The occurrence of certain successes in your career depends on a number of variables, including your skills, work ethic, circumstances, personal reputation, and so forth. However, this article will quickly showcase an approach to increasing the number of those triumphs and your recognition for them. Take my writing with a grain of salt—although the style in this piece is very matter-of-fact, its first half is primarily intended to provoke while the second half aims to inform.
Our wins and losses are dictated by a host of factors but the question that deserves the most attention concerns the games we play. When choosing a field you plan to make a name for yourself in or when selecting a line of business, consider the three scenarios that can result: great victory, moderate success, or utter defeat. While the last one is humiliating in almost all cases, choosing an endeavor where the first one is constrained in one way or another will limit your ability to obtain a coveted result. That being said, shrewd strategy can carry you very far in life. By making advantageous decisions and playing games where the upside is the greatest, you increase your odds of success. For that reason, becoming a salaried employee at an established company makes sense if you are looking for job security and other benefits, less so if you want to make millions of dollars quickly.
Another pitfall to avoid is the masochistic hustler mindset exhibited by certain individuals interested in attaining wealth, fame, or power. These people often congratulate themselves for the sleepless nights endured and the countless emails sent, and although it can be impressive if it results in some sort of substantial achievement, you risk looking foolish without one. Make a conscious effort to focus on excelling by the relevant metrics the world cares about and rewards people based on—in business, those would be earnings, revenue, and the growth rate of either of those. Most of your idols have already earned the wealth and glory you desire, and there is but little sympathy for the perennial upstart. As a small-time businessman, this can be uncomfortable to digest—however, by shifting your attention to aggressively pursuing intermediate goals in the short or medium term you can achieve your grand ambitions in a gradual manner. Keep in mind that the world rewards individuals for winning, not competing.
Winning requires that you pay careful attention to your daily actions and do not allow yourself to deviate from the plans and schedules you’ve established. Additionally, you need to put time aside to think and analyze long-term strategy in addition to your daily operations. Those sessions can yield you fantastic ideas that will allow you to outrun your competition when implemented correctly. Devising ways and means of earning more money or creating new things fits the definition of a skill, and you will perfect it over years and decades of practicing it.
Personally, I find writing about money quite vulgar but it’s necessary here because that’s what we’re interested in, after all. If you’re looking for additional streams of income, you ought to analyze your situation very carefully. As you might have already guessed from what I have written so far, I am obsessed with the idea of inventing, outwitting, and strategizing your way to glory. In other words, one’s career is the sum total of the figurative golden eggs laid by the person in question. How, then, does one lay golden eggs of higher quality and in larger quantities?
The first half of this piece might have falsely given you the impression that there is something shameful about working hard—that is only the case if the labor is a brute-force approach to a problem that can be solved more efficiently and effectively with some organized planning. As a knowledge worker, your earning power is determined by the strength of your mind, and there are conscious actions you can undertake that will enhance your intelligence. Although you can improve your memory, analytical skills, reasoning, and creativity, you need to pay attention to becoming an original thinker, as well—shrewdness and savviness are difficult to teach, and some individuals obtain these capacities more effortlessly than others. In any case, intelligent hard work is in almost all cases a precondition for success, and you ought to spend a fraction of your time to learn and better perform your core function at other times.
Enhancing your mind comes from mastering the fundamentals—a customized well-balanced diet, moderate physical exercise, and sufficient rest will lubricate your higher faculties and delay possible cognitive decline. Once the basics have been taken care of, you ought to move on to more advanced things like nootropics and certain types of medication, all consumed under the watchful eye of a licensed physician. Do your own research, and accurately evaluate the relationship between risk and reward before undertaking any kind of action that can impact your health.
This type of approach applies equally well to maintaining and balancing your energy and creating enthusiasm in your daily work. Analyze the quality of your sleep, tweak little things, and reap big gains to feel better and perform more effectively during the day. Additionally, consider pursuing other things like deep breathing, meditation, or possibly yoga to improve your well-being.
The habits and individual actions that together constitute your behavior will compound geometrically over time and largely determine your identity and future course of life. Although I enjoy challenging the idea of competing just for the sake of provocation, realize that winning does indeed sometimes come from working hard and grinding it out. However, radically different results stem from radically different actions, and emulating others will likely produce a somewhat similar result. I hope to have reminded you that strategy, thinking, and cunning are equally important in your quest for success as the long hours you are so proud of.
Anthony Simola is CEO of Simola Technologies Inc. and author of “The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement,” released by ST Press in the March of 2015.