Everyone wants to succeed in life, but few have the code for it. What’s your plan to start? Where do you go from there? Where should you settle? Just as programming a software, it comprises the entire set of programs, procedures, and routines associated with the operation of a computer system — in this case, you.

Starting from the basics, we have education. Education has changed significantly over the course of the last few years. What was once required is no more. With the introduction of open source policy, information has become more available to anyone. In other words, you can learn anything you want from the internet. Even many universities are fully aware of this. They have shifted their focus on some careers as they now only provide the “university experience” while relying on the internet in order to teach certain stuff. Universities are in no way the key to success, but they do offer many skills that can only be acquired with a great level of dedication, discipline, and commitment.

Elon Musk himself, the business magnate, industrial designer, and engineer has said “You can learn anything you want for free. The main value of college is to be found in proving discipline by completing annoying homework assignments and in hanging around with people of the same age before entering the workforce. I think college is basically for fun and to prove that you can do your chores, but they’re not for learning.” Musk even said he hopes to make sure his electric car company, Tesla, does not have university requirements for jobs since according to him that is “absurd”. He said that the main requirement for employment at his companies is “exceptional ability”. “I don’t consider going to college evidence of exceptional ability,” Musk said, “In fact, ideally you dropped out.” Dropping out or skipping college does not limit your future success.

If you decide to not attend a university, then what should you do next? Learning without the help of a university does not mean that you should learn by yourself. Companies are now offering what they call “apprenticeships” where you are provided a space to learn with the benefits of an employee, including a payment. This method has been done for about more than 100 years and has proven to be effective. It commonly has the objective of creating employees with specialized knowledge while also encouraging them to work for their company. If you decide to freelance and do not want any commitment with a company then there are many other options available to you depending on the career of your interest. For example, careers such as computer science, require just a couple of courses for you to be ready to start working. As computer science, there are other similar careers that allow you to work while still learning. For some, you may never know all there is and you will have the need of continuing to educate yourself in new topics that come your way.

Now that you have the basic knowledge needed in order to work, how should you do so? I truly believe in the idea that there is no need to work hard in order to succeed. Instead, you should work smart. Keneth Larson, a retired aerospace contracts manager once said “Hard work may not be productive — just hard and endless. Smart work is hard work applied productively by preplanned, careful determination of the best course by which to proceed before launching the effort.” Renjit Ebroo states that “Hard work is when we keep repeating the same old things in order to make a difference in the results. Smart work is being able to discover and correct mistakes and keep working at the resulting things in order to make a difference in the results.”

Maintaining success can be hard, but what is fundamental is to keep the mindset that you have obtained as well as the techniques that work for you. At the end of the day there are only five keys to success; determination, skill, passion, discipline, and luck. As Gerald Lombardo stated, “Determination is necessary but, like each of the 5 keys, not sufficient for success. Skill goes hand in hand with determination. You can not become really skilled at anything difficult without putting in a lot of time and effort… To practice something, unabated, day in and day out for the years or decades necessary to reach 10,000 hours is impossible unless you’re passionate about the thing you’re practicing… You won’t always be in the mood. But you can not let that stop you. You must not wait for the lightning of inspiration to strike for, if you do, you’ll waste your life staring up at the sky. Last but not least, you need luck. It doesn’t matter which super-successful person you talk to, they will all agree, that you must have some degree of luck to reach the greatest heights of success.” By remembering these five keys and implementing them to your life, success will come easy to you. Is all about practicing them with consistency.

(This article was taken from the Innovation Academy Magazine written by Sara Cortés)