The Greatest Factor That Determines If You'll Be Successful

The Greatest Factor That Determines If You'll Be Successful


Finding the key commonalities behind what makes an individual thrive in a given circumstance while others may crumble has been an obsession of mine over time.

I've been fascinated in finding out what separates the greats from everybody else.

Are they smarter?
More educated?
Do they work harder?
Do they wake up early?
Do they read a lot?

A lot of the time in the past I've believed that I've found the thing that makes people so successful, but then later realise it wasn't.

However, I've recently observed that there is ONE THING in common in every single instance.

Today I sit down with Nick Fisher to discuss what that one thing is and how you can utilise it for yourself. 

Here's what we cover:

  • The one thing that makes people the best at what they do
  • Michael Jordan's secret to becoming the best basketballer in the world
  • Is talent nurtured or is it something we're born with?
  • How to identify your key interests and turn them into a business
  • If you need coaches to help you achieve greatness

Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

To your success!

-Sam Ovens & the team at

Transcript / MP3

Nick Fisher: All right. I know there's a lot of factors, but if you had to choose the one thing that determines if a person is successful or if they're not successful. Or let's say greatly successful, world class, everyone knows that that person is successful at that. What would that one factor be if it had to be one? Sam Ovens: I've thought a lot about this, because I've wanted to know what that thing is myself so that I can get better. It's also fascinated me because with our online training programs at, we help people start consulting businesses and become successful. It's always been one of the things I've been looking at among all the students in there. The people who make six figures and seven figures, what is it about them? Are they smarter? Are they more educated? Do they work harder? Do they wake up early? Do they read a lot? What things do they have in common? It's always fascinated me. A lot of the time I think I've found the thing and then it turns out that I haven't. But, recently I've observed that there's one thing that's true in every single instance. I learned this from watching all these documentaries from all of these different people in all different industries and from athletes like Usain Bolt, and Michael Phelps, and Michael Jordan, and all the different athletes in all their different fields. Then like musicians like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and then even David Bowie and Micheal Jackson. And then into business people as well. I just looked across the board. Even movie directors and stuff. What is the thing that makes people really good at stuff? And then in the people in my programs as well. I think the one thing that it is, is pure love and obsession for what they do. I don't mean they just like it, I mean they're probably to the point that most people would argue that it's bad and disturbing and all of this. They love it so much that they would give themself for it. They're infatuated by it, obsessed. It's the thing they think about from the minute they wake up in the morning to when they go to sleep. Then they'll be dreaming about it too. They will sacrifice anything to keep feeding that love with the thing. That's really what it is. One thing really stuck out to me when I watched one of Michael Jordan's documentaries. They asked him at the beginning. It's was the first scene. They were like, "What's the secret to being the best basketball player in the world?" And he goes, "Well, it's simple. The secret is to fall in love with the game. Once you do that, you're no longer training, you're no longer competing. You're no longer doing any of this because you just love it. It's what you do by default." Once you fall in love with something, it's very easy to become the best in the world at it. That really is the thing that I've noticed that's true across all instances. Nick Fisher: Now, do you think that is something that these people were born with or even yourself or our students? Or is it something that develops over time as far as them falling the love and the game? Because a lot of people come in and they're like, I don't really know if I like anything. Nothing is too good or too bad, I'm interested in just a lot of different paths. Sam Ovens: No one's born with a love for an actual field like basketball, because that's impossible. You're not born with anything. Everything is nurtured, not what you're born with. That's always a myth, oh, he was born with it. There's even a Michael Jordan ad, which it's like, maybe you thought basketball was a God given gift and not something I worked for every single day of my life. Right? He even says it there. It's a myth. Usually what people who aren't successful just say to make themselves feel better about not being good at anything, that people are born with it. And they're not born with it. That's why. Even though that the person that takes their whole life to get good at it. It's definitely not the born thing, but I do understand the not being interested in anything or not being obsessed with anything. The truth is they're probably just not obsessed with anything which they think can become a business. Every person is obsessed with something. If I think back to what I did even before business, I always had one thing, which was my hobby. That might have been skateboarding or BMX biking or playing Counter-Strike. We went through a phase of that. These were my obsessions at different phases of my life. Then came drinking beers and going out to