The common denominator among recipes for success



Wealth and success usually go hand in hand, and there is no denying that many aspire for both. Just a simple Google search using the keywords ‘how to be rich’ and ‘how to be successful’ yield 633 million and 725 million results, respectively (as of May 30, 2016).

The results usually come with the same advice: working hard, being in luck, and maximizing your skills. Are these a sure recipe for success?

Last Saturday was iCON 2016, an investment conference featuring experts in the fields of finance and entrepreneurship. This is the kind of event you should go to if you want the recipe for success. Events like iCON2016give you access to speakers who have built businesses and led corporations spanning a variety of industries, from the financial services to agriculture.

The iCON2016 speakers espoused the following habits: working hard, being in luck, and maximizing one’s skills. So do these really make the recipe for success?

Hard work

It was unanimous—that hard work is an ingredient for success. Paulo Tibig, the Philippines’ #EntrepChamp and president and CEO of VcargoWorldWide, gave the audience a wake-up call—if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, it’s time to say ‘goodbye’ to your weekends. If you want to become wealthy and successful by starting your own business, you need to put in the time. However, hard work isn’t enough. Rex Mendoza, founder and managing director of Rampver Financials, shared a quote from George Monbiot. He said, “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.” Hard work, definitely, is an ingredient for success but it isn’t the only one.


Is it about being at the right place at the right time? Is it akin to, according to best-selling author and stock market investor Marvin Germo, finding a stock that has just broken its downtrend to start its upward movement and give you a return? Luck plays a part, but sometimes, you have to find and make your own luck. When it comes to investment, be it stocks or real estate, you may have lucked out on a prime property or timing a stock, but picking that lot out or choosing stock A over others is a result of research and education. You made your own luck.

In the sphere of business and entrepreneurship, Dodong Cacanando, the owner of Moriah Farms Inc. and HA-Moriyah Inc., experienced this firsthand. He didn’t find his luck in the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila. He found and made his luck in the fields of Bukidnon where he started his agri-business. Today, his business is a hog grower for Monterey Foods Corporation, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation.


Another common ingredient for success would be skill and talent. While Paulo Tibig promotes the idea of turning your weaknesses into strengths, Rex Mendoza believes in playing to your strengths. Why waste time honing your weaknesses if you can use it to maximize your strengths, which already is a surefire way? Mendoza, who also used to be the president and CEO of Philam Life and the chairman of Ayala Land International Sales, advises that if you want to obtain success and wealth, you have to optimize and maximize what you already have. More than that, once you have reached that level of success and wealth, it’s essential to share your bounty with others.

Hard work, luck, and skill—once you have all three, are you on the path to success?

The common denominator

The truth is, there is no singular recipe for success.

Each individual is different. What applies to you may not apply to others. However, there is one common denominator that stood out in iCON 2016—having the right mindset. Hard work will follow, you will find your own luck, and you will use your skills and talent if you have the right mindset. On the other hand, having the wrong mindset will result in lethargy and apathy in attaining wealth and success.

So what is the right mindset?

That depends on what your goals are. As financial planner Randell Tiongson said, your goals will direct and steer your financial decisions. If your goal is to become a millionaire by a certain age, then you need to align your mindset with your goals. This means saving and investing, instead of spending. If your goal is to start your own business, you need to have the kind of questioning mindset that continuously looks for opportunities and innovations. Your mindset is shaped by your goals, and having the right one is the first step in the journey to success and wealth.

Bea Bongat writes about personal finance at is a financial comparison website aiming to help Filipinos save money through diligent comparison of financial products.


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