4 Ways High Achievers Think Differently
Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Steve.
Steve was born to immigrant parents from Eastern Europe.
He had a lot of difficulty adjusting to society as a kid.
He was ashamed that his family was different from everybody else’s. And because they were different, he got smacked and kicked around in school.
He was used to getting bloody noses.
Steve liked to make movies. He would make little films using his dad’s old camera for his Boy Scout group.
Everybody loved it.
And in high school, he would write movie scripts for fun which he and his friends would act out on video.
Steve dreamt of going to film school. As he was graduating high school, he applied to one of the best film programs in LA.
But his grades were terrible. So he got rejected. He had to settle for another school that didn’t have a good film program.
While in college, he got a job as an unpaid clerk at Universal Studios. He had to do a lot of grunt work that nobody else wanted to do.
But Steve didn’t want to settle for that.
So every day, for three months in a row, Steve put on a suit, carried an empty briefcase, acted like he knew what he was doing, and strolled past the security guards onto the set where real movies were being filmed.
He made friends with some of the directors and editors.
He got to know what they liked, what they didn’t like, what their problems were, what they wanted, and just absorbed the atmosphere in general.
And one day, when the time was right … he went for it.
Steve made a 26 minute film and sent it to one of the editors at Universal Studios. And that editor was so impressed with it that he sent it all the executives.
And then finally…
Steven Spielberg was given a seven-year directing contract with Universal Studios. He was the youngest director ever to get a deal like that in Hollywood.
Almost everyone who builds an incredible career breaks the “rules” at some point.
Alex Banayan interviewed some of the world’s most successful people — like Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg, and more — to find out the patterns in how they launched their careers.
And here’s what he found…
“[All highly successful people] treat life, business, and success… just like a nightclub.
There are always three ways in.
There’s the First Door, where 99% of people wait in line,hoping to get in.
There’s the Second Door, where billionaires and royalty slip through.
But then there is always, always… the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, climb over the dumpster, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, and sneak through kitchen. But there’s always a way in.
Whether it’s how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software, or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest director at a major studio in Hollywood — they all took the Third Door.” — Alex Banayan
Many of us dream about jumping out of bed every morning, excited to get to work. We would LOVE to look forward to Mondays instead of living for the weekend.
It’s easy to look at these top performers and others who have dream jobs that the rest of us would kill for, and dismiss them as being “the lucky few.”
But in reality, it’s more achievable than you might think. After studying the best of the best and helping hundreds of people land incredible job offers, I learned that crafting a remarkable career isn’t about whether you’re “lucky” or not.
It’s about mindset.
Here are 4 ways high achievers people think differently.
1. They’re not realistic, they alter their reality instead
Your reality is based on your perception. And your perception is a function of what you’ve been exposed to.
You can alter your reality by exposing yourself to more experiences.
A kid from a poor family might think it’s unrealistic to get a job a company like Microsoft because he hasn’t seen anyone do it.
A girl from a middle class family might think it’s unrealistic to build a million dollar business because she hasn’t seen anyone do it.
A millionaire might think it’s unrealistic to be a billionaire because he hasn’t seen anyone do it.
If you don’t know what it takes to get to the place you want to go, that dream is unrealistic for you.
But you can alter that reality by taking time to understand what goes into those dreams.
Read books. Listen to podcasts. Consume as much information as you can from the people you admire. Surround yourself with the people you want to be like.
You’ll eventually start to think like them. And eventually, their reality will be yours.
2. They don’t try to “find their passion”
“Passion isn’t found. It’s cultivated.” — Cal Newport
We’ve been taught for our whole lives that if we just think hard enough, if we just deliberate long enough, if we just do enough “soul searching”, then we’ll find our passion — and everything else will become clear.
Not true at all.
I had so many different interests early on.
I liked to write, read, research, create things, make things more efficient, and solve problems — just to name a few.
What job would tie all of those in?
Maybe law? Medicine? Lab research? Computer programming? Marketing?
What if I chose marketing, realized I hated it, and wanted to do something totally different later?
Ugh. It was all so confusing.
Many of us find ourselves in this position at some point, and we procrastinate on choosing a direction because we’re afraid of picking the wrong one.
The truth is, there is no “right” or “wrong” decision.
Pick something that sounds interesting and get good at it. Then, you’ll become passionate.
3. They use imposter syndrome to their advantage
The New York Times came out with this article a while ago, examining why people from certain groups do better than others economically.
It may not be politically correct to say it, but the truth is that Asian people are more successful than everyone else on average.
“Indian-Americans earn almost double the national figure (roughly $90,000 per year in median household income versus $50,000). Iranian-, Lebanese- and Chinese-Americans are also top-earners.” — NY Times
The biggest reason for this, according to the NY Times, is cultural. The groups that are more successful than others have 3 common characteristics:
- A superiority complex
- Some insecurity, or a feeling that you’re not good enough at what you do
- Impulse control
The combination of believing that you can get to almost wherever you want to be, having discipline, and having insecurity about where you are is the formula for a successful, impactful career.
Embrace that feeling of inadequacy.
4. They don’t outsource their success to other people
A prominent venture capitalist in Silicon Valley once decided to work at a coffee shop for a month.
Imagine that. Here was an insanely successful CEO standing behind a cash register. He was taking people’s orders and serving them coffee.
Most people would never even think about doing such an “unglamorous” job.
But he wanted to learn about the operations of the shop from the inside. Hewanted to understand the logistics, the systems, the bottlenecks, theinefficiencies, how often customers show up, and more.
Most people think that working at a place like McDonald’s or Starbucks is objectively bad, while working at a big brand name company is objectively good in terms of getting future success.
But in reality, a company is only as good as you make it.
For someone who worked at McDonald’s to study the operations of the business, the logistics, managements strategies, etc to open a franchise business later on, working at a fast food joint would be an incrediblyvaluable experience.
On the other hand, someone who expects to be “set for life” after getting a job at a brand name company is probably screwed.
No job is objectively good or bad. It’s what you make of it.
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