parties. Then I did rock climbing. There was all of these different phases I went through and those were things that if I had some spare time, I'd be thinking about that or doing it. The truth is, is that people are interested in things. They just don't see how that thing can become a business, and maybe it can't. But to really learn what you're interested right now the easiest thing to do ... just think what do you do when you've got some spare time? What do you do? If you've got some spare time in the evening or whatever what do you default to doing? Another good thing to look at ... these are clues, clues which give away what you're interested in. Look at the friends what you've got and the friends which you're closest to. Then think what are the attributes that make you friends? What things do you share in common? And then look at the conversations you have with your friends. What things are you discussing? Look at the things that you post on your Facebook page. What are they of? There's clues everywhere. But, I think one of the coolest giveaways, which someone said once and I was like, well, that's true. Is look at your YouTube search history. Seriously, because YouTube just saves everything you've ever searched for. Right? All the terms and everything. If you just go into YouTube and you look at your search history, you'll see the things which you're searching for. These are things which are all going to be clues into what you're interested in. I don't believe that people aren't interested in anything. The only way to really achieve that is to be dead or unconscious. But, they're just not seeing how that might be related to business. That's the first way to figure out what am I actually interested in. Then you can think is there anyway I could turn my interest into a business as well. That will start getting you thinking. Even if you're into partying, you could start having parties. You know what I mean? Nick Fisher: Party promoting. Sam Ovens: Everything can become a business. The thing that really determines whether something is going to be a really good business or not is how obsessed the person is with it, because if they're more obsessed with it than the average person than they're going to beat the average person. Nick Fisher: If they're more obsessed, do you find that ... because you went through those areas of obsession in your life. What makes someone fall out of obsession or have you determined that? Or have you seen anyone who was really on fire for a certain path then all the sudden they're like, you know, it ended up not being what I wanted. But they had these tendencies of jumping from obsession to obsession, versus someone who ... maybe even like Steve Jobs, even though he had that stint away from Apple. For most of his life, was obsessed with that one vision of what he was trying to achieve at Apple. Sam Ovens: Most of his life because he was like 20 something before he even started on Apple. He would of still had all of these phases when he was growing up. Nick Fisher: Right. I guess that's true. Sam Ovens: When I was talking about skateboarding and Counter-Strike and all that, it's when I was 12, 15, different ages. Then my obsession really at 21 became with business. It was a broad obsession. Then what changed and iterated inside of that was the type of business and the niche, and what I was selling, and what I was good at, and how I actually did business. Business overall is like an obsession, but within that obsession you've got other obsessions. You know what I mean? Nick Fisher: Got it. Sam Ovens: If someone's really interested in say partying or something, then they've got to ask themselves if they're also interested in business at all. You have to have a desire to make money and to put a lot of effort into a business to make it work, but you also need to have a desire and an interest in the nature of your business. I learned that lesson when I built this property inspection app called Snap Inspect, it was one of my first businesses. I went to the market and I looked for needs, and I found that they needed this property inspection app. Then I matched the need with the software and it was a success. The company worked. But I was not obsessed with property managers and the property management field. One, I didn't know much about it. Two, I definitely didn't think about it or dream about it. It wasn't an obsession. I had the obsession of business, but the nature of my business wasn't something I was obsessed with. Naturally, that led to me changing and going more into consulting, which was something that I was way more interested in within the field of business. Nick Fisher: Got it. Sam Ovens: If that makes sense. Nick Fisher: Yeah. No. That does make sense. The money is just a by product. I'm sure it was good to get the money if the business was successful, but if you truly didn't love it at some point it's just never enough. Sam Ovens: You have to love both. If you don't like money at all, then there's no point in being in business. You just do it as a hobby. Right? You got to like the money and the thing. It's not like a binary state thing, you don't just like one or the other, you got to like both. Nick Fisher: Right. Even now as our business grows, there's a lot more things that we're doing now that we weren't doing last year or the year before or even you personally were doing before. How do you keep that same drive and fire as the company grows? Is there a certain jobs that you've learned to outsource? That you know, I definitely don't want to do that, because if I do I'm going to fall out in love with the whole business thing. How do you keep yourself focused and obsessed and really loving what you do every day? Sam Ovens: No one ever loves