Success is no accident. In order to accomplish anything worthwhile you have to strive for it. Passionately pursuing your goal, with unbridled tenacity. I've heard it time and again from many people whom I respect "you have to want it". When it comes to meaningful, long-term success, there's no such thing as luck.
I would argue that the most important ingredient to any amount or type of success is drive. Having the desire to succeed is paramount to actually obtaining success. It's the first (and probably most important) step. Other abilities, such as intelligence or possessing a natural talent for whatever you're trying to accomplish, are important, but those things are meaningless without desire. This is of course, because desire is the driving force which will lead to the level of self discipline and momentum necessary to achieve success. It's a starting point.
What I have just said is fairly well established and may be considered common knowledge. Plenty of self help books have examined how drive and desire lead to success and how to use this information to achieve your goals. Yet, I have seen very little examination of what psychological attributes determine the level of desire necessary to become successful. There are texts which claim to be able to help you to kick start your passions, but I rarely, if ever, see references to the psychological and emotional prerequisites for becoming successful. The reason for this is almost certainly financial; after all, self help authors who consistently tell their readers that they probably don't have what it takes to cut it, don't tend to stay in business very long (regardless of how accurate such statements might be). In my rebelling rant, I pointed out that an essential element to succeeding in any kind of meaningful way, is to be strange or somehow different. Normality is an enemy of greatness and you can't expect to be superior while doing things the same way that everyone else does. However, just being different is not enough to secure success. One of the most fundamental parts of "doing something different", is to actually do something. It could be argued that being truly driven will help to set you apart from most others, right there.
But what is it that inspires the level of desire needed to succeed in the first place? In a word: dissatisfaction. Think about it. Would a completely satisfied individual have any need to go the trouble of working to succeed at anything? Of course, there are very few if any humans that are truly satisfied, but we'll get to that in a moment. My point is that, in order to be motivated enough to do anything worthwhile; you must first be displeased with the current circumstances. Maybe you don't like how things are being done on a large social scale, or perhaps you simply don't like being broke. From civil rights to inventions, and revolution to enterprise, all major accomplishments, weather personal, social, technological or anything else that you might imagine, have been born out of some one wanting something better. To be successful, you must never be completely satisfied; you always want more and know that things can always be better. This is not to say that a successful person can't be happy. Despite what some may say, you can be happy with what you have and still want more. From a villain's perspective, this would include things such as material riches, power, revenge and joy its self. Of course, the same would apply to all forms of (what many would consider) non selfish goals as well.
Despite the fact that there are people who will claim to be satisfied, most of these individuals are saying this because they don't feel that they have a choice. And for people who lead fairly pitiful lives, deciding that their satisfied is often their only consolation. Choosing to be satisfied and accepting how things are, leads to complacency. Complacency is the enemy of ambition. You can't always have a significant impact on things, but choosing not to try and ceasing to strive for something more ideal, is to give up and accept failure or mediocrity. "Apathy is bliss" does not apply to how you should view yourself and your dreams. You would think that this should go without saying (which is why I didn't even bother to explain it in that rant; once again I've given people a way too much credit), however, many people do seem to be fairly apathetic about their own ambition and power. There is something so very self deprecating about choosing not to care about bettering yourself and achieving what you desire. And it is a choice (including choosing to be powerless)! Sure, it can be a lot of work and frustrating to pursue your dreams, and it is often easier to just sit back and say "I can't do it"; but ultimately, you're still deciding to be more worthless than other people. It's a self fulfilling prophecy.
Although, at this point in the game, I don't really care what other people achieve or don't achieve, there is a human tendency which consistently irritated me when I was younger. This tendency is to assume that any ambition which is unusual or otherwise grander than many people's, must be unrealistic. People seem to have a tendency to want to comply with others around them. So, if someone is only surrounded by mediocrity, then they are likely to believe that that's all there is. Logically, they know that there's something else, but as I've said before, most people are not very logical. Emotionally they're more influenced by the other humans around them, then by the knowledge that there are other people out there who have obtained greater levels of desirable success.
For someone who is not content to succumb to the environment around them, and aspires to greatness beyond what his peers expect, this situation can be very frustrating. You will find little support or encouragement from anyone who has not achieved much success themselves. I'll warn you that in most cases, attempting to raise or encourage they're ambition will often lead to more frustration. Chances are that if a person is discouraging you, then they've already written off their own abilities and have decided that they're destined to remain a loser. This is all the more reason not to listen to them and to pull out the old "screw this, I'm doing things my way" attitude that comes up so frequently in these rants. Any successful person will tell you that you will always have to deal with doubters and people who would like to drag you down to where they currently are, and, will inevitably remain.
One thing that I've never been able to figure out, is how someone can possibly and so thoroughly abandon all of their dreams and desires. How can they not want more? They're aware that there is always more out there, right? There's something pathetically disgusting about that sort of lack of ambition. When I was a kid, and people used to say "that's impossible or that'll never happen", I used to always wonder, "why not?". You're aware that others have succeeded at similar things, so why not me? It also baffles me that other people don't ask themselves that same question about their own dreams. Do you really believe that people who have accomplished similar things to your desires are really that much better than you? This could very well be the case, but is that really enough to keep you from trying? How can you be sure that you can't do it? And even if you can't quite accomplish what you desire, surely you know that there are always things you can do to become better (in many cases, much better).
To my fellow villains, I say: cast off the shackles of mediocrity, and rip through all adversity to seize what you desire. Become a fiery volcano, erupting with ambition and refuse to allow any dream to escape your fiendish clutches! Learn to use others doubts and disparaging remarks as weapons for your own success. Even in times when I have felt that there was no possibility for success and happiness, I was fueled by a desire for the most wicked payback of all; showing others how insignificant they are, by succeeding myself. After all, what's more psychological damaging to a loser, then making it so blatantly obvious that that's just what he is? Even when you become so discouraged that you don't believe there's any hope, and that it's not worth it and it would be easier to give up, you should continue on; just to spite others. Your desire to achieve a level of superiority beyond that of others will help you through the difficult times. Go out and show them how it's done!