Sliding Doors Success

August 1, 2012  

This is the 2nd in a series of articles on different paths to success…

In the movie “Sliding Doors,” Gwyneth Paltrow runs to catch a train.  If she misses it, she will miss an important meeting.

The movie continues down two different paths:

  1. She just makes the train and attends her meeting.
  2. The doors close just as she approaches, she misses the train, and loses her job.

The movie plays out those two parallel lives and shows what happens as a result of a split second different in timing. As you can imagine, her life progressed in significantly differently ways.

This movie illustrates one “path” to success: The Sliding Doors Success model.

Sometimes success is built on goal-setting and hard work.  And sometimes, it involves a bit of luck.

In 1980, IBM was planning on using a DOS operating system on their PCs developed by Gary Kildall.  But according to (a story I have heard many times)…

IBM tried to contact Gary Kildall for a meeting, executives met with Mrs Kildall who refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement. IBM soon returned to Bill Gates and gave Microsoft the contract to write a new operating system, one that would eventually wipe Gary Kildall’s CP/M out of common use.

Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, may not have created his empire had the Kildalls been more cooperative.

One relatively small event created a major turn of events.

But as we learned in “Sliding Doors,” when Gwyneth missed the train and lost her job, things did not necessarily turn out for the worse.

The reality is, for most people, there are many “sliding door” moments.  Lucky people create more of those moments.  If one does not go the way you want, there are others down the line.

Of course Bill Gates didn’t JUST get lucky.  He did a lot of work that created the opportunity to have his operating system on all personal computers.  And he had prior meetings with IBM about creating a BASIC computer programming language for PCs.  All of these opened the doors for opportunity to emerge.

One approach to success is creating many sliding door moments, and then knowing how to leverage those opportunities when they emerge.

Over the coming months, I will explore – in addition to innovation – different paths to success.  I will investigate (with several researchers):

  • why some people are “luckier” than others (and how you can create luck for yourself)
  • how “leverage” plays a role in success (and how you can replicate these concepts)
  • how “laziness” can be the mother of innovation (and how it can free you up)
  • how you can do A LOT more with MUCH LESS effort (a 4 hours work week will seem like too much work)
  • …and many more related concepts
Individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses of any size can all benefit from learning these concepts.  Stay tuned.

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2 Responses to “Sliding Doors Success”

  1. Sliding Doors Failure | Business Innovation Speaker and Consultant Stephen Shapiro on August 10th, 2012 10:59 am

    [...] an earlier article, I discussed the Sliding Doors Success [...]

  2. Never Trust An Expert | Business Innovation Speaker and Consultant Stephen Shapiro on August 13th, 2012 7:01 am

    [...] in the right place at the right time has launched many businesses, including Microsoft (see my Sliding Doors Success [...]