Trying to the absolute best in any one area is nearly a pointless pursuit. It’s naturally intriguing to our competitive nature. Trying to be the best satisfies our need for glory, adulation and a feeling of superiority.

The problem with trying to be the best is that you are probably not special. You will have to rely on passion to keep you motivated and out-work everyone else, especially the people who are more naturally inclined. Even that is way too simplistic of an equation. Of all the people that share your passion, the chance that you were born with:

  • A natural inclination toward your goal
  • You have the ability to outwork everyone
  • Have more time than everyone
  • The financial resources
  • The emotional support
  • The focus
  • The persistence
  • And every other factor that plays a role in being the best

It is highly unlikely that you have an advantage in enough areas to be the best. It’s just too many factors that need line up just right.On top of the odds of all these inputs lining up in your favor, you’re fighting the law of diminishing returns. In the long run, you will see less return on your effort. Getting to the 50th percentile is significantly easier than going from the 50th to 99th. Eventually, the amount of time you will have to put in to receive very marginal returns will start to feel like running in tar.

On top of the odds of all these inputs lining up in your favor, you’re fighting the law of diminishing returns. In the long run, you will see less return on your effort. Getting to the 50th percentile is significantly easier than going from the 50th to 99th. Eventually, the amount of time you will have to put in to receive very marginal returns will start to feel like running in tar.You will spend years of your life struggling toward a goal you may never achieve. There is a more efficient path to achieving great things. It is easier to become a top 1% performer by combining a strong grasp of several skills than to be excellent at one. My suggestion is to aim for the 80th percentile in a few areas that you’re interested in. You will have more fun if you get to work on different skills and aren’t pigeoned holed into one for the rest of your life and you won’t waste years trying to make a 1% leap.

You will spend years of your life struggling toward a goal you may never achieve. There is a more efficient path to achieving great things. It is easier to become a top 1% performer by combining a strong grasp of several skills than to be excellent at one. My suggestion is to aim for the 80th percentile in a few areas that you’re interested in. You will have more fun if you get to work on different skills. You aren’t pigeoned holed into one for the rest of your life and you won’t waste years trying to make a 1% leap.

Being in the 80th percentile in three skill sets makes you better than 99.2% of every human, on earth, at those three things. Adding a fourth skill where you are in the 80th percentile makes you better than 99.8% every human at those four things. For reference, out of the world’s roughly 7,475,000,000 people, that makes you better than 7,460,050,000 at those four skills. If that’s the case, you are in an unique position to be able to make a difference in your areas of expertise.

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