When it comes to what you accomplish in life, how can you be extraordinary? In this post we are going to look at some habits and traits of people who get an incredible amount accomplished.
What often separates “good” from “great” is the ability to push just a little harder, to try a few more times, and not to give up just a little longer. If 99% of people will give up after trying something 99 different ways, trying it one more time may very likely put you in the 1% that get extraordinary results. I’ve been in a lot of situations where my success had nothing to do with being skillful and everything to do with being stubborn.
Years ago, I worked in the IT department of a hospital. I was the college kid they hired to do the things that no one else had time to figure out. That meant that I really didn’t have anyone to go to for help if something didn’t work. I remember one time where I had driven to one of the remote hospitals to try to set up a server running an operating system I had never seen before. (That may not sound like a big deal now for people familiar with the step-by-step on-screen instructions from Windows, but it wasn’t always that easy.) Anyway, I had a stack of 25 floppy disks, the server, and no instructions or really any idea how it was supposed to work.
I tried for about half a day and didn’t really get anywhere. The next day I returned and tried again. Finally at the very end of the day, I got it working–there were only so many combinations to try. I was so excited as I headed home that I forgot to check the gas gauge on the car and ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere.
Aside from running out of gas and having to endure the rest of the department making fun of me for the next few weeks, I was able to get everything working correctly–not by any great skill on my part, but by not giving up.
Perseverance is important, but without planning, it may result in just doing the same thing over and over again. No matter how stubborn you are about it, you won’t be able to run through a brick wall. Trying 100 times isn’t going to help you achieve anything other than getting hurt. It has to be coupled with good, thoughtful planning and asking such questions as, “If X didn’t work, maybe Y will.” In other words, perseverance without engaging your mind is often useless.
You can usually recognize someone who is good at perseverance and planning. If you show them a problem, they will come up with 10 solutions off the top of their head to try out. This is because they are used to actively engaging the problem. They have the perseverance to expect that the first solution may not solve the issue, and the planning ability to actually come up with alternative solutions to try.
3. Developing a toolset and skills
The final component of getting extraordinary results in life comes down to making sure you have the mental tools necessary to succeed. It means having a willingness to invest in yourself in ways that may not have a short-term, immediate benefit. Examples include things like pursuing educational opportunities and practicing.
Most people think of educational opportunities as taking classes, but that is just the beginning. There are a lot of ways to achieve education, and some can be as simple as talking to the people around you with an ear toward learning from them. You can educate yourself by picking up a magazine from a different field. You can educate yourself by reading books.
There are three traits that can help you go from average to well above average. What are your thoughts? Do you have anything you think should be on the list that I missed? If so please add it in the comments.