(from a CFA Institute interview)
Q: Because you have been so successful, let me ask you this: What is the secret to success?
Bogle: People often ask me what the secret to success is, and I say, “I absolutely have no idea.” In fact, I don’t use the word success. But I think it has something to do with working a little harder and a little longer than everyone else on whatever job you are given or task you are doing. Do a better job on it than everyone else, and the rewards will come. From this perspective, at least, the secrets to success are not very mysterious.
Some people will never have passion for anything because that is the type of person they are. Being yourself is very important. This is true whether you are dealing with your associates or your clients because people can spot a phony a mile away.
Figure out who you are, and try to follow a career that fits with who you are. Woodrow Wilson wrote a book titled When a Man Comes to Himself. I came into myself, to be honest, when I was probably 11 years old. I figured out who I was and what I wanted to do in life very early–too early, you could argue. Most people start to get a good sense of who they are probably in their early 20s, some in their 30s or 40s, and some never. Some people never get to know who they are.
People need to ask themselves, “Am I the kind of person I want to be? Am I filling a role in life, in the community, and in society that I want to fill? Am I comfortable in my own skin? Where does being a good spouse and parent fit in with a career?” People should consider all those kinds of things.