Scott Adams & His 8 Steps to Success

8 Steps To Help You Succeed According To Scott Adams

Scott Adams, creator of the popular comic strip Dilbert, author, and social commentator, gives some of the most unique advice on how to succeed in life. He recently posted the following tweet:

scott adams 8 steps to success

Just glancing at this list, you would think nothing profound is being said. I would need to disagree with this assertion. These 8 steps could save a person hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, help them create long lasting wealth, and give them more access to a better life. Let’s break down this list.

Focus on a useful education

Avoid theoretical degrees like Dance Theory or Business Theory. Stay far away from Business Management. Stick to very technical degrees Engineering, accounting, nursing, and computer programming come to mind. Trade schools also seem to be a good route to take.

I have friends within the law field.

They have $200,000 in student loan debt.

I come to find out they make $60,000-$80,000 a year on average. You can make that same salary with a $15,000 college degree in accounting or nursing.

Make sure your education is affordable, useful, and comes with a wide array of job prospects.

Stay out of legal trouble

Much of life revolves around your ability to make money –

Home ownership, clothing, dating, and an ability to improve your level of attraction – all of this is dependent on your revenue stream.

Many of us are not entrepreneurial and we tend to need the institution of employers to come save the day for us.

If you have a felony of any kind, that will make getting a job that much harder which will indirectly put a ceiling on all other aspects in your life.

Stay away from drugs

Heavy drug use can lead to addiction, legal troubles, loss of money, and a generally miserable life.

The volume that we perceive life in decreases the more we utilize drugs to enhance our experience on this planet.

We were never designed to let reality fade away in the background and have a narcotic take the drivers seat in our lives.

The opposite should be done. We need to increase the vividness of reality in a sober state.

Drugs will numb the faculty which can make a mediocre life into something extraordinary.

Don’t become a parent too soon

By becoming a parent too soon, you give up on the hours that could have been utilized on creating a product or growing your academic credentials. You will instead be stuck in finding the job that your resume says you are most geared for.

Since your resume will be trash at that point, more than likely, you will be stuck in retail or the food service industry.

By becoming a parent too soon, you will be stuck in the rat race and it will be incredibly hard to get out of it.

There are exceptions to this of course. If you have an extremely supportive family than you have a strong chance in still being able to pursue the academic tools needed to succeed.

But not everyone has this luxury. Do not become a parent unless you are financially solvent and ready.

Build a talent stack

Very few people in society need to be good in only one talent. Think of basketball players. They live and breathe their talent and foregoe all other skills. This does not apply to the rest of us.

The rest of us need to be mediocre at several things to make us extraordinarily valuable. Here are two examples to see how a talent stack can make a person in high demand:


  • Have an ability to read and summarize case law
  • Legal writing
  • Public speaking skills
  • Persuasion skills
  • An ability to write really good blog content
  • Above average social medial marketing skills

The above attorney has the typical skills all lawyers should have. They need to able to read and interpret case law all the while having a skillset to write motions and other legal documents. Since they are interacting with opposing counsel and judges, they should have somewhat of a familiarity in persuasion. Public speaking is also a must.

But look at those last two unique abilities. Why would being good at social media and blog writing help? If you own your own law practice or work for one, you just separated yourself from the herd. Those two skills right there make you into a one-person marketing firm.

If I am a law firm, and I know you can write really good content, I would much rather hire you than a person lacking that skill. Why? You can show your employer you have an ability to bring their firm more phone calls and business. Good blog content increases your organic visibility on Google.

The non-legal skills are not hard to acquire. A dozen books and a few online classes should do the trick to get you to pack up new talents to your talent stack.

Let’s look at one more example.

Vegan Activist:

  • Have an understanding about practices in factory animal farms
  • Understand the health side-effects of eating animal products
  • Being good at podcasting
  • Having humor
  • Having a strong fashion sense
  • Public speaking

The first two talents are easy to understand why a vegan activist should have them in their arsenal. You have to have the knowledge to convey to people as to why animal products aren’t good for them. You also have to make the moral case as to why we shouldn’t help fund the cruel treatment that happens to sentient beings in factory farms.

