? Sure, to a high degree of confidence, if there were free money to be made — an arbitrage- then sure enough someone else had thought of it already and the opportunity is gone. While even that could be questioned (famously, an economist would not pick up a $20 on the sidewalk because someone else would have picked it up already if it were real), the matter is quite different when we are talking about personal opportunities and self development. There are just so many paths to success, whatever the definition. Especially now, more than ever, there are so many events/organizations/meetups that help students/people to find it.
Reflecting back on my personal experience, none of the pivotal good things that happened to me would have happened had I not showed up. Showed up for work and travel program, joined the student body, applied for exchange semester, applied to grad school in another country, applied to Google, asked for the projects… It could have been other things, does not matter, but either way to increase the likelihood of serendipity one have to show up!