What is the Difference Between Successful and Unsuccessful People?

difference between successful and unsuccessful

John Paul DeJoria, billionaire behind brand names such as Paul Michell hair products and Patron tequila, has a peculiar definition of what a ‘successful’ person is. In a true life ‘rags to riches’ story, DeJoria has proven that hard work can make all the difference.

In a video interview with Business Insider, DeJoria (pictured above, left) reveals a secret which he learned while working at a dry cleaning shop. As it turns out, the difference is simple:

“Successful people do all the things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do.”

While working at the shop, he reveals he was paid a meager $1.25 an hour preforming repetitive and time consuming tasks. “And I was happy,” he laughs. He worked hard and did the jobs that no one else wanted to do. And eventually, the owner of the shop noticed.

According to the interview, the secret is how well you do your job – while no one is watching.

In his ‘spare time’ at work, he would perform small odd jobs around the shop like sweeping or cleaning the shelves. Tasks that he was not directly responsible for.

After noticing the extra work DeJoria was doing around the shop, his boss took him aside and rewarded him with a raise – to $1.50 an hour.

Monetary values aside, the moral of the story remains: Successful people do their jobs above and beyond what’s expected, even when the boss isn’t looking. It’s this drive and mentality that helps to push them to succeed.

Today DeJoria earns much more than $1.50 an hour, raking in more than $1 billion in revenue annually from his many business ventures. Although his start was rough, and he was actually homeless twice before finally making it with his Paul Michell line of hair products, he has proven that the key to success is hard work, determination and perseverance.

Image: PaulMitchell.com


Aubrielle Billig Aubrielle Billig is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers business as it is impacted by pop culture, entrepreneurs in the arts, and other topics affecting creative businesses. She has a background as an illustrator and her design page can be found at AubrielleBillustrations.

4 Reactions
  1. I think it is also a matter of luck and experience. The more experience you have, the more you know and the higher your likelihood to succeed. So don’t be afraid to fail. It is a form of experience after all.

  2. The main difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is their mind and what it can conceive.

    You can only be what you want to be.

    Successful people take risks while unsuccessful people only think about the risk and what failure might result.

    Successful people take action while unsuccessful people procrastinate.

    Successful people go to school, thereafter acquire skills and start their own small companies while unsuccessful people go to school, get first class and wait to get a job with their certificates. etc

  3. I have heard a similar quote from Tiny Robbins to… “successful people do all the things that unsuccessful people won’t”…

    It depends on your boss, but in the past I’ve worked for bosses who would rather watch me die under exhaustion than give me a raise.

    But I 100% agree with the saying. Successful people act, unsuccessful don’t. Successful people use spare time wisely, unsuccessful don’t. Successful people have vision, unsuccessful don’t.

    Unsuccessful people make excuses, successful people don’t

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