Hard work is essential or, at least, very important in determining the success of a person, a project, or a corporation. This truism is obvious. However, anyone who believes that hard work is the only factor for success is making a serious mistake. Without a doubt, perseverance and constant work are indispensable elements to reach the goal. It is so unfortunate that we have come to think of hardwood as the only necessary ingredient for the recipe of long-term success. In fact, more ingredients are needed. Some of the factors that make up success are out of our control and others are directly tied to our decision-making.

The factors that go beyond the domain of our control are socioeconomic variables, such as having been born in the country in which you reside or having well-educated or uneducated parents, as well as individual characteristics, such as ethnicity, gender, or religion, are considered material in the keys that lead us on the path to success.

Circumstances that are beyond a person's control are just as important, if not more important, to get ahead in life than those that lie within the sphere of our decision-making. Conditions that escape people's direct intervention are perceived as more important in shaping both positive and negative outcomes. These characteristics are beyond our control and must be observed and understood in how they work. Success is a factor that is beyond our powers and is directly related to the inequalities that exist in the society. Both governments and the private sector have key responsibilities in reducing inequality.

When it comes to reducing economic inequality, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization whose mission is to design better policies for a better life for the citizens of the world. In an OECD survey, around seven out of ten respondents support multi-stakeholder engagement, and more than half of respondents believe that both public and private actors have a key role to play in reducing inequality. Even though people have different preferences about how to reduce inequality, the ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Of course, policies such as an increase in minimum wages in our region, equal access to education, an efficient tax collection policy, and zero tolerance for corruption are initiatives that are found in the environment and that everyone personally may have opinions and do little. But, in terms of success, it is essential to know and understand them to know how to move forward in life.

Analysis of the OECD survey reveals that respondents strongly support policy measures that focus on young people and future generations as well as vulnerable workers, support options to improve equal access to education and strengthen the minimum wage. The results also show genuine concern about the ageing of the world's population. All this is data that points us to problems in the environment that are waiting for a solution and, if we pay attention, perhaps, we can offer it.

Businesses are started with one purpose: to generate profits. To achieve this, we need to detect an unmet need and be in the right place at the right time to offer that solution. Be careful, I'm not talking about having good luck. Understanding people's beliefs about how equal opportunities should be achieved is key to designing policies, projects, and solutions that garner public support.

To do this, generating successful projects requires learning more in our policy ideas series that investigates public preferences for policies and actions aimed at reducing inequality and improving opportunities for all. That's a good step on the road to success. In the ten years since the OECD published its Official Guidelines on the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being, the inclusion of evaluative, affective and eudaimonic indicators of well-being in national measurement and household surveys has grown.

The efforts of OECD Member States reveal that life satisfaction data are largely harmonized. The practice of measuring effect and eudaimonia continues in order to meet these needs and fill the gaps identified in international orientation in the coming years. This reveals opportunities for us. The OECD Centre for Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunities is developing a new and expanded version of the Guidelines for Measuring Subjective Well-Being. To kick-start this effort and shape the policy and measurement agenda, we need to be vigilant and discuss issues for future OECD measurement recommendations.

The development of guidance on subjective indicators of child well-being and the introduction of more inclusive approaches at the global level should include the perspectives of indigenous communities, minority groups, and different cultural traditions prevalent in the OECD countries. This can be translated into a possibility that is open to all, including the media, civil society, policymakers, academics, statisticians, and others interested in this important agenda. It is in these tendencies that the chances of success can be detected in advance, which we can discover before others.

When it comes to successful projects, there's a popular and very true saying: He who hits first, hits twice. Hard work will be necessary, there is no doubt and no escape. But there are precedents that we have to be aware of:

  • A better understanding of domain satisfaction: validity and use of policies.
  • Satisfaction indicators that indicate the extent to which people are satisfied with various aspects of their lives: their jobs, their family life, and the way they spend their time, among other concepts.

Incredibly, these indicators have not received as much attention as other measures of subjective well-being. Therefore, if we are interested in this area, we will be one step ahead. Satisfaction measures highlight gaps in the evidence base that could be filled in with future research discuss useful policy applications of these data and steer our paths in the direction of successful projects. In short, it's not just hard work, it's sagacity, care, attention to the environment, understanding and then: hard work.