What separates the elite from the rest of society?
While the list of results speaks for themselves, the real question is what are those top performers doing that the rest of society isn’t?
No matter who you look at, the best of the best all hold a similar set of characteristics. And thankfully for everyone else, these are learned skills. There’s no advantage for introverts over extroverts. No nature vs. nurture. Even genetics rarely plays a role. No matter where you look, you can find people embodying a wide array of personality traits, each sitting at the top of their chosen fields.
What’s the secret then?
The most successful, those who achieve the most with their lives, all share 2 critical skills.
They know what to do.
The top achievers in our society understand what they do to add value to others. Whether that’s setting corporate vision, building new products, or throwing touchdowns. A top performer understands what they do to drive success for their organization, family, or team. And then they double down on fulfilling those key objectives and critical activities.
Look at what you are currently doing that adds value. Everyone does something of value. Whether that’s in your day job or at home with your family, everyone has the opportunity to improve the world around them.
After you identify the key actions and activities that you participate in that drive value, increase your personal worth by spending more time doing them. For example, the top performing sales people know that their value is increased exponentially by talking to potential clients. The more time spent speaking to clients, the better your results. That means less time spent on emails. Less time cold calling prospects. Less time attending internal meetings.
By refocusing those time savings into the true value-add conversations, a top performer can dramatically increase their results.
We all have tasks that need to be done, but really aren’t that valuable. Identifying those tasks, and either doing them faster, or delegating those tasks (if possible), frees up your time to really focus on the rain-making activities.
They have a relentless drive to improve.
The other universal trait of the uber-successful is their relentless drive to improve. Not just improve the world around them, but most importantly, to improve themselves. Reading books, taking courses, attending seminars. Anything that they can do to improve, even marginally, a top performer will do. And this is important. The improvements might not be dramatic, but the results certainly are.
The difference between #1 and # 100 in almost any activity is less than 1%. 1% slower, and you start at the back of the race-track line up. 1% slower and you might not even qualify to compete.
But the flip is also true. If you improve yourself by just 1%, you will make huge strides over and above the competition.
What does 1% look like?
There are 24 hours a day. That’s 1,440 minutes. You have them. I have them. The best in your chosen field has those same 1,440 minutes.
If you want to approach the top in your field, start with using just 1% of those minutes to improve yourself.
The most common objection to self improvement is the lack of time. So what is 1% of those 1,440 minutes each day?
For 15 minutes each day, you can become 1% better.
For 15 minutes each day, you can move from the middle of the pack to leading the pack. 15 minutes, 1% of your day, to change your life.
This month, spend 15 minutes a day, only 1% of your time, doing something to move the needle forward. I can guarantee that after just 1 month you’ll already see the results.
What is that 1% for you? 15 minutes a day playing an instrument? Reading a book? Jogging around the block? Learning a language? Settle on something that will make you better. A better contributor at work, a better spouse, or just better to the person you see in the mirror.