A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
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Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/26)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/26)
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Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/26)
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Entry from October 04, 2015
“I looked for the key to success and then found it’s a combination lock”

People often seek the key (or keys) to success. The “key” is a metaphor, but another metaphor is often added—that success is a “combination lock.”

Business author Jonathan Jay stated in Sack Your Boss (2005), “There is no one key to success. It is more like a combination lock in which the tumblers have to fall into place. You have to find a product and a market, then comes timing.” 7KeyElements.com authors John Thornill and Randy Smith stated in 2007, “The Secret To Online Success Is NOT A Key! It’s A 7 Key Combination Lock!”

A Frank and Ernest comic strip by Bob and Tom Thaves was published on April 8, 2013:

“I spent years looking for the keys to success --- and then I found out it’s a combination lock.”

Other sayings about the “key to success” include “I found the key to success, only to discover that the door was never locked,” “If you can’t find the key to success, pick the lock,” “Just when you find the key to the market, they change the locks” and “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.”


Google Books
Sack Your Boss:
Quit your job and turn your passion into your profession!

By Jonathan Jay
Bethel, CT: Crown House Publishing Company LLC
2005
Pg. ?:
There is no one key to success. It is more like a combination lock in which the tumblers have to fall into place. You have to find a product and a market, then comes timing.

7KeyElements.com
“The Secret To Online Success Is NOT A Key!
It’s A 7 Key Combination Lock!”

From: John Thornhill & Randy Smith.
Subject: Success Combination! - Extracting the 7 keys to success
Hello and welcome to a truly revealing page.

First of all I want to explain this report was originally released in 2007.

Twitter
Rabbi Rami
‏@rabbirami
“Self-trust is the key to success.” Unfortunately the door to success is secured with a combination lock.
6:51 AM - 21 Aug 2009

Journalist Pursues MBA, Blogs
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2009
What’s the combination to MBA success?
Because I’m the most successful first-year student at SOM*, I’m constantly asked about the keys to success in an MBA program. What a dumb question, I respond. If success is a lock, it can only have one key, or copies of that same key ... not multiple keys. A better question would be: What is the combination to the combination lock of success?

Twitter
izzy B.
‏@shoppingbagIZZY
the key to success doesnt exists… its a combination lock.
10:51 AM - 23 Mar 2010

Twitter
Richard Pacheco
‏@RichardAPacheco
There is no key to success-it’s a combination lock. Darnell Self (via @HomeBizTaxCoach)
8:37 PM - 17 Apr 2010

Google Books
While You’re in a Traffic Jam, I’m Playing Golf!
By Simon Thompson
Xlibris Corporation (Xlibris.com)
2012
Pg. ?:
The Keys to Success
It’s a Combination Lock

There is no single key to success, nor is there a magic button.

Twitter
GRIN Campaign
‏@GRINCampaign
There are many keys to success, but true success is realising that life is a combination lock! #LGBT
9:28 AM - 12 Apr 2012

Cartoonist Group
Cartoonist(s): Bob Thaves Tom Thaves
Comic/Cartoon: Frank and Ernest
Viewable Date: 2013-04-08 Pub. Date: 2013-04-08
Image Number: 95723
Caption: I spent years looking for the keys to success --- and then I found out it’s a combination lock.

YouTube
The key to success is usually a combination lock
Optimized Self
Published on Apr 30, 2015
http://www.Optimizedself.ninja
A lot of people are looking for the key to #success but what I’ve found is that it’s usually a combination lock where the combination is different for every person.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Sunday, October 04, 2015 • Permalink