Welcome to the Monday Mindwash. We’re here to give our minds a little scrub, get some of the dirt out. This weekly blog will challenge your mind, body, and especially those beliefs you store within. Well, you don’t actually think they’re your beliefs, do you?
This week I posed the question of whether it was talent and intelligence or action that was the biggest catalyst for winning. Smart people surely can do some amazing things, but would you agree they can also be lazy? That smart does not have to equal action? What if hard work beat talent when talent doesn’t work hard?
The dirt: You need to be smart to win in life
It surely makes sense. We’re told endlessly that the key to success is going to school, getting good grades, becoming smart and knowledgeable with that safe, secure job. Is that really true anymore? Have you talked to any recent college graduates lately? Who’s telling us this anyways? Our teachers (bless their hearts) making $40k/year? Our parents who either are lucky enough to still have a pension or who are in a desperate rat race hoping that things will turn out differently for us? Maybe our friends who would rather keep the gang together, even if in brokedom, than allow you to realize you’re an eagle hanging with chickens and it would be in your nature (and best interest) to fly away.
What if weren’t talent or intelligence, rather ridiculous work ethic that determined success?
Let’s start with knowledge. It’s important to ensure you are not wasting time banging your head against the wall. You must know what to do that will get us our desired results. However, knowledge by itself, knowledge not applied, is completely useless. The most studious and knowledgeable person with all the letters after their name will not make anything happen without some level of work. Though no doubt some base level of knowledge and competence is required.
Intelligence, or the ability to apply knowledge, can have immense advantages. It can optimize the effectiveness of any activity. It may increase the efficiency at which results are achieved. It may even get superior results with all else being equal. If we assumed both knowledge and intelligence were necessary for success, then I would have to further submit that while necessary, they are insufficient. There must be a minimum level of work to implement what we know about how to do something. Even Mario Andretti is going nowhere until the race car is on and he hits the gas.
Not only is it insufficient, but being smart can actually be detrimental to success, if we let it. Smart people always seem to want to figure things out. They end up sitting on the sidelines, reading the book, until they fully understand the situation, at which time they can proceed. The challenge is that while they are figuring it out, they aren’t getting much work done. And even when they do believe they have it figured out, it doesn’t ensure they’ll take the correct action.
Now let’s introduce the dummy. My loose use of the word does not imply stupid, just simple. The dummy doesn’t overthink anything. When he sees the color blue, he sees blue, not the atoms vibrating at a particular frequency and how they compare to the color of the sky at the 45th parallel during summer. When he’s told to do something, he does it usually without modification. Since he’s not going to modify it with any degree of competence or confidence, he’d rather leave it be.
This isn’t to say he can’t learn or isn’t capable in other areas, rather that he doesn’t know enough about the topic at hand and doesn’t try to fix what he isn’t sure is broken. When presented with a proven system or proven knowledge, he doesn’t try to reinvent it, second-guess it, or even improve it. He figures that if it worked for others, then let’s get to work and see if it also works for him.
Here’s the magic of work:
- You get immediate results. They may not be the best results, but they are results. If you are terrible at sales, you can still close business if you approach enough people (law of averages.) It won’t be optimal, but it will be real and you can take it to the bank.
- You gain competence on the way, faster than any book. While you are messing up, making mistakes, you learn what works and what doesn’t work…in real life…for you. This experience cannot be taught in a book. Do you remember how different it was to read the driver’s manual but then actually get behind the wheel?
- You will hit the finish line before those that delay the work. If mastery happens after 10,000 hours, it shouldn’t be a surprise that taking immediate and massive action should lead to victory. You don’t have to be good to get started, but you do have to get started to be good.
As with most things, there is a space between these two extremes where it would make the most sense to operate. Too much studying won’t get us off the couch, yet too little knowledge will have us running like maniacs in the wrong direction. What if you didn’t have to choose? Could we not acquire basic knowledge from mentors and books and still take massive action?
Imagine finding a system or method that has been used for success. Such system has inputs (work) and outputs (results). Take immediate action per the system, without modification. While taking action, master the system from experts and your own experience. Add that mastery to your ongoing work, put your head down for a few years, take massive action, and don’t look up until you cross the finish line.
We set a single goal for the year last week and committed to writing it down every day. We said it was easy to do, yet so many would fail out the gate. What’s the one thing you can do right now, this hour, to either get started or progress on that goal? No matter how small it may be, what it is it? For example, if you are looking to get into better shape, is it getting that gym membership, finding a workout buddy, or perhaps hiring a coach that will instill that first step of commitment? This step only becomes difficult if you’re not serious about what you want.
As you learn and master those skills required to achieve your goal, what are those daily activities that inches you closer and closer to your desired end results? Here we have endless resources such as books, mentors, and audios. The challenge is to follow a competent source of information. Friends, family, and the internet are all happy to guide you, but be sure you’re not listening to the broke on how to become wealthy. Once you know, all that’s left is to do. Here’s where the rubber meets the road, and where our episode next week will take us.
I dare you to share this article with one other person in your life. We may not change the world on our own, but together, we can’t lose. Love you guys, have an amazing week. Now’s the time and you’re the person.
“Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having except as the result of hard work.” Booker T. Washington
Meet you at the top (because the bottom’s way too crowded)