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One Trait You May Not Even Know You Need to Get to the Top

You need a high Q-Factor

Rock climber with High Q-Factor
Climb to success with a high Q-Factor

Do You Have the Q-Factor You Need to Be Successful?

One of the most unknown, but most crucial elements of climbing to the top is your Q-Factor. Your Q-Factor consists of intangible, inborn personality traits PLUS your ability to come up with worthwhile, marketable ideas.

What’s Your Q-Factor?

A scientist named Albert-Laszlo Barabasi explains it this way:

A Q-factor is your ability to take an idea and make it successful. In mathematical terms it might look something like this:


It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Lots of people have had great ideas, but they don’t have the skill to propel the idea skyward to success. A fantastic idea without the skill to push it to completion fizzles on the vine. Edsel wasn’t a bad car, but the executives behind it didn’t define its niche audience. Boompa, a site for car-lovers, failed. It was a good idea whose founders admits to a lack of skill in choosing employees, finding office space, doing research, and appropriating funding. Both of these companies illustrate Barabasi’s theory:


Similarly, no matter how skilled a person is, they can’t take a mediocre idea and push it to greatness if it’s a bad idea. Would loyal Coke drinkers want a Coke that tasted like Pepsi? Bad idea. All the skill and all the funding in the world couldn’t push NEW COKE to success. Another bad idea? In 1989, RJ Reynolds spent $325 million dollars on smokeless cigarettes. Nobody bought it. Apparently, if you’re a smoker, you want smoke. Reynolds’ $325 million dollar investment disappeared from store shelves in less than four months.


What Is Skill?

“Skill” includes raw talent or vast knowledge in a field, but it also encompasses intangible traits like the ability to communicate with others or the willingness to keep going in the face of adversity.

Could an introverted, inarticulate person push a great idea to success without the guts or the eloquence to talk to others? Do great ideas pop out fully-formed and ready to go, or are they the product of hundreds of ideas that have been modified and improved upon? If you give up after one failed attempt, will you find a great idea and make it successful? Unlikely.

Success, or S, is the product of r, the potential value of a given idea, and Q, a person’s ability to execute on that idea — i.e., their “Q-factor,” or combination of innate talent and skill, which makes them effective or not in their chosen field.

If you have ideas AND skill, you have a high Q factor.

A high Q-Factor is a huge boost to the top, but that’s not enough. You also need persistence.

Studies have shown that a high Q factor + persistence = long term success.

Man toasting success and high Q-Factor
Toasting to success

The Likeable Liquor of Success

Success is an exotic elixir, a concoction of personality, intelligence, and drive. Blend in a little ingenuity and self-reliance for added skill. Stir in plenty of great ideas. Shake well. Your chances of climbing to the top increase when you raise a glass, boost your Q-Factor, and bolster your persistence.

Toast your future. Drink deep. Buy another round.

Here’s to the intoxicating, “Q-Flavored” taste of your success.


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