Navigating Success in the AI Era: The Equation for Achievement

Jinho D. Choi
3 min readJul 5, 2023


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In the previous section, I elucidated the driving force behind my upcoming book, “Unlocking AI: Thriving in the Era of Artificial Intelligence”.

The chart below demonstrates the hypothetical growth of achievement over a span of 15 years for different types of individuals. For Type A, the achievement level shows a steady increase until Year 14, while for Type F, it ceases to increase after Year 3. Considering this simulated data, which type of person would you prefer to be?

Figure 1: Variations in achievement growth across different types of individuals.

In her renowned book titled “GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, Dr. Angela Duckworth, a co-founder, chief scientist, and board member of Character Lab, introduced an equation for achievement:

Here are brief explanations of the key concepts behind this equation:

  • Talent refers to an individual’s innate abilities or predispositions in a specific domain. It encompasses natural aptitudes, such as intelligence, physical coordination, or artistic sense. Talent is often seen as a starting point, but it alone does not guarantee success.
  • Effort signifies the deliberate and sustained application of energy towards a goal. It involves the investment of time, dedication, practice, and persistence. Effort is a crucial factor in achieving success, as it allows individuals to improve their skills and overcome obstacles.
  • Skill refers to the developed and refined abilities in a particular area. It is the result of deliberate practice and focused effort over time. Skills can be acquired and enhanced through training, learning, and experience.
  • Achievement represents the tangible outcomes attained through the combination of talent, effort, and skill. It can encompass various forms of success, such as academic performance, professional accomplishments, artistic recognition, or personal goals.

Let’s consider the innate talent we all possess: the ability to generate thoughts. While everyone has this talent, it requires dedicated effort to acquire the skill of effectively expressing those thoughts through writing. However, writing skill alone does not automatically lead to achievement. You must invest additional effort to transform your skill into tangible outcomes, such as a diary, article, or book.

The equation presented above can be expanded as follows:

Thus, according to Dr. Duckworth, achievement is influenced by two factors: talent and effort (skill is derived from these two elements). While debates have been plentiful regarding the relative impact of each factor, it is commonly acknowledged that talent is largely inherent. This leaves effort as the sole factor within our control that can drive further achievements in life.

In this chapter, we will apply this equation to analyze the growth of achievement for different types of people and explore how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact their progress over time. We aim to provide valuable insights into how effort should be strategically employed to achieve success in the era of AI.



Jinho D. Choi

Associate Professor of Computer Science, Quantitative Theory and Methods, and Linguistics at Emory University