4 Under-Appreciated Principles for Success

There’s a bunch of common principles of success that you hear about. But I wanted to point out some principles that aren’t as advertised as often. You may have heard of one of these already, but even if you have, are you taking action on them? I mention some here that I find that people may know about, but never actually use effectively.


Brian Grazer is a famous, wealth, successful Hollywood producer and director. I had no idea who he was, but after I did, I decided to read his books. And this guy devoted an entire book to telling people that his one secret to success is his insatiable curiosity.

I suggest you read his book for the details, but for those who want to skip the dissertation on why curiosity lead to his success, he believes the saying “curiosity killed the cat” is terrible because it discourages curiosity. He has been super curious about what makes a good film, what’s a good idea, how someone created something, interesting stories, and a number of other things. By showing that curiosity and taking action on it, he’s been able to form connections with successful people and create highly profitable films.

Ever since I read this book a couple years ago, I’ve been more curious about everyone and everything. I ask about people’s stories, lives, and how they came to like certain things or how things work.

Most people go about life without any intention, just behaving off instinct. Contrast that with people like us who study personal development. We’re intentionally using tested techniques like curiosity, without others even realizing, to improve our lives.

You’re the Average of the Five People You Hang Around Most

I’ve been talking about personal development since 2014 yet I still see people often fail to use this principle. Perhaps, it’s because it’s so obvious or commonly mentioned that people just assume that it’s done or that it’s so common sense that it’s not worth it. The problem is that most people continue to spend time with people that either keep them getting the same mediocre results, or even worse, they continue hanging around people that drag them down.

While it’s basic or “common sense” to some people who have been in the game of personal development for a while, everyone needs to revisit this fundamental principle and take action on it to try to surround their lives with more people that they want to be like. This year, I found myself forgetting about this principle and realizing that I can do a lot better with surrounding myself with the people I want to be like intentionally. Even I can forget about this, and it’s arguably one of the most powerful principles since you often get much better through osmosis without even trying just by being around better people. 

A common objection I receive in the comments is “How do I surround myself with better people? I’m just an average person without much value or connections.”

Well, so am I. Most of us start with nothing. Yet I do whatever I can to generate value and be resourceful. I work hard to be able to pay extra for gyms that have a higher caliber of people working out in it. I try to be social and offer value with my friendliness, kindness, and positive attitude to befriend people who are more muscular than me. This has allowed me to get a lot of tips and even coaching sessions from really jacked people that came out because people invited me to train with them or were willing to answer questions.

Similarly, if you have a goal in life, I’m sure there’s many people out there locally, in your city, in your town, or even in your building or classroom, that you can hang around more often. You don’t need to find some world-class #1 champion of the world to be your mentor and coach you in person, especially if you’re a beginner. (And frankly, they probably won’t mentor you just yet if you just ask since thousands of people ask. The best alternative is a program like MasterClass.com) You just need to start and find people a bit better than you right now. For example, I received coaching from a world-class dating coach recently, and he told me I shouldn’t be picky with who I hang out with (my wingman); he said I’m at a beginner level, so most people will be fine since they’ll be better than me and can point out my blindspots.


The fact of the matter is that life is tough, and suffering is part of life. Everyone will inevitably encounter some level of suffering as they go through life. Those who coast or expect a pain-free level can sometimes get rocked when they can’t handle an unexpected tragic event. And if they’re really unlucky, they may face a series of unhappy events all at once. This can lead to depression, erratic behavior, unhappiness, letting it crush their spirit, letting it ruin their lives, or making them give up.

Instead of hoping your life is carefree or never expecting anything really bad to happen to you, train your resilience muscle. When bad things happen, develop a positive attitude. Create automatic mindsets and a support network of friends so that you bounce out of these moments and so that you can prepare for the truly tough times. Realize that you never really fail if you never give up.


When I first read the billionaire Ray Dalio’s book Principles, I became elated because I discovered a principle of success that I hadn’t heard before: open-mindedness.

This factor is different from the common principles you hear: hard work, focus, and persistence.

I was curious to learn more about open-mindedness and how it differed from close-mindedness since I am excited about new levers I can turn to improve my results. Here’s how open-mindedness can benefit you…

Open-minded people give new ideas or beliefs a chance, which helps them identify new behaviors that can help them succeed.

Close-minded people are the worst. You’ve probably seen them as anonymous comments on social media. They’ve already decided how the world works and trying to change their mind is near impossible. They’ll come up with convoluted reasons to back up their beliefs when push comes to shove in a debate. And since the world is complex, there’s always a reason they can pull up.

If the world was filled with 100% close-minded people, we’d still use leeches to suck blood out of people to “cure them,” we wouldn’t believe we’d need to wash our hands to kill germs, and we’d believe the planets revolved around the earth. It was through open-minded people that scientists convinced the world to adopt better practices, which has saved many lives.

Here’s an example of close-minded folk. There’s this famous Instagram gamer model called STPeach who has an ordinary-looking husband. There are occasional comments on her posts that say that this guy must be rich and that’s how he got the girl.

The thing is that STPeach has mentioned in a few videos that her husband works as a nurse with a modest wage. He is kind, has similar interests, and friendly, and that matters a lot to her. But I some of these commenters have decided that there is no conceivable way for an average person to marry someone of that caliber unless they’re rich. So they’ll come up with conspiracy reasons rather than accept that other factors, like personality, have an impact.

I used to have a long-time anonymous hater on my YouTube channel who spins every video on a topic into an attack on me. His main attack is to tell me I’m a virgin who can’t get a girlfriend, so he’s trying to attack my insecurity. But he’ll switch it up and turn even an Ellen DeGeneres book summary into an attack by saying how he hates Ellen and can’t think of why anyone would like her and how I must be jealous because she gets girls and I don’t. Each time I block him, he creates another account.

I would say this guy is the definition of close-minded because I guarantee you if I posted a video with a girlfriend, his mind wouldn’t compute, and he’d come up with some other convoluted reason why he thinks I’m still a loser rather than accept that I succeeded. In one video, he mentioned I’d probably end up paying for a relationship or some mail order bride, so that would probably be his reasoning.

He’s ridiculous, clearly has his own issues that he’s taking out on me, and a waste of time! It’s hard, but I can’t let this anonymous troll cause me any worry or dwelling anymore.

Especially when its a hot topic close to their heart, these people have tons of biases and emotions clouding their judgment and locking down their beliefs. Maybe they were hurt in the past. Maybe they have given up on succeeding in life, and they’re trying to spread that unhappiness and belief to others because if they can’t succeed, they won’t let others succeed.

A quick tell to see if you’re open-minded or close-minded is if you ever question that you’re wrong, give opportunity for it … or if you don’t like your beliefs challenged and care more about proving yourself right than hearing other perspectives.

That’s why I love science. Science, at its heart, is about finding out the truth about how the world works, regardless of how painful or different it is from religion or other beliefs. Thanks to science, we can communicate with others on different countries through the Internet and fly in airplanes to those places.

Close-minded people make my blood boil, and Ray says to just fire them from your company and hire open-minded people because it’s hard to change them, if not impossible. You have to decide on your own to change. I have become a bit more open-minded after I learned about this concept.

I am curious about your stories and thoughts on how to deal with close-minded people. Do you think one should try to persuade them or is it a waste of time? I am often tempted to do so, but I wonder if there should be a line that should be drawn where it’s best to just avoid them — such as if it’s an anonymous social media comment. Send me a reply email on your thoughts.

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By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.


  1. The best way to shut down a troll is to prove them wrong. Just get a girlfriend, and he won’t have anything more to say to you.

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