Chamath Palihapitiya’s Secret to Success

Chamath Palihapitiya’s Secret to Success

Chamath Palihapitiya’s story sounds like it was taken out of a fairy tale, but it is very much true. He was born in Sri Lanka and fled with his family to Canada at the age of 6. Palihapitiya’s childhood was marked by deep, unrelenting poverty.

His father was unemployed most of the time while his mother held low-paying jobs in housekeeping. For a period, the family relied on government assistance, and Palihapitiya worked at a Burger King to make ends meet. Despite this, he was able to earn a degree in electrical engineering and go one to become one of the most successful leaders in business and tech.

His Climb to the Top

Palihapitiya first worked AOL , eventually becoming a group leader for the then-popular AIM chat tool. He quickly proved his skill and ability to drive innovation, and soon, he became the youngest Vice President in AOL’s history.

Soon he was picked away by the Mayfield Group Venture Capital Fund, and just a few years later, he found himself working in a senior-level role at Facebook. At Facebook he took the company from startup to a profitable enterprise. By the time Chamath left in 2011, the platform was well on its way to becoming the tech giant it is now.

Photo by Martin Schoeller/TIME

Apart from business Palihapitiya made a name for himself in a number of unusual ways including his remarkable skill at poker where he’s competed in the 42nd and 43rd Annual World Series of Poker, finishing 101st out of a total 6,865 participants.

Chamath’s Golden Rule

Through his career, Chamath has been able to pull away one overarchiing lesson which he says will determine anyone’s career and quality of life. The lesson is this:

Consistent representation of self through any situation will dictate your life.

We as humans all have a bug, some people’s bug is smaller while others is bigger. Some will deal with it their entire life, but some will learn to conquer it.

Accordingly, we all have a mental image of ourselves and when we go about the day, interactions may tilt this perception and causes conflict. These interactions may be a long work day filled with meetings which leave us feeling drained or a hateful comment from an internet troll which puts your opinion into question.

These interactions may challenge your inner world view and create a feeling of frustration from within. When you feel this feeling of inconsistency within, it can result in crazy behavior such has rash business trades and hasty communication.

Let me repeat:

Consistent representation of self through any situation will dictate your life.

If you figure out how to maintain your positive self image as you go about life you will crush it. If you fail to remain calm and centered, you will constantly be frustrated and feel like you need to lash out.


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