I simply roll the dice more often.
Success comes from a mixture of the following things; pure talent, resiliency, proximity to success, and timing.
Let’s break those ideas down and see what weight they each play.
Pure Talent – this you’re born with. This is the raw talent that you have always had, your natural ability to sing or draw. Your brain’s ability to understand math, and sciences, or your athletic superiority. For me, this was my ability to communicate a message well, speaking to large groups came to me naturally.
But you know as much as I do that pure talent is never enough.
Introducing resiliency. Call it grit, hard work, perseverance, it is merely the ability to push beyond your limits, to get back up when you’re knocked down, and not to take ‘no’ for an answer. Resiliency is a function of your mindset, your energy, and emotional rigour. It’s about how you guide your inner thoughts (mindset). How you physically and mental generate and exude energy. And your ability to have emotional awareness and live through your emotions – I’ve heard some people start to call this ‘heart-set.’
Resiliency is the single common denominator in the character traits of the most successful people. Combined with raw talent, you begin the development of a champion.
Next up, proximity to success.
This is the reality of our circumstances. Of course outliers in the situation exist, but give me an extraordinarily talented and resilient child in rural India right now, and he or she, will most likely not amount to success if not provided education and work. Those are the extreme cases of proximity to success. What I want to bring notice to, is the proximity to success and power in the context of who you surround yourself with.
You’ve heard the saying “your network is your net worth,” you’ve also heard sayings that you’re the average of your 5 closest friends. There’s a lot of merit to these simple sayings. We’ve seen it time and time again, from the Paypal Mafia to all the actors who went to the same schools and Olympic athletes whose parents were Olympians. There is typically a concentration of power and wealth in geographic pockets or within families, and this is due to the effect of proximity on success.
Your proximity to other successful people becomes a critical factor in higher levels of success.
Lastly, there is timing. Timing is otherwise known as ‘luck.’ There are countless examples of technologies that came out a few years before their time and utterly failed, while remarkably similar products coming out a few years later and succeeding.
Here’s the thing with timing, those who stick it out longer, merely have a higher chance to get the timing right, or in other words to get lucky. They simply roll the dice more often and as such increase their odds or rolling 6s.
Here’s the weight I perceive each of these factors playing into success.
Pure Talent – 5%
Resiliency – 25 %
Proximity – 30 %
Timing – 40 %
Therefore, I simply roll the dice more often.
What do you think?
Yes, I work almost every weekend.
But so did my father, and my grandfather.
My older brother also works almost every weekend.
See, we didn’t grow up with much. My father worked every weekend so that we can stay afloat. My brother and I work every weekend so we can get ahead.
It’s our competitive spirit that doesn’t want just what’s suitable for our family, but instead, we want the best.
There are two main camps of entrepreneurs these days. Those who say hustle and kill yourself every day or you’re not going to make it and those who say it is about finding balance and joy in what you do.
Both camps are right in some sense, but the question is what blend is right for you?
I typically work 11-12 hours a day on weekdays, 8 hours on Saturdays, and 3-5 hours on Sundays. This is what I know I can sustain without burning out. I don’t tell you this for your praise or your pity. I tell you this to help you understand what I am willing to do to achieve my goals.
Friends and family often shame me, saying “Fahd, you work too much!” But who are they to determine what is too much for me?
The truth of the matter is that most of you have ambitious goals, and you daunt yourselves and create pressure. You feel like failures when you’re not achieving them. You talk negatively to yourselves about being too lazy, and not being good enough when you don’t work towards your goals.
But do you really want them?
Next time you think you want something, ask yourself “Am I willing?” – I took this trick from the author Gary John Bishop.
Am I willing to do what it takes to actually achieve that goal?
Because many of your goals take extreme amounts of sacrifice, and you might want the result, but you also have to want the process.
Did you read that? You have to want the process.
And if at this moment you just realized you don’t, that’s good. That’s the first step in removing the unhappiness in your life that you created by chasing a goal that you never actually wanted.
What are you willing to do?
How vital are morning routines?
Personally once I began setting a clear morning routine, it changed everything.
I have to start by admitting that mornings have always been difficult for me. I’m not ‘naturally’ a morning person, and I have had to fight myself to build this new routine. Additionally, it has taken me over a year and a half of attempting to have a consistent morning routine to finally (somewhat) succeed.
I did not take me 21 days to form a habit. It took me far more. The trick is to see each morning as a brand new start. I don’t hang my accomplishments from the week before, or get down that I missed my morning routine the day before.
So why do I do it? I found myself 10x happier and more productive when I got up early. I was more at peace, I felt less anxiety, and I surprisingly found time for my workouts.
Here’s my morning routine – you’ll see that it’s highly dependent on my night routine.
1) The alarm clock rings at 6:00 am
This alarm clock is located in my washroom, so that I have no choice but to get out of bed. The second alarm clock rings at 6:05 am. The second one is my phone alarm near my bed, my body at times has learned to ignore the washroom alarm
I told you this was a fight every morning for months… haha.
