Most people want to prove that they are right or have some original insight.
Worse than that.
Most people want to be perceived as smart.
Virtually nothing good has come from people thinking I am smart, whenever people have made that mistake. The few people who genuinely ask for advice or respect my view do so because they like me personally and know me well.
The “smart” thing is just a sideshow. You could just as well use a rabid monkey and a dart board to figure out what you should do.
Intellect and smarts don’t matter when ego gets in the way.
Most of the boulders people drag around – laziness, passivity, stubbornness, conceit, doubt, fear and the typical know-all attitude of PhDs – are the result of ego. Just remember that everyone is an expert on coronavirus now to realize how prevalent this is.
I am no exception to ego issues although I have overcome many. More and more humility is required to get to the higher levels of learning and accomplish “crazy” BIG goals.
Here are three lessons that I have been taught many times over and still need to learn over and over. The hard way.
This is the tip of the iceberg, obviously. But I consider these three to be very common roadblocks not just in my own experience, but with anybody who is DRIVEN towards. Let alone the mass of people.
1. Ask for help.
I’m naturally stubborn and I have learnt to enjoy challenges. Although I have zero issues with getting help, it’s not something that normally occurs to me. When I want to do something, I will just go ahead and do it. It takes repeated failure and wasted time to realize that somebody I know can do it for me.
2. Always start with the premise that you are GUARANTEED to be wrong in some way.
For most of us, this is a big issue of ego, but it is especially difficult if you’re legitimately right a lot of the time. It’s not just your ego, but also the “evidence” grinding against keeping a healthy attitude.
It’s commonplace when experienced people start new businesses. You have a lot of actual expertise, you know your value, you even know that there is a market for it, but you find yourself unable to monetize it because your sales skills are at zero. Or because you try to productize it the wrong way. Or you don’t set up enough of a financial cushion to bridge the time to market – and profit. It goes on and on.
For people who are not riddled with doubt, the focus should be not on what you know and how certain you are, but on what you might not know. What are the potential blind spots?
3. Humble yourself and learn.
In the end, it always comes down to humility. However, humility is the most powerful ingredient to an exponential learning curve.
Now, this will sound like some warm and fuzzy woo-woo, but you can learn from absolutely ANYONE if you humble yourself enough.
I get angry a lot on social media with people in the VC, “hustle” or any other money space who spew obvious nonsense. Not because they have a large following or get 1,000 retweets or anything like that. Just because they are wrong and a lot of people will break their heads into a brick wall following that advice. Over time, this unhealthy attitude has resulted in infinitely many missed opportunities to create content, gain followers or just LEARN SOMETHING OF VALUE.
The opportunities to learn from other people’s drivel are infinite.
First of all, many of these people do put out a lot of genuinely valuable content on subjects I SHOULD improve on. Fixating on the “wrong” stuff prevents me from taking advantage.
Second, their being “wrong” and getting 1,000 shares on that boolsheat tells me something about the market and presents an opportunity to create valuable content. Which I miss because I’m too busy getting angry.
Third, every time people speak is an opportunity to ask questions and get the inside story on where they are coming from. If you don’t act like a tool and start pointless beefs. Some such interactions can become lifelong friendships and massive business opportunities. But not if you get angry like a child.
“Be the tail of the lions and not the head of the foxes.”
We’re just skimming the surface of what humility means here. Shoot me a note if you want to know more.
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Rise a god,