Entrepreneur, author, and blogger James Altucher has written a contrarian post about successful habits called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Mediocre People. The first person I heard use this provoking style was my first coaching mentor, Thomas Leonard. Thomas used to teach that to be attractive, you need to “become incredibly selfish.” He loved that selfish provokes a huge reaction. Thomas then drew the distinction between being selfish – taking care of your needs first – and self-centered – caring about yourself to the exclusion of others.
Here is a summary of Altucher’s thoughts:
- Procrastinate. As we posted recently, procrastination is your mind trying to tell you something. Figure it out and you can move forward effectively.
- Zero-task. We tend to want to multi-task. We often feel if we aren’t doing something, we are falling backward. But when was the last time you did nothing and just took time to think? Doing nothing can free your mind and allow you to be creative.
- Fail. Most of us aren’t Mark Zuckerburg or Bill Gates. We don’t succeed first time out the gate. Failure isn’t our enemy. It creates persistence, which is what most of us need to succeed.
- Be unoriginal. Solomon said “there is nothing new under the sun,” so why are you trying to find it? Most ideas are the combination of existing ideas combined with other existing ideas. That is something new. Russell Conwell, in Acres of Diamonds makes the point that there are riches right in our own backyard.
- Exercise poor networking skills. Entrepreneurs are working hard to keep their businesses going. When you are working 20-hour days, be extremely selfish and take care of yourself. You will have time later to network.
- Do anything to get a “yes.” Getting to a deal means others will have a stake in the outcome. You will also find opportunities you might not otherwise access without the association that comes from a “yes.”
- Be a poor judge of people. You don’t have to be a good judge of people. Rather, reserve judging them at all and get to know them. Going slow might take time, but the long-term result will be solid relationships that will sustain your businesses and causes.
Mediocrity in some areas of your life does not mean you have to be mediocre in all areas of your life. Attitude and persistence are the real habits of effective people. Everything else will work out.