Nowadays, ambitious individuals looking for success often consult statistical studies to determine their future in the work force. For example, students my research articles on the internet to find out what professions would give them a year-to-year increase in income to determine what they want to major in. Of course, statistics can be helpful. But, do they help you to be successful?

In general, the answer depends on what you mean by success. If you are looking for a steady increase in salary, statistical studies may point you in the right direction. However, they do not ensure personal success. Why not? Do you remember what people tell nervous flyers? Statistically, air travel is the safest method of transportation. Air travel has the lowest record of accidents occurring. It is true. So, why is this argument incapable of easing the nervous traveler’s mind? Have you ever watched the Mayday show on television? Although accidents are rare, they do happen. Basically, statistics tell you that they are rare, but they do not guarantee that your airplane will not fall within the rarity of accidents happening. You may just be on one of those airplanes that will never reach its destination. Since accidents do happen, somebody has to be on one of those airplanes, too. And, it could be you. After all, why does everyone think that it is always other people who get hurt or die? Does this analysis seem dark? Well, it is not meant to be. The point is that statistics may point you in the right direction, based on the numbers that show you where most of the candidates entering a particular profession have success, but they do not guarantee that you will be one of them.

As sinister as this idea may sound, it also works vice versa. You may enter a profession where chances are less for you to succeed; but, you may shine, nevertheless. Jim Carry, the actor, is famous for this argument. Despite the fact that his father was a great musician, he ended up losing his job. The family lived in their vehicle for a while. Jim Carry grew up understanding that it can happen to anybody. Hence, he entered the risky profession of acting where, statistically speaking, few people ever made it on the big stage. At the end, he was one of them.

This is the reason writers should not be discouraged either. Statistically, most writers do not make it on the market. The Guardian reports that most independent writers make less than $500 per year in average from their writings. However, statistics do not tell you how you, personally, are going to do. If you give up writing because statistics tell you that most authors are unsuccessful, you will not have a chance, at all. You cannot be successful, if you do not write. Hence, you are better off not worrying about statistics.

Basically, being successful goes beyond average statistics. You can be successful on any field. The secret lies within your passion and dedication. So, instead of worrying about statistics, you need to ask yourself what you love and really want to do in this life, willing to commit endless hours to it. Following your heart will bring you much better results than worrying about the statistics of success.

M. J. Mandoki