Suman Rani, the 88th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, said something that really got my attention.

If you want to succeed in life, she said, the most important characteristics you need are a positive attitude and strong work ethic.

Throughout my #500lunches journey, I’ve been lucky to meet many high achievers – and I’ve noticed that, often, they outperform other people not because they’re more skilful but because they have a better mindset.

Suman’s father set a very positive example for her: despite suffering many hardships and tragedies in his life, he always found a way to keep moving forward.

Suman is also made of tough stuff: two years ago, she left her family behind, and moved from India to Australia in search of a better life. 

Amazingly, just 17 days after arriving in Sydney, Suman found a job. The key to getting work so quickly, she said, was that instead of madly applying for hundreds of jobs, she focused on a small number of roles, and sent personalised applications to each recruiter.

Suman works as a project manager for SMA Australia, a solar energy equipment supplier.