FROM my experience as a CEO, I can tell you that CVs are poor predictors of success in life. I don’t believe in fancy degrees or paper credentials. Over the course of my career, I have met many people (with the most outstanding degrees and/or world-class Fortune 500 experience) who are idiots in life.
I have also met many people (without any education or any world-class Fortune 500 experience) who are superstars in life.
(Of course, I have met people from all parts of the spectrum, including superstars with all of the right degrees and idiots without any degrees).
My point is that we should never judge a book by its cover. Someone with a degree from Harvard or MIT (or from any top school) is not necessarily smart.
They may be good test takers and thrive in academic environments, but those skills do not necessarily translate into real-life success.
The reverse is also true. Someone with only a diploma (or a degree from a lower-tier school) is not stupid. They may not succeed in theoretical academic work, but they more than thrive in real life, common sense work. There are many types of intelligence, rates of maturity and reasons of circumstance.
To be clear, a CV is very useful to understand what skills and experience a candidate has. It sheds some light on the past but it is not a good predictor of the future.
You see, a CV fails to capture fully the most important things in life such as integrity, resilience, hunger, character, intellectual horsepower, emotional intelligence, street hustle, humility, empathy, passion, work ethic, and many other things that are essential for success.
Ultimately, our greatness does not show up on a piece of paper. It shows up in our pivotal choices in life and the stories behind them. I want to hear about the time you got bullied, and what you did.
I want to hear about the time you cried because you fought for a dream or a belief. I want to hear about the time you failed miserably and what you learned. I want to hear about how far you travelled in life on nothing, but integrity, grit, courage, and hard work.
I want to know about the circumstances in which your life unfolded in the best and worst of times – and how you reacted and what you did.
For me, a rockstar is someone who wants to achieve the extraordinary, someone who is ready to climb the biggest mountains to unleash his/her potential, someone who lives to defy odds, someone who is willing to make the toughest sacrifices for a dream, someone who dares to be an original.
You see, the world does not need more mindless sheep who chase after social status, material things, paper credentials and other meaningless stuff. No, the world needs more original souls who are alive – truly alive – with passion and grit to help make this world a better place.
We all know people who complain about how unfair the world is, whine about how someone wronged them, cry about how unlucky they are, talk incessantly about how they deserve something, or gripe about how their problems are someone else’s fault. They blame everyone for their unhappiness and misgivings, but themselves.
Quite frankly, I have very little patience for self-pity, especially if you are an adult. Everyone has problems. And the reality is that we are all the root cause of our problems.
If you examine all of your problems closely enough, you will see that you are the root cause of your problems. The bad news is that you are the problem, but the good news is that you are also the solution.
The worst poison for the soul is the disease of entitlement. It destroys any hope for happiness. It nurtures the illusion of unfairness. It feeds the toxic emotions of jealousy, hatred, envy, or self-pity. The truth is that none of us are entitled to anything in life.
The world owes us nothing. We deserve nothing. The world will go on with or without us. We can only control our own actions. Everything else happens with or without our consent.
And that is precisely why we should all count our blessings in life, no matter what our situation is. The reality is that all of our situations could be far worse than what they are today.
Luckily, there is an antidote to the poison of entitlement. It is called gratitude. I really believe it is one of the greatest secrets to happiness and success in life. When we genuinely feel lucky and blessed for everything in our lives, happiness becomes the essence of everything we do.
Happiness begets happiness. Positive energy attracts positive energy. When you spend your positive energy on finding solutions to your problems (instead of expending negative energy on blaming others for your problems), the world will open its doors.
Everything begins and ends with what is in our souls.
Chatri Sityodtong is the founder and group CEO of ONE Championship. He is a former New York-based hedge fund manager with over 30 years of martial arts experience as a fighter and coach. The views expressed are entirely his own.