I want to talk about mythical “unicorns” — people who are so good at what they do, you almost cannot believe it.
These people exist. When I was younger and an arrogant, stupid 20-something guy, I couldn’t believe someone could actually be better than me at something.
Then I grew up and learned the meaning of being humbled.
- In high school, two real lawyers coached our mock trial team. We’d be stumped on what to say, and they would smile, take a 5-second glance at our paper, then give us a totally improvised, word-perfect 3-minute speech with zero “ums” “uhs” and “ahs.” It was riveting. It was amazing. It made me realize I wasn’t the great orator I thought I was.
- In college, I spent 40 hours/week on my introductory programming class. One night, I was sitting in the lab, 4 hours into a problem set, when my friend walked in, sat down, read the prompt, put his hands behind his head, TOOK A NAP FOR 15 MINUTES, then woke up and finished the problem set in about 20 minutes. I wanted to die.
These experiences felt bad in the short-term, but were AMAZING in the long term.
It would have been easy to mope around and say, “I’ll never be as good as they are.”
But I looked at it a different way: It was awe-inspiring to see someone performing at a level I didn’t even think was possible.
Fast forward a few years, and as part of my Zero to Launch program, I recorded a video where I took someone’s sales copy…and rewrote it on the spot. The reaction:
Here’s the video they’re talking about, where I rewrote someone’s copy on the spot.
I love studying the best of the best. Basketball players, CEOs, movie characters…I don’t care. What I learned is this: The #1 players are 10x-100x better than the #2 people. They know more, they’ve seen more, and they’re masterfully adept at reacting to novel situations that would cripple mere mortals. While everyone else fights over scraps, masters play an entirely different game.
This is true in sports, in business, and even in personal life.
Masters get disproportionate rewards. For example, I don’t charge 2x or 5x my competitors. I often charge 100x — and get it.
I’ve told you that 2014 is The Year of Unapologetic Mastery, and this week, we’re going to look at greatness. Who are the masters that influenced me? What makes someone 100x as good as another person? What can you do to reach that level?
But first, I want to hear from you. Tell me about ONE master you met. It could be in any industry. A master car mechanic…the person at work who always seems to be 3 steps ahead at defusing tension…anything.
Share your story of ONE example of mastery you’ve encountered in the comments below.
P.S. Talk to you tomorrow with more on mastery. This week is one of my favorite topics.
P.P.S. Ask Me Anything! Today, at 3pm Eastern, I’m doing an “AMA-style” interview on Lifehacker. This “Ask the Expert” session is all about starting an online business. So if you want to ask me anything about starting an online business, join me at www.lifehacker.com at 3pm Eastern today (Monday 5/5).