anything every day ever. That never happens. A good thing to learn is that there's going to be cycles. You're not going to love it, and then you're going to love it. The key is that you just love it on average, because you're always going to have days. Everyone has days ... you might even have some weeks and things. You're always going to have to do things you don't like to do. If I think just over the past two weeks, I've had to get really in the trenches in my company with all of the financials and everything, because we restructured a whole bunch of stuff. I've just been living in Excel and talking to accountants and attorneys and things for two weeks. That is not something I really love, but it's just something which I have to do at this particular stage to keep moving, and that's fine. I understand that. It's like if you have a wife and she asks you to do something and you don't like that, you don't think, oh, this wife isn't for me anymore. You know what I mean? The business asks you to do things that you don't want to do, but provided you love it on average, it works. It's also good to learn the things you like and you don't like, because overtime you can actually start doing less of what you don't like. But it's silly to look at something and think that you're going to love it every day and every week, Because. Even if you watch Michael Jordan documentaries or something ... I keep coming back to him, because everyone knows he's the greatest of all time at basketball. He's a really good example of this. He loved basketball, and he loved winning at basketball. In order to do that he had to train extremely hard. Training that hard is agonizing and you don't like it. But you have to go through that pain in order to achieve the love. You know what I mean? He put himself in situations which he absolutely hated in order to win at the thing which he loved. Do you see how that works? Nick Fisher: I do. Sam Ovens: Yeah. Then at the end, his coach, when he finally retired, when he talked to his coach, he said, "If I ever see you around my house again, I'm going to shot you." It's a famous line, which he said to one of his coaches. Which just shows you, when he was around he was always on edge, and he knew it was going to be hard and everything. But he put himself through that pain to achieve what he wanted to achieve. A business is very much like that. It's like training at the gym on a lot of days. You've got to put yourself through pressure and through stress and all of that to achieve the thing which you love. There's not a one sided thing which you're always going to love it. It goes back between the two. Nick Fisher: Kind of going off of that ... because we talked about Jordan, obviously he had a bunch of coaches, he was the best ever. Do you think someone needs a coach in order to be world class or like great? Sam Ovens: I think they're going to have lots of coaches. At different stages of your life you're going to come across different things that teach you. It doesn't always have to be a person, sometimes it can be a philosophy or something like that. If you look at Jordan, he had Phil Jackson taught him a lot and then also Zen Buddhism taught him a lot. That whole philosophy, which he looked into and became a good teacher of his. But then he had other coaches, which he used for extra performance in the gym. He sought out other coaches, and he did training outside of the normal team training to get an edge. Then he brought in people which helped him with diet and all sorts. You're always going to have teachers, because that's the only way you can get better. They change over time, but I think it's always important to have at least one thing, which is your ... or one person who is your teacher at all stages. Otherwise, you've got nothing to really look up to or learn. Nick Fisher: Got it. The ideal scenario is having the self motivation too. Finding what you're obsessed about, finding what you're on this earth to do, and then also the accountability of having a coach in order to get to that next level or at all these times just have a philosophy or something like that. Sam Ovens: Or the coach can be like an author. Say this one person is really inspiring you right now. It could even be someone like Elon Musk. You didn't even meet, probably not going to meet him, probably not going to be able to email him. He's not going to be holding you accountable, but you can read his books, you can watch his videos. He is being your teacher and your coach through those vehicles. People often think, I need a coach that's literally coaching me. Anything can be your teacher. Nick Fisher: Got it. Is it good to have a mix of both throughout your life or do you know people or yourself ... how do you prefer? Do you prefer to have someone that you talk to over the phone, someone, just philosophies, books that you read or people that are actually more one on one relationship? Or a mix of all? Sam Ovens: It's honestly a mix. It's just whatever you can get. Sometimes in some fields, you're not going to be able to get a one on one person, they're just going to be way out of reach. It makes more sense to have somebody just by learning through their materials and their work and things like that, than it is to bring someone in. You've always just got to do a weigh off of pros and cons. A lot of the time if you get someone in, sure you've got them there watching you and all of that stuff, but they're often not going to have the knowledge that's as good as you might get from someone in a book, because that person might be the best in the world. You've got to decide what's more important, having the actual accountability and all of that or having the depth of knowledge and expertise. Nick Fisher: Got it.