How Being Brutally Honest With Yourself Is The Real Secret To Success
We all have an inner resistance.
Great author Seth Godin is known to mention this in many of his books. Once we acquire certain habits, systems or ways of doings things, we don't want to go back.
Many times, what allowed us to achieve success in an area of our life is not what will allow us to achieve success the next time. Some areas require us to expand our efforts every single time.
Most of the time, this manifests as just not wanting to do or change something. We resist new work and perspectives and keep doing what we've always done, even if we suspect inside that it doesn't have any effect anymore.
If we want to raise our standards, be it to create great work, have better relationships or whatever it may be, it's imperative we are crystal clear with ourselves.
We need to cut through the mist, eliminate the resistance and ask ourselves, what am I being terrible at? What am I being excellent at?
Given a certain task, be it working out, public speaking or redacting a document, if your performance is average on that task, chances are you're not average on all parts of that task. Most likely, you do certain parts of it in an excellent manner and some in a terrible manner.
Let's say you want to build muscle so you develop a weight lifting routine and a nutrition plan. If your results are average, you might be led to think that your lifting routine is average and your nutrition is also average.
While that may be probable, there will be certain aspects that you are doing in a brilliant manner and others that you are doing terribly. The excellent aspects are canceling the terrible ones, and leaving you with mediocrity.
You have to be able to ask yourself, “If I were being impartial, what would I say that I do terribly and amazingly?” By doing this, you move away from having just a generic, mediocre measure of what your performance is, and you can see which dimensions you are excellent or terrible at.
This judgment and capability to be brutally honest with oneself comes to light, for instance, when sprinting.
It's a common occurrence for entrepreneurs or startup founders to work relentlessly for a given period, be it a week, a month or more.
In this kind of situation, where you have to act your best and ambiguity isn't allowed, it becomes clear what you are excellent at and terrible at.
The point I would argue is that in order to be great, be it in business, or any other area of your life, you have to be able to be brutally honest with yourself. Explore the smaller tasks or activities you are excellent at and terrible at and then kill off the weak parts of yourself.
Naturally, human beings get comfortable and tend to tolerate more mediocrity and ambiguity. So it's not a matter of being brutally honest with yourself once in your lifetime; it's a matter of frequency.
Every time you stop getting crystal clear on the concepts, make that clarification again. Sometimes you need to “get real” as often as once a week. It all depends on the area of your life you're tackling and the level of demand.
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