The Common Denominator of Success

As I was finishing up the miniature edition of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey this morning (I just needed some quick inspiration), I came across a very thought provoking quote summing up Albert E.N. Gray’s years of studying successful people. It goes as follows:

“All successful people have the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do. They [successful people] don’t like doing them necessarily either. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.”

After reading this I felt inclined to google Albert E.N. Gray. The first result that appeared was a PDF link to a 6 page article of his entitled, “The Common Denominator of Success.” After reading this article, it really helped me to gain more of an understanding as to what truly separates those who succeed from those who do not. Here’s a quick hint, not only do successful people do the things that “unsuccessful” people do not like to do, successful people also have a purpose strong enough to make them form the habit of doing things they don’t like in an effort to accomplish the purpose they are looking to achieve. Wow! This is timeless knowledge from 1940!

[Disclaimer]: I personally believe that “success” is relative to the beholder of it’s title. Hence, whenever the term “failure” or “unsuccessful” is mentioned, it is not to demean or patronize anyone who may take offense. Our purpose here at is to publish purposeful and thought-provoking content with the aim to enlighten and inspire our readers.


Here are 4 main points that I extracted from Albert E.N. Gray’s 6 page article that were most relevant to myself. Hopefully we can all benefit from this in some capacity!

1. Embrace What’s Difficult:

The secret of success lies in forming the habit of doing things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do. The things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do are the very things that you and I and other human beings naturally don’t like to do. In other words, we’ve got to realize right from the start that success is something which is achieved by the minority. Therefore, it is unnatural and not to be achieved by following our natural likes and dislikes nor by being guided by our natural preferences and prejudices.

2. Focus On Accomplishing Results: 

By doing the things we don’t like to do, we can accomplish the things we want to accomplish. For example, successful people are influenced by the desire for pleasing results. Unsuccessful people are influenced by the desire for pleasing methods and are satisfied with the results obtained by doing things they like to do. Why are successful people able to do things they don’t like to do while unsuccessful people are not? Because successful people have a purpose strong enough to make them form the habit of doing things they don’t like to do in order to accomplish the purpose they want to accomplish. In other words, it’s important that we find our why. Our why is our purpose. As comedian, Michael Jr. once said, “When we know our why, our what has more impact because we’re walking in or towards our purpose.”

3. Have a Growth Adaptability Mindset:

It is easier to adjust ourselves to the hardships of a poor living than it is to adjust ourselves to the hardships of making a better one. Think of all the things we are willing to go without in order to avoid doing the things we don’t like to do. All of which seems to prove that the strength which holds us to our purpose is not our own strength but the strength of our purpose itself.

4. Form Purposeful Habits:

Every single qualification for success is acquired through habit. People form habits and habits form futures. If we do not deliberately form good habits, then unconsciously we will form bad ones. We are the kind of people we are because we have formed the habit of being that kind of person. The only way we can change is through habit. Behind every success there must be a purpose and this is what makes purpose so important to our future. It is important that we do not allow our future to solely depend on circumstances in which we have no control. Rather, our future should depend on our purpose in life.


(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

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