The Blatantly Obvious Variable That Throws Off Every Success Formula

Srinivas Rao
4 min readMar 4, 2019

Formulas for success make it easy for us to sell books, create self help seminars, and give advice in every area of life. You have a problem. My formula is the solution. People want the formula, the magic bullet, the thing that’s guaranteed to help them make the money, lose the weight, and find the love of their life.

Consider the following formulas for success in life, writing a book, or building a successful startup.

  • Book = Author + Writing Habit + Time/Effort Required.
  • Success in Life = Person + Elite Education + Prestigious Job
  • Startup = Founder + Venture Capital + Product Market Fit

There’s one variable that completely throws off all of these equations. It’s the individual or organization who is attempting to apply the so-called formula, or method.

  • Kids who grew up with the same parents turn out incredibly different.
  • Students who go to the same school and graduate with the same degree end up on divergent paths.

This is true for online courses, working with coaches, building companies, diets, and exercise programs. We’re not robots. We’re humans with unique sets of strengths and weaknesses, flaws and quirks.

Standardized Education is a One-Sized Fits All Solution

The idea of standardized testing as a way to measure people who are all different is no different than assuming the same size shoes will fit everybody perfectly. If you gave me a pair of high heels and expected me to walk in them, you’d conclude that I was uncoordinated, lacked balance, and must have something wrong with my legs. That would be insane.

But that’s exactly what we do with standardized testing. When we reward conformity, that’s what we will breed. Instead of creating students with the ability to solve interesting problems and are capable to lead, we create students with the ability to follow instructions, memorize information, and follow orders. This does nothing but prepare them for a future that doesn’t exist.

In the future, people will be rewarded for navigating ambiguity, finding clarity through action, and for…



Srinivas Rao

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