2) Drink Morning Cocktail – water, with lemon and sea salt.
The science behind this is clear, overnight we become dehydrated and are likely missing some necessary salts.
3) Do 15 push-ups
This one is funny, because I literally roll out of bed, with my washroom alarm still ringing and muster all the strength I have, just to do 10-15 push-ups.
4) Jump into the shower
Having to walk into the washroom to turn off my alarm leaves me very little room to fall back asleep, I just have to take two more steps to walk into the shower. I end with a cold shower. At the end of the shower, I slowly decrease the temperature of the water. Slowly and eventually leading to a cold shower. This cold shower lasts (maybe) 60 seconds – kudos to those who can do more.
5) Washroom activities
Activities include everything from brushing teeth to shaving, flossing, and putting lotion to keep my skin from getting too dry!
6) Read my affirmations
I read my life mission, my values, and three affirmations that came directly from re-writing the narratives I have around my limiting beliefs. I also review my three biggest goals for this month. Lastly, I read one page of the Daily Stoic. This is a one-page a day book that provides me introspective insights for my day.
7) Put my clothes on
These have already been chosen the night before and laid out
8) Eat Breakfast
Plain Oatmeal, with vanilla protein powder, a scoop of peanut butter, and a handful of berries! Note that coffee comes after my meal and water cocktail. During breakfast is when I take my vitamins. Listen we all need vitamins, don’t fight me on this one. Learn about what sort of vitamins your body is deficient in.
9) HEAD TO THE GYM!
I Grab my gym bag, and work bag that are all prepared the night before and head out!
I’m up at 6:00 am and out of the house by 6:45 am.
In the last year and a half, I have failed 40% of the time in getting up early in the morning. But that means 60% of my days have been 10x better than they would have been before.
Celebrate the small wins.
Celebrate the attempts.
As children, we grow up asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Another of the favourites is the dreaded “What is your passion?” These common questions are asked when we’re feeling indecisive about what to do with our careers.
What if instead, we started asking a different question.
What problem would you like to help solve?
Changing the question shifts us into thinking as problem solvers. We begin to see careers as tools on our journey to helping solve problems – and not as identities.
There are generally three types of problems to solve, which result in 3 types of organizations; aspirins, vitamins and jellybeans.
Aspirins. These are acute problems that are causing immediate pain. They are a throbbing pain that is affecting our day and how we interact with everyone. Moreover, we don’t want to work on anything until we deal with this pain.
Mechanics who fix cars that break down, are solving an acute pain, and thus running an aspirin business.
Vitamins. These are non-immediate problems. Their impact is so small that it can be easily neglected, but, if not addressed over time can cause pain and issues.
Auto-maintenance shops who do oil changes, detailing, cleaning and aesthetic bodywork are solving non-immediate pains, and running a vitamin business.
Jellybeans. These are not pains, but sought out gains. Sometimes known as “nice to have.” Luxuries, entertainment, and fun sought out items, or experiences that are fulfilling immediate or long-term desires.
Luxury Car dealerships are usually selling the lifestyle that one gets to live when driving their brand new top of the line, limited edition, exclusive car. This would be a jelly bean business.
What type of problem do you want to be solving?
Is it an Aspirin? A Vitamin? or a Jellybean?
It is a sort of truism to state that leaders must always be learning. In all walks of life, constant learning is foundational to growth.
Greek philosopher Plato is recorded in discussion with his teacher Socrates. He debated that there are not three stages in life, but only two; growth and decay. Stability does not exist, for the moment you cease to grow, you begin to decay.
Companies that fail to learn and adapt don’t just stop growing, they fail.
“Some 40% of Fortune 500 companies in 2000 no longer existed by 2010” – Babson College MBA.
We understand the importance of learning. And many have spent a lifetime in formal education, but do we know how we learn?
There are Four Stages for Learning Any New Skill. A theory developed at Gordon Training International.
We begin with Unconscious Incompetence.
Where you don’t even know, what you don’t know. You are unaware of the fact that you don’t understand said skills. These are your unknown, unknowns. You are unconscious of your own incompetence.
Secondary stage is Conscious Incompetence.
Exiting stage one and into two is usually attributed to an “aha” moment. Where you’re struck with awareness of your lack of understanding and skill. You are now conscious of your incompetence.
The third stage is Conscious Competence.
This is when you’re making a deliberate effort to improve, learn and work on this new skill. It doesn’t come naturally, and you’re continually forgetting. But you persist in putting in the effort to remember and engage with this new skill. You are now consciously working on your competence.
The last stage is Unconscious Competence.
This is the level of mastery. You’re actively using this skill, and it comes with little mental effort. It is on autopilot, and your muscle memory kicks in. Its when the skill comes as second nature. You are unconscious of your impeccable competence.
What stage are you in with that particular new skillset that you’ve been trying to learn?