One of my favorite websites is the humor site Cracked which may surprise you since they are the website spun off of a girlie skin magazine but, what can I say, they amuse me even if I’m not their intended demographic.

That said, I wanted to take this one little piece of a recent post, The 10 Most Important Things They Didn’t Teach You In School, and do a blog post around this one quote:

All of those successful people you see around town, with their convertibles and huge televisions? Approximately 100 percent of them got where they are because they had three things. All three are absolutely essential, but one of them is almost never mentioned. They are:

* Talent
* Hard Work
* Randomly Meeting the Right People and Not Pissing Them Off

If you read my post What advice would I give to an entrepreneur that is just starting a new business? then this post may seem to fit under #2 (Be a nice person (aka don’t be a jerk).). But I want to take this a little further.

There is an element of luck to any success story. No matter how much you feel that you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps all by yourself, you can’t deny that someone, somewhere along the way helped you out. No one is an island and people help us every day in small ways that often have big consequences. There is nothing wrong with that. It is a natural part of being successful and other people play a part in every success story, no matter how some people play that element down.

But, it stands to reason, the more people you know and are friendly with, the more chances for you to have that luck and to meet those people that can help you succeed. So, as I said before, don’t be a jerk. When you meet people, regardless of whether they have “the right person to help your career” tattooed on their chest or not, be nice to them. If you meet the right person but totally turn them off by picking a fight with them or otherwise being a jerk, then they aren’t going to be of help to you.

Let’s look at another quote:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” -Thomas A. Edison

We all know about hard work, right? But let’s mutate Edison’s quote a little.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed just like another person and doesn’t immediately look like a good contact.” -Hillary DePiano

The people who are going to help you the most in your life aren’t going to be wearing a big neon sign that says so. It’s not going to be apparent from a glance that they are that dream contact you’ve been waiting your whole life for.

Maybe you scoff that it’s too hippie to say, “Be nice to everyone.” Then let me rephrase it. Even if you have no moral sense of why you should be nice to other people, look at it this way: Every person you tell off, insult, anger or otherwise are a jerk to is someone that may have been able to help you towards success. You aren’t going to know beforehand who these people are. You aren’t even going to know after-wards that you missed your big chance. So operate under the assumption that everyone is a potential help to you in some way and that everyone has something to contribute that will help you.

Is it a selfish reason to be nice to other people? Yes, somewhat. But if the impetus is selfish but the end is good, I’m OK with that.

The point is, there is an element of luck to any success story. Don’t let your attitude and prejudices towards other people close yourself off from that luck and opportunity.

Was there a lucky meeting that helped you (or a friend) realize success? Share it with us below.