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?
It was on my journey of leadership at the Carleton University Students’ Association that I stumbled on a simple yet profound truth.
We cannot solve tomorrow’s problems using yesterday’s methods.
Today, we face the world’s greatest refugee crisis. Topped by rising socio-political unrest, and a helpless global environmental crisis. Our world is changing at an unprecedented pace, undergoing its fourth revolution; the digital revolution.
Leaders who are stuck solving new problems using old methods will be quick to fail. We need leaders who not only put out fires but start them. We cannot get caught in thinking small. Leaders must seek to scalably and sustainably solve human problems. To do so, we must question old ideologies that have limited our scope; and explore a new sort of leadership philosophy.
Our leaders must become realist-idealists.
While in our traditional understanding, an idealist and a realist may seem like opposites. It is the combination of these two leadership attributes that inspire and mobilize people. Alone, these qualities are limited and ineffective.
For example, an idealist may have the necessary optimism and great vision to believe in the idealism of people. However, they ineffectively take into account the behavioural economics of our capitalist system. And the power dynamics of the democratic system that thrives on the fear and greed of people.
In contrast, a realist may understand how to navigate the political system and its underlying subtleties. They have their pragmatic focus on practical objectives that are achievable. However, they limit themselves by their pessimistic view of how things are instead of how things could be.
A Realist-Idealists’ vision can motivate and lift the people. Engage them with fiery passion around a future that could be, but takes a pragmatic approach. That acknowledges the reality of the challenge and its current obstacles. For our leaders to achieve the impossible, they must be able to work both agendas simultaneously in an effective manner. To thrive in the digital age, all leaders must adopt this philosophy. They must set audacious goals and find pragmatic tactics that lead to revolutionary results.
The Realist-Idealist understands that even though some goals are beyond reach, its the daily commitment to the unreasonable that makes it reasonable.
This was originally titled “The Reverse Gap” but I feel like “The Failure Story” is a more accurate description of this story. This is part two of a video I had put out last week, if you haven’t seen part 1, click the link below!
Did you know that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs doesn’t actually end with self-actualization?
“It is quite true that [we live] by bread alone—when there is no bread. But what happens to [our] desires when there is plenty of bread and when [our bellies are] chronically filled?”Abraham Maslow
Most of you
Thus the prevailing theory in
Maslow amended his model near the end of his life.
Maslow’s later thinking argued that there is a higher level of development, what he called “self-transcendence”. This comes after self-actualization, where our focus shifts from beyond ourselves to altruism, liberation from egocentricity, and the ultimate unity of a being.
“Transcendence refers to the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness, behaving and relating, as ends rather than means, to oneself, to significant others, to human beings in general, to other species, to nature, and to the cosmos.”(The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, New York, 1971, p. 269.)
It is the act of transcending past one’s own ego and living a life of giving to others.
“At the level of self-actualization, the individual works to actualize the individual’s own potential [whereas] at the level of transcendence, the individual’s own needs are put aside, to a great extent, in favor of service to others”“Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research, and Unification.” Koltko-Rivera
Many of you would describe your life purpose as a form of helping the world, helping others, building community, making an impact or creating a change. This falls directly in line with moving past self-actualization.
Many people who volunteer or help others for the first time in a long time, reflect on this feeling of joy and happiness they got from helping others. This is the feeling that Maslow is referring too with transcend.
The best leaders amongst us have reached a deep level of emotional awareness (self-actualization) and have begun practising the daily acts of leadership, through coaching, mentoring, giving and guiding and thus entering self-transcendence.
…the real aim of human existence cannot be found in what is called self-actualization. Human existence is essentially self-transcendence rather than self-actualization. Self-actualization is not a possible aim at all; for the simple reason that the more a [person] would strive for it, the more [they] would miss it. For only to the extent to which [people] commit [themselves] to the fulfillment of [their] life’s meaning, to this extent [they] also actualize [themselves.] In other words, self-actualization cannot be attained if it is made an end in itself, but only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.”Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
Taking one out of Tim Ferris’ books, he writes a weekly blog sharing a few things about what he’s doing currently, so here are mine.
