17 Counterintuitive Things The Most Successful People Do
You’re always going to get the same results, doing what everyone else does. Sometimes you have to know when to zig where others zag. These are some of the counterintuitive lessons I’ve learned and applied from the most successful folks I’ve met.
- Pick Fights – to test others’ resolve in their own beliefs. In business you can’t turn over the reins to someone who doesn’t know how to defend their own ideas and plans.
- Isolate Yourself – to reenergize. Many seemingly extroverts are introverts. If you recharge when by yourself, you need to seek out isolation from time to time.
- Purposefully Offend – sometimes the only way to get someone’s attention is to call him or her out. But, you can always positively turn the relationship around with persistence and some mea culpa. Tech entrepreneur Jason Calacanis is a master of this.
- Hyper Self-Critical – of your own standards and choices. I once watched George Carlin berate himself on stage, in a rehearsal standup performance, for missing the timing of one of his jokes by a few seconds. He nailed the follow-up HBO special.
- Peacock – don’t give others the option not to see you or hear your message. The pick-up lesson from “The Game” applies to business as well. Nobody buys a product they’ve never seen. (TIP: more of my thoughts on marketing and publicity).
- Repeat Mistakes – enough times until you really learn the lesson. Sometimes, mistakes do need to be repeated if the payoff is big enough. We hardly ever learn anything truly worthwhile after one try.
- Seek Out Rejection – to get desensitized to the fear of it. Once we lose the fear of rejection we more easily go after what we want, and thus get more of it. (TIP: more details in the 5 Steps Sales Process)
- Ignore Consensus – when your own data and foresight is convincingly contrary to the wisdom of the crowd (like Jobs, MLK, Gandhi). Consensus bonds us together and creates harmony, but it rarely moves us forward. Progress sometimes has to come at the hands of an individual’s decisive disruption.
- Expect Nothing – in return for helping your peers. Karma points are dispersed unexpectedly over decades, not in a scorecard of dollars.
- Quit – those endeavors you’ll never win at, and take a new swing at the plate. Don’t double down on a losing effort by not knowing when to walk away. (TIP: watch How to Make the Right Business Decisions)
- Play Possum – with your competitors. Don’t be so eager to show off your strengths until it’s the perfect time to strike. If rope-a-dope worked for The Champ, it will for you too.
- Get C’s instead of A’s – if you excel in non-traditional environments (like entrepreneurs) & can justify the opportunity cost of your time. Oddly enough, more of the C students I went to school with, employ our A student classmates, than vice versa. (TIP: I explain this point in more detail in video here)
- Become Indifferent to Slights – because time and energy are too valuable to waste on petty matters. Attention being paid to wounds of our ego is precious energy diverted from achieving our goals. You can win the argument, or win the game. I know what I’d choose.
- Self-Sabotage – yourself when you find yourself mired in complacency. Don’t ever get too comfortable with the status quo, always be willing to blow it up and start all over again to truly create something better.
- Abstain from Work – which others can do for you. Delegate every task that others can do 80% as well as you, and focus on those items that only you can achieve that have big payoffs. (TIP: focus on The One Most Important Thing)
- Plot & Scheme – your next couple moves ahead. If you don’t see the whole landscape of the playing field, you’re bound to get sideswiped. Know where you’re going far in advance of making your first move.
- Underestimate Demand – for your products and services. Don’t ever assume people want what you got, and you’ll always have the appropriate amount of urgency and hustle to validate what you’re trying to achieve. (TIP: don’t fall into the trap of the #1 Reason Why Businesses Fail)