What about humor, fashion, and public speaking? With those talents, you will become extremely likeable and presentable. The volume of your words will be amplified when you are aesthetically pleasing. Being funny will convince others you are down to earth. You soften your tone while still delivering a powerful message.

Why does being a good podcaster help? Being proficient at a digital medium is important. You can replace podcaster with social media or blogging. Sometimes people just want to hear you speak instead of seeing a meme or reading a blog post. If you have the public speaking skill down (which is learnable) and have the humor, having a podcast should be the inevitable conclusion.

Be “useful” to others

Offer your boss a helping hand with something that isn’t your responsibility. Reply to posts when your friends ask for help – even something small. If you are part of a religious and political organization, always show you are willing to stay the extra hour to help with clean up or assist with next-days set up.

When these people com across an opportunity and they have a chance to share it with someone, you will be on that list. I can guarantee you that if you make yourself “useful” to 25 people this year, an important phone call will come your way.

I remember I made myself useful to someone in my field. I was unemployed at a certain point. They reached out to me letting me know about a job vacancy they saw being advertised at LinkedIn. That vacancy almost became my job because if not for another offer that I accepted instead.

Always give – never ask.

Favor systems over goals

Here is a real life example happening to me right now to illustrate this rule.


I really want to lose weight. The weight I want to lose is 20 pounds.

I have committed myself to going to the gym 4 times a week (that’s the goal) yet I always fail. I keep missing days. Sometimes when I do go, I have a shitty workout. Failing at meeting this goal is disheartening.

Here is now what I am doing instead.


I will walk everyday. I walk in my neighborhood. Instead of listening to music at home, I will just do so as I walk. Turns out – the path I take burns about 400 calories.

I am also going to drink kambucha tea instead of beer. A beer has 160 calories. Kambucha tea, which has a similar taste to beer, has 60 calories and is good for your gut health.

Finally, I am going to use swiss chard as my bread and taco shell instead of consuming actual bread and corn tacos.

This new system of replacing foods I like with other foods I like, all while walking, will put me in a caloric deficit of at least 3,500 calories per week. That is all that is needed to burn 1 pound of fat. This system is extremely easy to implement. I can always supplement with an actual workout at the gym. But this system alone which requires almost no effort on my part will cause dramatic changes overtime.

Goals need discipline and effort. Systems just need patience and small changes.

Learn Basic Risk Management

This is not knowing basic risk management –

I will get a degree in journalism even though this field has a -8% growth rate for the next 10 years.

This is knowing basic risk management –

I will get a degree in journalism even though this field has a -8% growth rate for the 10 years with a median income of $37,720. However, to mitigate the prospect of not finding a job in this increasing shrinking industry, I will also get a degree in software development that has a 10-year growth rate of 26% with a median income of $103,620.

Here is another example:

No risk management –

I have controversial political views. I really want to air them out and so I will do so on social media from my personal accounts. My employer is very sensitive about their image. They have a no-social media controversy policy. There is a chance I will be fired for talking so openly about my political views.

Now let’s add basic risk management –

I will air out all of my controversial political views through an anonymous social media account. My employer faces no controversy and my job is not at risk.

This all sounds basic. Yet many people do not follow basic risk management.

To implement this in your life, just think before you act and ask yourself if there is any risk in what you are doing. If there is, hedge yourself.


Let’s summarize Scott Adams 8 Steps to Success:

  • Focus on a useful education
  • Stay out of legal trouble
  • Stay away from drugs
  • Don’t become a parent too soon
  • Build a talent stack
  • Be “useful” to others
  • Favor systems over goals
  • Learn Basic Risk Management

Young or old, implementing these steps in your life today can have profound effects on your health, wealth, and mind going forward.


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