In our post on how average people think a commenter dropped in and asked for a post on how to be successful. In other words, how “Exceptional People Think”. If our writers were worth $100M+ and could move the GDP of a country by stepping into it… we would call this how to be Elite. For now we’ll stick with exceptional.
Anyone reading this blog can become exceptional.
Become truly honest with yourself. This is a brutal process. Everyone is going to be forced to white lie here and there to get by in life but… force yourself to become honest with yourself. Honest internally and externally. If you are able to do this you will become extremely efficient in short order.
“The liar’s punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.” ― George Bernard Shaw, The Quintessence of Ibsenism
The quote above should be re-read over and over until it sinks in. By lying about anything (accomplishments, skill-sets or the number of women you’ve slept with) … you’re self injecting mental weakness into your body. If you don’t believe this try and go through a full week of lying and see how other people treat you, it won’t be pretty. Then go through a full week of brutal honesty. People will think you’re a bit crazy to admit your failures.
They will also trust you when you say you can do XYZ for them. Again, if you don’t believe this, go through one week with each version and see how you feel internally. Your inner self-worth will be stronger with brutal honesty.
The big takeaway? We live in a society where honesty is shocking.
The reason? Most people lie… and we all know what happens when you do what everyone else does…
2) Set Expectations Appropriately
There is a lot of truth to the following equation:
Results ÷ Expectations = Happiness
Knowing this equation out of the gate, most people think this means to lower your own expectations so you’re never disappointed. That’s not quite right.
Instead the equation is a hint, or a clue to managing your career, office politics or otherwise. If you can lower the expectations of everyone around you they will be happier with the results you present.Let that sink in. The best move is to make everyone believe you’re going to turn in work that is a 7.5/10 but then you turn in work that is an 8.5/10. This is a phenomenal for every aspect of your life.
For girlfriends? Don’t set her expectations high by buying her an expensive gift after a measly few weeks of dating. For athletics? If you’re good let other people spread the word, never spread it yourself, silence will bring more respect. For business? If you’re going to sell a product for $10 it MUST deliver $20+ in value or else you’ve created a horrible product.
Example? A guy with talent and potential emailed us for advice on how to “spin” his story for both a scholarship and preparation for recruiting/interviews. After looking over his background and information we provided our analysis on what to expect *specific to his situation* and how to *spin* himself in the best light.
Result? A 5 figure scholarship and investment banking internship offer. #Outperform
3) Extreme and Obsessive
Was going to use the word “competitive” here, but we live in a world where being competitive is a bad thing. You’re just supposed to have talent. In reality? Being competitive is a natural state for any successful man. We would describe a competitive person as both extreme and obsessive.
Lets start with extreme… What is the definition?
“Of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average” – dictionary.com
How can you not laugh at being average now? By definition, to become successful you’re going to become the “farthest removed from average”. That is the goal.
Now lets look at the noun definition of obsessive:
“A person who is continually preoccupied with a particular activity, person, or thing” – World English Dictionary
Take a step back and put these two things together and ask yourself if you can find a single person who is successful at activity X that does not possess both of these qualities. Look at Michael Jackson and you see a man who was obsessed with beats and dance movements. Want to piss off an investment banker? Try to see if you can get a typo to fly over his head in a 10+ page document that is going to generate real revenue for him.
Get ready to be reamed out.
4) Time Value
In our post on the only four things that matter, time came up as an excruciatingly important piece of the article. This is because we are all on a specific biological path where one must take advantage of the skills he has at each time frame. At age 10-19 you’re finding your talents, during your twenties you’re hitting stride and by 30 you can begin specializing.
What is the point? It means you need to make your hours count. Every second, every minute, every hour needs to count.
If you want biological proof that the value of time is engrained in us, look no further than an attractive woman. Pick up her phone number and fall head over heels for her immediately… You know how this turns out. She will be repulsed by your odd propositions for dinners and other intimate settings after knowing her for less than a day. It tells her your time has no value because you’re investing so much into a relationship that has not even started yet. Simple as that.
A successful person has strong control of his emotions. This prevents mental lapses that swing him well below his typical performance. This is a key component of success, since life is certainly a marathon and not a sprint.
Look around and find the guys who show up every single day at the same time. They always show up slightly earlier than everyone else. They stay slightly later as well. They work on a weakness every year and consistently look for places to make gains.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
6) Process Over Results
This one should get under the skin of any successful person.
Average people look at the result. They ask inane questions such as “How did it feel competing out there?” or “What is it like to be a millionaire?” or “What is it like to drive a Ferrari?”.
In short? Who gives a F***
A successful person is not going to say “it is easy to be worth $1 billion” or “it is easy to be a Chairman”… Of course it is easy. Anyone with an IQ above a 10 is going to realize once you’re worth $1 billion your life is on easy street. That is missing the point entirely.
The bigger questions? Lets try the following: “How did you add value to hundreds of thousands of people in order to obtain the money?, “If you are in situation X that could result in upside XYZ how would you proceed in the decision making process”, “What advice do you have in generating business ideas?”
The second set of questions are valid because you are looking for ways to improve your thought process, improve your skills and improve the way you operate.
The first batch of questions? People who are star struck, jealous or even worse… haters. None of which we want to associate with.
While you’re never going to be good at everything, you need to learn the classic Charles Darwin saying: “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”
Things are not going to go your way in life. Multiple times in fact. One day you’ll be firing on all cylinders and the next you’ll be sidelined by something out of left field. How do you react? Do you allow the pain of lost momentum to ruin your life? Do you put in the grind and recover? How much do you really want to succeed? Do you look for ways to adjust your strategy?
That is what it means to be flexible. Want an example? Lebron just opted out of his contract. No brainer decision for him.
8) Enjoying Failure
We have written about failure in the past. The difference is simply that successful people enjoy the feeling of pressure. The nerves. The stomach drop. The increased heart rate. Everything.
The reason why we love to see “clutch performances” in sports? Anyone who has achieved real success knows it is much different to perform under the lime light. It is much more impressive to perform in the face of failure. If you want to test this, go take a public speaking class then go and do a real presentation where money is on the line and you’ll feel the difference instantaneously.
On that note? Go and do something today that makes you feel uncomfortable. That is the best way to desensitize yourself to failure and fear… because failure is going to happen… a lot.
9) Knowing Limitations
This one is a slippery slope. Once you know what you are good at and what you are bad at… Now you’re playing a balancing game. Exceptional people take a step back and think before key decisions. When they were younger they simply made rash and fast decisions to learn and see what worked.
No longer the case.
You see a change in the environment and you know the limits of what you can and cannot accomplish. You strategize appropriately and avoid stepping over the line. Walking steadily on the tight rope is a skill reserved for those that paid the price of pain and suffering over multiple decades.
10) Clear Communication
We’re honestly not even good at this yet. If people consider you to be “direct” or “blunt” this is better than confusing but eventually you must make a phase shift. You must be able to communicate in an amicable manner without coming across as too blunt.
The problem? Naturally the fastest and safest communication is direct and blunt.
F*** did it again.