Cargo cult thinking is a term used to describe the belief that success can be achieved simply by copying the actions or behaviors of others, without a full understanding of the underlying principles or processes that make those actions effective. It is named after the cargo cults that emerged in some traditional societies in response to the arrival of Western goods and technology, in which people constructed mock airplanes and radios and performed rituals in an attempt to bring about the return of the Westerners and the cargo they brought.

Cargo cult thinking is similar in that it involves the belief that success can be achieved by simply imitating the actions or behaviors of others, without a full understanding of why they are effective. This can lead to a lack of creativity and innovation, as people may be too focused on replicating the behaviors of others rather than developing their own ideas or approaches.

Overall, cargo cult thinking is a problematic approach to success because it assumes that the specific actions or behaviors being imitated are the key to success, rather than a deeper understanding of the principles or processes behind them. It is important to strive to understand the underlying principles and processes at work in order to be truly effective and successful.