What I’m reading –
Currently reading Seth Godin’s “Free Prize Inside” Marketing book. It hypothesizes that there are diminishing returns on traditional advertising as marketing methodologies. We can’t seem to think that our problem is that people simply haven’t heard about us, but instead that we’re missing the “free prize inside.” Using the example of how cereal box advertisers started including prizes in their boxes as a differentiator, you want the cereal he said, but you bought it for the prize. What’s the free prize inside in your business?
What I’m listening to –
Currently listening to The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. Its simple hypothesis is that we often fail because we try and do too many things. The most successful businesses and people focus on ONE thing. Google dominates search. Yes, they have other products and provide other services, but they established dominance by focusing on ONE thing. Multi-tasking is a scientifically proven lie, so stop doing it now. Ask yourself each day, what’s the ONE thing I need to do today. Ask this every week, every month and every year. When you genuinely dig deep, there indeed is only ONE thing.
Who I’m following on Instagram –
I’ve been loving Garyvee lately. I wasn’t always a huge fan of his aggressive style, but I’ve found some sanity in his words as I’ve been hustling away and trying to figure out this how digital marketing, social media, and leadership speaker thing.
Quote I’m pondering –
“Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.” John Galsworthy
What I’m watching –
YouTube. I never used to watch YouTube. Honestly never got into following people and well I and pop culture were never really a thing. However, as I’m getting more involved in the art of video creation, my team has requested that I start watching more YouTube to immerse myself in the culture and understand the style. So lately I love Ryan Serhant’s channel; check this video out: STOP WASTING TIME ON THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL | Ryan Serhant Vlog #51
Cause I’m supporting –
I always have, will continue to still support the empowerment of youth in sparking remarkable change. I’ll be keynoting on May 2nd at the annual Boys and Girls Clubs of Ottawa Breakfast fundraiser, and I’m excited to share the story of how this small community changed my family’s life.
Person I’m learning more about –
Myself. I’ve taken a very introspective month. Reflecting on my habits, my thoughts, my mindsets, and my approach to things. I have so much to learn, but I’m always astonished at how much more awareness I still have to gain. My fears, limiting beliefs, and triggers play a subconscious role that I’ve merely been working on making conscious. The first step is to recognize when it’s happening.
But also; just recently finished Barrack Obama’s Biography and I loved it.
The secret to getting better performance out of yourself and others?
Breaking news: The Carrot and Stick method doesn’t work for attaining peak performance.
So what does?
Trust your team and give them the freedom to be self-directed. To own decisions and direction of projects. Empower them to experiment and create their roadmaps, for them to make changes based on the new knowledge they’ve acquired. You should have hired people better than you, and if that’s true, than why are you still telling them how to do it?
Autonomy also applies to you. Give yourself the freedom and get out of the “should” and “shouldn’t” dos of life.
Traditional notions of management have utterly failed at giving autonomy. For example, look at the brain drain that’s happening in government departments.
You like getting better at what you do. So does your team. You have fun learning and growing and mastering your craft. Growth mindset teams perform the best. You like a challenge, something that’s just out of reach, where you’ll have to grow to reach it.
Inherently peak performers want to be the best, and the simple act of getting better keeps them motivated. Create room for growth. Create an opportunity for learning. Learning requires the chance to experiment with new ideas and that inherently means failing.
The mastering of their craft is how you help create peak performers.
You’re about to tell me that you’ve heard this one before. You probably have, but what have you done about it?
Adding meaning and purpose to your work allows you to integrate your work with your life, instead of seeking ‘balance.’ Seeking time away from work continually shows that it may not necessarily be aligned with your life purpose.
Your team wants to feel that work is personally important to them. Team members must think that their work matters and creates change and impact.
It’s surprising what can happen to average teams who put in place these three simple rules.