We're working on our new website. Share us your thoughts and ideas

Follow steps to success

On a relatively normal day — Wednesday, January 15, 2009, to be specific — with temperatures hovering at about 26-degrees Fahrenheit, U.S. Airways Flight 1549 departed from La Guardia Airport in New York City heading northwest en route to Charlotte, N.C. Three minutes into the flight, a large flock of Canadian geese flew into the Airbus' engines, resulting in immediate loss of thrust from both engines. Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger became a worldwide sensation after landing the Airbus A320 almost seamlessly into the Hudson River, saving all 155 passengers on board.

The iconic image of the "Miracle on the Hudson" flashed across several news programs and read in the headlines of dozens of newspapers. President George W. Bush called to congratulate Capt. Sullenberger personally, then President-elect Barack Obama invited him to his inauguration, and Capt. Sullenberger was given a $3 million book deal. How were Capt. Sullenberger and his crew so successful in landing a 46-ton aircraft in a river? For that matter, how did a crummy high school band playing in Hamburg, Germany start the British Invasion and become The Beatles as we know them today? Finally, did the infamous gangster Al Capone really think he was serving the public good by running a prostitution ring? This is an article meant to help you form a small habit that can have tremendous results and open your mind to what creates success. In short, this is a small step forward in your quest for success.

Make a Checklist: "Why write things down?" riddled part-time lecturer Kenneth Genco in my first-year "Introduction to Business." "So you don't have to remember them anymore, you can simply forget about it," he said. Since then, my greatest investment in my college career has been yellow Post-It notes. I carry them in my backpack, have dozens of packs in my room and even a stash at home. The night before, I write a to-do list for the next day and revise the list throughout the day. I have a separate Post-It taped to my wall for each day of the week, listing assignments one-by-one that need to be completed for each class that day. The point is to start writing your priorities down and thus have somewhat of an action plan for your future.

A checklist was one of the integral components Capt. Sullenberger used in saving the lives of his 155 passengers and crew. Pilots turn to their checklists because they are trained to do so, according to Atul Gawande, author of "The Checklist Manifesto." "They learn from the beginning of flight school that their memory and judgment are unreliable and that lives depend [on it]," he said.

The 10,000 Hour-Rule: "Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness," said Malcolm Gladwell in his book "Outliers." This is the amount of time that a person needs to put in to become an expert in his or her chosen field — roughly equaling about 10 years. Capt. Sullenberger was a former air force pilot and had 20,000 hours of flight experience before he landed in the Hudson River, Gawande said.

The Beatles started off as a struggling rock band before they were invited to play in a strip club called Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany. They played non-stop for more than eight hours a day, seven days a week. By the time they had their first burst of success, they had performed about 1,200 times, Gladwell said.

It is obvious, that if you want to be good at something, you have to keep practicing to get better. But many students — including myself — think that they can ace an exam by cramming the night before or write a Pulitzer Prize-winning essay under pressure, two hours before the deadline. It is impractical and nearly impossible to spend 10,000 hours in a semester studying for a class, but to do well, you should be devoting a reasonable amount of time each week to it. Focus on your goals and spend as much time as you can to perfecting your skills in that area.

Be a People Person: The most important lesson I have learned so far is that to be successful in a world full of people, you have to be good with people. I truly enjoy studying people and the interactions we have with one another. One of the most advanced skills you can have is to learn to quickly and accurately assess a person's personality and temperament. But to assess a person accurately, you need to spend time with that person and see the world through their perspective.

Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was an infamous gangster who engaged in a multitude of illegal activities. But Capone thought he was a public benefactor, according to Dale Carnegie, author of "How to Win Friends and Influence People." "I have spent the best years of my life giving people the lighter pleasures, helping them have a good time and all I get is abuse, the existence of a hunted man," said Capone. This example of Capone demonstrates that every single person has a different understanding of things than you do. To be successful, you must keep an open mind and have a diverse outlook on the world and its people.


Amit Jani is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies and political science. His column, "The Fourth Estate," runs on alternate Wednesdays.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Targum.

Support Independent Student Journalism

Your donation helps support independent student journalists of all backgrounds research and cover issues that are important to the entire Rutgers community. All donations are tax deductible.