Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Being the World's Greatest ...

What kind of mindset does it take to be successful in any field?

If you focus on a number of people involved in any particular area of expertise (e.g. investing, sport, charity work, fitness, etc) there will a rough group structure as follows.

1. There are people who are terrible at the skill or expertise who try and fail, but never learn. These kind of people do not often stay in a field for a long period of time.
2. There are people who do it for the fun of it, have some success here and there, but don't contribute massively to the field, except for in their sheer numbers.
3. There are the people that do it for a living, e.g. fund managers, professional athletes, etc. These people contribute the most of the 3 groups so far, but they are often not as pro-active in their contribution and commitment as they could be.
4. There are people who commit and dedicate themselves to excellence. They pro-actively set goals to challenge themselves to expand their current skill level and the level of all others, e.g. Warren Buffet, Michael Jordan, Mother Teresa, Lance Armstrong, etc.

Numbers 1 to 3 will make up the majority of any field of expertise. Often those in group 4 are the ones that set the boundaries and standards of possibility for the other groups.

So what are some of the mindsets that make group 4 different from the others?

In a way the answer to this is partly what my blog is all about, but I will focus on one specific answer here.

People in group 4 are unique, because they share a different mindset to the people in the other groups. The beliefs they have cause them to act differently to the others which causes them to produce different results.

I like to call the mindset they share as intelligent counter-convention.

What I mean by intelligent is that their beliefs are very well thought out, especially in terms of achieving their outcome. When you hear and read about anyone who is the very top of their field they always seem to have beliefs that are entirely congruent with producing top results.

What I mean by counter-convention is that the beliefs shared by group 4 will often run contrary to those of the rest of the group. If they did not then they would produce similar results to groups 1 to 3.

Warren Buffet, the person to generate most wealth through investing in the world, is a great example of this. When you read about him or watch him speak you get to hear how his beliefs are subtly different from the majority of the investing world. These differences from everyone else are what allows him to consistently beat the stock market indexes.

So what can we learn from all this?

1. If you have well developed beliefs about a particular skill and you are largely criticised for them, do not scrap those beliefs straight away. There are countless examples in history where someone has been criticised initially for doing something and later rewarded for having done it. Groups 1 to 3 will want you to share the same beliefs as them, but this will come at the cost of producing the same results as them.
2. If you are going to copy beliefs from someone, pro-actively choose these beliefs. Copy the beliefs from people who are producing the results you want. If you only want to enter a field for a bit of relaxation, e.g. playing a sport in your free time, then copying beliefs from the world's greatest may not be the best strategy for you.
3. Do not forget that you have a choice of which group you can be a part of.

I cannot think of a successful person in the world who does not exhibit some type of intelligent counter-convention. If you can please tell me. I believe it is an essential factor to rise above the majority and contribute your full potential.


Thanks to the following for including this article in
-The Live the Power Unlimited Carnival located at Live the Power
-The Carnival of Money, Growth and Happiness located at Credit Card Lowdown