Recently I have read the book “Choose Yourself” by James Altucher. It’s a funny, provoking, and inspiring book. Altucher shares ideas and personals experiences (great success and great failures) to help you reach real success (personal happiness and health) and outward success (fulfilling work and health).
One of the ideas that surprised me a lot was what Altucher names as “The 7 habits of highly effective mediocre people”. He considers himself mediocre. He thinks not everyone can be a star, a world-class performer in his activity. In his own words, he considers that “aiming for grandiosity is the fastest route to failure”. And I cannot agree more. There are thousands of self-help books that promise you to achieve greatness… but, in my humble opinion, only a few people can reach the top in their professional discipline. So it means, the rest of us can only aspire to become successful mediocre professionals. If you know you are not going to be world-class in your activity but you want to be happy leading a successful and mediocre life, Altucher gives the following recommendations.
- Procrastination. According to Altucher, “procrastination is your body telling you that you need to back off a bit and think more about what you are doing”. He also recommends figuring out why are you procrastinating. Sometimes procrastination can be a sign that you are a perfectionist, that you don’t enjoy what you are doing… Listen to your body, it is trying to tell you something.
- Zero-tasking. Altucher explains that “there’s a common myth that great people can multitask efficiently”. Probably some top people can multitask, but the majority of us cannot. So, it’s much better to single-task. And Altucher also recommends zero-tasking. Doing nothing and having free time quite often.
- Failure. Most mediocre people will often fail. Not always fail, but often, The important idea is not to repeat the same mistakes. And learning how to deal with the psychology of failure. “Keep failing until you accidentally no longer fail”.
- Not original. The majority of us, usually don’t have original ideas. Sometimes, the best option for mediocre professionals is to not trying to be original, but follow older ideas, copy the good ones, transform them, combine them… Don’t get obsessed with originality. For most professionals, it is a luxury out of our hands.
- Poor networking. Some mediocre professionals spend a lot of time networking instead of working and running the business. Not everyone has the same skills for successfully networking and, some of them, network too much and avoid other important responsibilities to empower their business.
- Do anything to get a “yes”. Getting a “yes” is one of the most important actions of a professional. The ability to sell and negotiate will be very important for your success and happiness. And at the end, it is (in part) a numbers game. So keep trying looking for the “yes”.
- Poor judge of people. Some people say they have a special instinct to form correct judgments about people in a few seconds. Maybe some outstanding people can have this skill. But most mediocre people don’t. So make sure you specifically don’t trust your first instincts. Most of the time can be wrong and can lead you to take the wrong decisions.
Most people think that being mediocre is bad. People overestimate themselves. So, “don’t let overestimation get in the way of being happy and successful”. So I highly recommend you to accept your mediocrity (I did it many years ago) as a way to empower your leadership and your personal brand. As Altucher says “being honest at every level is really the most effective habit of all if you want to have massive success”.