How To Succeed When You Aren’t The Best At Anything

What if you are just average at things, can you still succeed?


The hidden key to success is why the secret sauce tastes so good.

Have you ever heard that only the best people are able to succeed, leaving the rest of us to pick up their scraps if we are lucky?

That since we aren’t the best looking, have the highest intelligence, or the most charming that we are destined to be stuck in the middle of the pack? After hearing this for a while I can understand how it could start to make sense, how could you succeed over someone who IS better?

There is only one person who is ‘the best’ of something in the world. There is only one person in your business field who is ‘the best’ at it. That is what being the best means, there is no one greater. I’ve heard people say to find your strength and work at making it even stronger and you will find success. I think someone who is the best at any one skill is hidden away working for someone who has combined many skills, none which are ‘the best’, to increase their own success.

Who is the best computer programmer in the world? I don’t think it is Larry Page or Sergey Brin the co-founders of google. They are good for sure, but there is a high probability that this person is working for them now. They added other skills to achieve success, like engineering, communication, business, and management.

Many people who are successful aren’t the best at anything, but they have combined their good enough skills into a really effective secret sauce.

Like a restaurant that takes a normal burger patty but adds to it their special sauce recipe which makes it a wildly successful hit! ½ cup mayo, ¼ cup ketchup, ½ cup relish, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon of pepper makes for a rather tasty combination (try it!)– but each ingredient is something most of us have at home. Successful people have just found a great combination of normal flavors!

The Krabby Patty is the best burger in Bikini Bottom. The formula to its success is a closely guarded secret.

We can do the same in our own lives.

Combine your talents until you find a combo that works. Two cups of determination, a cup of confidence, 1/2 cup of management skill, 1/2 cup of interpersonal communication, 1/4 cup of logical reasoning, and a teaspoon of spotting trends could be the secret sauce on top of your main ‘burger.’ It could make everyone want what you got!

Bill Murray isn’t the world’s greatest comedian or actor (some would say he is, though!). But he has combined these talents together and created a clever public personality that has made many ardent fans pay to see his performances. If he just focused on his personal best asset, being a comedian, he might just be a forgotten member of the stand-up circuit or a behind the scenes script writer.

Walt Disney wasn’t the best animator or creative artist in the world. But he was good enough and was quick to add the latest film technology and merchandise marketing to his works. This gave him an edge over the hundreds of other animators that just focused on their art.

Donald Trump isn’t the smartest person in the world (by far), or the best businessman, or even the best public speaker. Yet he took all of his abilities and created a secret sauce that he used to win the presidential election.

You will always hear about how someone started with nothing and became the success they are today. What’s not often told are the numerous failures along the way. The times when they were just combining their different skillsets to see what worked. Sometimes they picked the wrong combination and had to come up with a totally new combo. Sometimes they felt they were pretty close, and slightly tweaked their mix until it became just right.

Richard Branson might have just been a record salesman instead of a business magnate if he only stuck with his best skill of sales. But he added drive, negotiation, charisma, management, and vision to create his multibillion-dollar business empire.

If you feel like you are stuck, try mixing and matching your skills – or learn a new one!

If you see a recipe for success you like but don’t have an ingredient, don’t be afraid to substitute another in its place. That’s how you discover something that has never been done before. It can make your sauce taste horrible too, but at least you learned what DOESN’T work. Try another mix!

The ingredients are everywhere. Being the one to put them together into a delicious secret sauce is a rare treat that will make your personal dish sought after.

The secret secret ingredient? Just like mom’s home cooking, the best sauces are made with love. Love what you do.

This post originally appeared on my steemit blog.

Spongebob picture source.


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  1. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Very true. 🙂 In fact, very few people are the “best” at anything. It’s all about knowing your strengths and pairing them together for maximum awesomeness. 🙂
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…How to score great meat if you don’t know a rancherMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      It’s important to know that everyone can succeed – they just have to persist until they find a combo that works for them! 😀

  2. Tony

    Great article on a great concept! I think the quote “Progress not perfection” is really powerful for this concept as well. You don’t have to be the best or even good at something, within reason, to make progress in the direction of your goals or progress. You simply need to take baby steps in the direction you want to go and be consistent with them.

    I like the part about Richard Branson not being the best record salesman because it pokes at the idea that if he simply took the formula everyone else up to that point may have had, that’s all he would be is a good, or possibly the best record salesman. This is why a person can often not simply copy the template for success from another person. Sure there will be consistent themes between successful people, especially in their ideologies and habits, but the paths they take are often very different in their execution. It’s something you have to kind of tweak yourself, or as you said it ‘make it together into your own secret sauce’. Well put man:).
    Tony recently posted…My $300 kitchen makeover.My Profile

    1. MrDD

      I always tell my friends that little bits over time really add up. Think about small savings – done consistently and for a long time will accumulate into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      I like these quotes from Confucious:

      ”Transport a handful of earth every day and you will make a mountain.”

      ”It doesn’t make a difference how gradually you go so long as you don’t stop.”

      I love to read advice and the stories of other successes. But I don’t blindly follow it. I take what I deem the best advice from hundreds of people and make my own “recipe” out of it. What works for one person might be a great starting point, but I think a person really needs to tailor any advice to their own character. We are all living at least slightly differently than other people, so you need to tweak with it at least.

  3. Mustard Seed Money

    I think a lot of it has to do with a vision and determination. I think those that succeed often are resiliant and are willing to fail. I think those that are the best often times don’t challenge themselves b/c they want to remain the best and not venture outside their area. I heard those that have the highest IQs in the world normally don’t lead organizations or companies. Often times it’s those with just average IQs.

    Anyway great article!!!
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Guest Interview over at Debt DisciplineMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      I heard those that have the highest IQs in the world normally don’t lead organizations or companies. Often times it’s those with just average IQs.

      Or countries!!

      1. Mustard Seed Money

        Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Why CEOs with Daughters Are BetterMy Profile

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