Starting a new job can be harder than you think. Richard St. John, helps us remind ourselves about what leads to success by asking successful people how they ended up being what they are today, and after 7 years and 500 interviews, here’s what he broke it down to:


Richard says that these successful people became successful because they did it for love of the job and less for the money. Freeman Thomas, a car designer, told Richard that he is driven to work by his passion. And the best thing about it is, if you do it for love, the money comes in anyway.

For those seeking jobs for the first time, it’s difficult to focus on being passionate and not on the money (yes we are all greedy). But while others are fortunate to pinpoint what exactly they love doing (and get paid anyway), some find that passion only later in life of which they eventually seek a career change. Regardless of which category you’re in, it’s important to know that to be successful, being passionate counts. So if you’re looking for a job now, know what you really want to be doing.


Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Big Cheese, says that “it’s all hard work. Nothing comes easily. But I have a lot of fun.” There is no second guessing that. Unless you have magical powers, work is not going to get done by itself.

Working hard is the best thing you can do when you’re about the start a new job. It may be seen as uncool and “so-not-your-kinda-thing” because it messes with your social life, but seriously, results are not going to come pouring in if you don’t work on it. So the next time someone tells you to chill and stop working so hard, remember your goals and understand that if you’re going do it tomorrow, you’re just making success wait.


A game developer, Alex Garden told Richard “To be successful is to put your nose down in something and get damn good at it.” In agreement, Richard stresses that there’s no magic in it, there’s just practice, practice, practice. Being really good at what you do isn’t something that develops overnight, but is a result of something you trained yourself to do overtime.


There is no point in burning the midnight oil if you’re not focused. Focus is what Norman Jewison, a filmmaker, says that made him successful – “ I think it all has to do with focusing yourself on one thing”.

There is always a place and time to do something. Focusing on what you’re doing at that moment of time can help you understand it better and probably come up with better solution as compared to when you have something else on your mind.


“Push yourself. Physically, Mentally, you gotta PUSH, PUSH, PUSH.” Is what Richard got from David Gallo, a marine scientist. He also had Goldie Hawn, an actress, to admit that everyone should push even through shyness and self doubt when she says, “I always had self doubts. I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t smart enough. I didn’t think I’d make it”. And when all pushing fails, you can always turn to one pushing machine that Frank Gehry, an architect, gets that extra push from – MUMS.


Sherwin Nuland, a professor of Surgery at Yale says “It was a privilege to serve as a doctor”. Serving others is what we all work for to begin with whether it’s developing software, finding a cure or even educating. They all in turn boil down to a single purpose, directly or indirectly, which is to serve others. Richard adds that “You can never serve yourself; you’ve got to serve others something of value, because that’s the way people really get rich”


According to Richard they’re just simple things everyday like listening, observing, asking questions and being curious of which you then are able to make connections and solve problems. Collectively these will help come up with ideas. As simple as that Bill Gates simply says “I had an idea – founding the first software company”.


The Co-founder of Excite, Joe Kraus says “Persistence is the number one reason for our success”. They continuously persisted even through failure and C-R-A-P, and that’s what helped them stay on top, C-R-A-P meaning Criticism, Rejection, *ssholes and Pressure. All of which everyone faces on their way to success.



Posted by Derek Toh

Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB.CO. He was part of the pioneer batch for the Stanford-MaGIC Entrepreneurship Program, and is also a mentor for McKinsey & Company's Youth Leadership Academy. Derek is on a mission to revolutionise work culture in Asia. He cares about initiatives that improve education and the talent market. Derek is also a big fan of superhero movies, and has been told that he drinks too much coffee during the day.