Adrian Gore – The attributes of success

August 5, 2012
3 min read

I attended a talk given by Adrian Gore, Discovery Holdings CEO and founder, held at GIBS this last week. His talk focused on the commonalities of the attributes he feels are constituents of success. His measure of “success” doesn’t purely focus on the amassing of wealth for an individual, but can be applied to a company, a nation, or to an individual – to add such value to humanity that monetary reward will almost always play a part.

Gore proposes that success is not correlated to behaviours but rather to attitudes and characteristics, and the seven of these he discusses are as follows in some brief notes that were jotted down:

1.  Positivity

  • positivity actually makes you more rational
  • decisions couched in positivity have a far better impact, no matter the outcome
  • is the fundamental fuel for success
  • by correctly framing issues in your mind one tends to perpetuate the way things work out
  • The South African standard of living index does not support our implicit national negativity , however exceeding that of every other BRIC country

2. Set dreams and goals

  • set your own dreams and goals – but stretch yourself to aiming high with these
  • these are typically not about rationality, for even if you fail you’ll have gone further than if you hadn’t dreamed
  • vision helps you to look towards the future and these dreams

3. Sense of urgency – time is limited

  • depression stops people setting goals and acts to protect against dreams and vision, a phenomenon which has therefore survived evolution
  • we all have greatness within us, but believe that we haven’t used it up just yet. You need to be frantic about being great.
  • it is an irrational human condition that we think that we have endless time. ┬áTime is not linear…when you’re younger, each year is perceived to be longer because it’s a larger percentage of the life you’ve lived
  • one’s energy levels drift lower each year, so start leaving a legacy when you’re young
  • one cannot sit around and wait for things to happen

4. Never stop learning

  • learn more about yourself; learn about your true potential
  • don’t be arrogant…you will never be at your pinnacle
  • ask the stupid, simple questions
  • knowledge is the antidote to years lived, and the ability to acquire of knowledge is exponential – the more knowledge you have the quicker it is to get more
  • leaving a legacy is a function of time and knowledge

5. Persistence – you can work harder than you think you can

  • if you’re not going to take the initiate to work towards greatness with all your might, someone else will
  • Tim Noakes’ governor rule – fatigue is less about physical tiredness than it is about the governor in your head.
  • incremental improvement is always possible

6. Innovation – no longer just a nice to have but a requirement

  • success is a differentiating from the mean, thus one must be innovative
  • starts with the end in mind
  • if Apple was built here the SA GDP per capita would be 25% higher
  • innovation created CDOs and the global crisis

7. Integrity and honesty

  • success in one’s personal and career life and the work involved to get there isn’t worth squandering through lack of integrity

Quite amazing insights, and certainly attributes well within the grasp and realisation of every man.

So I guess this begs the question – what are we waiting for?



Interesting insights. Under “Positivity”, you noted the following:

“The South African standard of living index does not support our implicit national negativity , however exceeding that of every other BRIC country”

Were there any reasons put forward as to why this is so?

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