A+B+C+ … + N = Success


As English is not my native language, until today, I didn’t know the meaning of the word “parlay”. So I had to check it online, and I found the following definition on Wikipedia:

A parlay, accumulator, or combo bet is a single bet that links together two or more individual wagers and is dependent on all of those wagers winning together.

(OFF-TOPIC: I also learned not to confuse it with parley, which is a type of discussion between enemies, usually about the truce)

This inspires me to talk about all the situations in life in which success depends on many different factors, and just like in parlay, if just one of them isn’t there, there’s no success.

Such nature of success is the reason why so many people can’t figure out the reason they fail in some endeavors, since, after all, they are doing all the right things. The problem is, they are most likely doing almost all the right things, but there may be a certain element that is lacking, something that they are doing wrong, or not doing at all, or even something outside their control, which can be just luck, or circumstances. We can’t influence the luck factor, but we can make more or less accurate assessment of circumstances, and if we misperceive them as better than they actually are, this might be the reason for our failure, and this might lead us to waste our energy on useless efforts.

So if you’re doing something and you find it hard to succeed maybe the best thing to do would be to review all that you’re doing and search for hidden factors, hidden elements, that you might be missing or doing wrongly, and to reassess the circumstances, and if they are unfavorable, you might want to switch to doing something different for which the circumstances are better.

Here are a few examples of the things where many different factors are needed for success. For cases where I think I don’t know all the factors needed for success, I’ll add some unknown variables, such as X, Y, Z… the more of them I add, the more unknown factors I feel there might be. For the cases in which some of the factors usually thought as necessary, may not actually be necessary, I will subtract variables. I am no expert for any of the things that will be mentioned bellow (I’m closest to such a status when it comes to making pasulj, but I still have a long way to go for that as well) , it’s just an exercise in making informed guesses. 🙂

Making a scientific breakthrough

Being intelligent + having acquired the necessary education + being dedicated to your studies and willing to experiment and think outside the box + living and working in a place where there is a dynamic scientific research + having good mentors and stimulating colleagues + having access to high quality publications + having access to the equipment + X-X1-X2-X3 = Making a scientific breakthrough. Why so much subtraction here? Well, in the past many people made breakthroughs without the best education, resources, and all the other elements from the list, but today it’s more difficult.

Becoming a bestselling author

Having a good writing style + spending many hours practicing writing, before even starting to work on your novel + having a good idea for a story in your mind + the main topic of your novel being something that many people are interested in + your story being interesting to the publishing houses as well + publishing your novel in a moment when there isn’t too strong competition with other novels with similar topics + X+Y+Z – X1= Becoming a bestselling author. Of course if popularity is not your main goal, you can always change your goal, and instead of wanting to be a bestselling author, you might set a goal of just telling a good story, presenting your ideas through your work or becoming critically acclaimed without necessarily being very popular.

Creating a very popular website

Having a good idea + knowing how to implement it, or find someone who will do it for you + this idea being something that solves a problem to many people, or something that fulfills some of their needs + starting it at the right time, in which the need for such type of website is high, and competition still not too strong + knowing how to promote it properly + having people who will help you promote it, design it well, etc… + X + Y – X1 – X2 = Creating a popular website. OK this one was about really popular websites, such as Facebook. For other types of websites, the factors for success are probably different.

Making a perfect Pasulj (bean stew popular in Ex-Yugoslavia)

Selecting the most appropriate type of beans + selecting the most appropriate type of smoked meat (bacon, ribs, etc.) + adding just the right vegetables to it and not overdoing it + cooking it neither too long nor too short + putting just the right amount of flour and aleva paprika in the roux that is added to it at the end of cooking, so that it is neither too thick nor too thin + X+Y (X and Y are factors only Balkan moms know 🙂   ) = Making a perfect Pasulj.


As you see that there are so many factors needed for success even for simple things such as making pasulj, it’s a good reason to be happy and grateful for the things you actually are successful in. There are many things you’re good at that you take for granted and think they are easy. Maybe they are easy for you, but this is just because you’re doing all the things right! And when it comes to the stuff in which you fail, the worst strategy is always employing the same methods, and the best ones would be reassessing the factors involved, looking for hidden variables and reevaluating the circumstances. And of course, you can change your goals themselves. Sometimes it’s more wise to give up, rather than pursue something that’s very unlikely to work. But giving up is not a thing to do quickly, and without even trying and giving your best effort to succeed. You’re the one who knows best if you have really tried hard enough or you just gave up without effort and fight.

Also people can change goals, see new opportunities and abandon some of the old pursuits. If you find a genuine new opportunity that is more meaningful to you than some of the old goals, or if they lose meaning, this might be a legitimate reason to change your goals.

Via Daily Post: Parlay


3 thoughts on “A+B+C+ … + N = Success

  1. Hi,
    I agree with your premise that different situations call for different factors; for example ,what you said about Facebook success versus a blog’s success online. I am a native English speaker but I have heard English is a hard language to learn.
    Maybe you can check out my blog if you need any blogging tips. That’s what I write about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Janice, thanks for checking my blog! I’ll check yours as well, and yeah, I would probably find such tips very useful! And regarding English, I’ve been learning it since I was 10, in various ways… for me it wasn’t hard, but maybe it’s just because of so much time being exposed to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Zlatko,
        Thank you for your reply.
        I am glad you did not have trouble learning English.
        It is always my pleasure to help bloggers. I will look forward to your visit to my blog. I blog over at mostlyblogging.com.

        Liked by 1 person

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