Psychologists and sociologists are always trying to find similarities between the behaviour and attributes of successful individuals in the hopes of uncovering the ultimate secrets for success.

In his new bestselling book, Originals, Adam Grant aims to explore what makes certain people original, unique and stand out in history. It is a captivating book that should be read by every entrepreneur, artist or anyone who wants a successful career.

One of the theories in Grant’s book is that successful people don’t necessarily do better work, they simply do more work. He argues that most successful people do lots of things in the hopes that something hits the jackpot.

Think of Thomas Edison, for example. Edison is known for a handful of incredible inventions, like the light bulb, phonograph, motion pictures and a few more. While only a limited amount of his inventions actually went on to change the world, he patented a total of 1093 inventions.

It is important to note that this is not the same as saying that successful people simply keep on trying until they get their big break and then everything they touch turns to gold. Most successful people basically have a large portfolio of unsuccessful attempts with a few prominent success stories in between.

In 2010, Sandra Bullock won (and accepted) the Worst Actress Razzie award for her role in All About Steve, and the very next day she won the Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side. Below we have listed more examples that demonstrate that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the princes among them.

1. Shakespeare

Most people are familiar with some of Shakespeare’s work. But, did you know that in total Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets? During the same 5-year period that he wrote some of his most famous works like Macbeth, King Lear and Othello, he also wrote what critics call his worst; Timon of Athens and All’s Well That Ends Well.

2. Mozart

When the London Philharmonic Orchestra compiled a list of the greatest pieces of classical music ever created, the list included 6 pieces by Mozart. There are about 10 or so pieces by Mozart that are the most popular among theatres across the world. But, during his short career, Mozart composed over 600 pieces of work.

3. Beethoven

Similar to Mozart, Beethoven had 5 pieces mentioned in the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s list of greatest classical music pieces. Over the span of his career, however, he wrote over 650 pieces of music.

4. Bach

Bach had 3 pieces that made the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s list but he wrote over a thousand pieces during his career.

5. Picasso

How many pieces of Picasso’s art will you be able to recognise? Well, his portfolio included 1 800 paintings, 1 200 sculptures, 2 800 ceramics and 12 000 drawings.

6. Maya Angelou

Angelou had numerous successful pieces, like her poems On the Pulse of Morning and Still I Rise, but these are just a part of a collection of 166 poems. Her critically acclaimed autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was also one of 7 she wrote.

7. Albert Einstein

Einstein’s work greatly transformed the world of physics, but many of the 248 papers he published had very little impact.

You can find even more mind-blowing theories on success and creativity in Adam Grant’s bestselling book, Originals.

About The Author

Enrique Grobbelaar

Enrique is the eternal entrepreneur: his first venture was selling off his parents’ household goods at bargain prices to their neighbours at age seven. All other endeavours thus far have been entirely above board.

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