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Two Types of Excellence | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/08/10/excellence/

scotthyoung.com

Two Types of Excellence | Scott H Young
Is success more about being the best, or finding your own way? Nature offers a surprising analogy to how we think about excellence in our own lives.

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Types of excellence

Types of excellence

Excellence is worth pursuing more than money or status. However, the idea of excellence holds a subtle distinction.

  • Excellence can be considered as a universal standard. To get 99% is more excellent than 90%. We line up everything and measure them against a common yardstick.
  • Excellence can be thought of as a niche. The whale isn't better than a butterfly in a meaningful way. They need to follow different strategies to survive.

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The excellence you're trying to pursue

As a whole, our working lives are more like niches. There are numerous professions, but the path for success in many professions are extremely narrow.

The more defined a field, the narrower the relevant dimension of competition.

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Excellence: Different overall winning strategies

  • For big spaces, the problem is exploration. Finding the right combination of elements is more important than becoming the best in a single skill.
  • As the space shrinks down, the problem is optimization. Excellence here is about winning and outperforming the competition.

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The paradox of narrow paths

The path to any particular destination is narrow, but there are countless possible options to follow.

At a general level, there are many niches you can find success in. But once you find a particular route, competition rises, and you're forced to focus on a few essential criteria.

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Excellence: between general and specific

  • At a general level, you have your values. A Buddhist monk and Olympic athlete pursue entirely different philosophies of life. Here, excellence has the most variety. With your particular philosophy, you can explore other niches. You can have a family, career, house. You could still become a doctor or artist.
  • At a specific level, your options narrow further. This is true in your profession, hobbies, and side-pursuits. You aim to get better, and are committed to improving on a narrow set of criteria.

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Attitudes of excellence

There are different attitudes needed for excellence, but they depend on the pursuit. Diverse niches require exploration, creativity, and experimentation. But once you focus on a pursuit, you need a mind for efficiency and courage when you face competition.

Attitudes for each are very different, and the ability to recognise where you are is key. Being able to shift attitudes as your pursuits mature is also critical for excellence.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Taking action = eventual success

Taking action = eventual success

Inaction is the biggest cause of our failures and our miseries. If we could consistently do the things we know we should do, we would be more successful, and our lives would be better. Yet w...

Explaining inaction

Some possible but weak reasons why action is hard:

  • Talent. But the world is full of brilliant stars that flame out and mediocre minds that build empires.
  • Preferences can explain our failure to try, but don't explain our inner struggles with inaction.
  • Capacity for effort. If your capacity for doing things is lower, it does not explain chronic bursts of activity with inevitable crashes in your goals and projects.
  • Motivation. Some people with the most reason have the hardest time taking action. 

Confidence

Motivation and expectation of success create a feedback loop:
  • Your motivation to complete a task depends on the value of the reward and your expectation of success. 
  • Your expectation of success depends on your motivation.

If your projects tend to fail, your expectations are low, and motivation fades. If your projects tend to succeed, your expectations go up, and motivation stays strong.

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Long-term flexible commitment

What many people fail at with long-term commitments is that they make their initial vision too rigid.

Flexible commitment can help overcome this by bringing together two pr...

Walk the Winding Path

  1. Stick to short commitments. Get good at this skill before going further.
  2. Understand your goal at different levels. The highest goal should be fairly abstract.
  3. Set a much more specific agenda of how I could fulfill this.
  4. Have periodic reviews where you can change your direction and incorporate new ideas. 
  5. Don't let your reviews interfere with the short-term process of committing.

The winding path: Goals and projects

Imagine your ambitions on two levels:
  1. A goal level, which is big-picture and abstract. It has just enough detail to inspire, but not so much that you're stuck pursuing things that don’t matter when conditions change. 
  2. Underneath that, have projects: these tend to be short-to-medium term efforts you think will help realize the larger goal.

The flexibility of the system comes once one leg of a short-term commitment has ended. This provides an opportunity for pivoting and redirecting.

Mentally Prepare

Think if you are willing to sacrifice your free time to struggle to establish a side hustle and if you can handle the consequences of it. 

If you are willing, develop a system of ...

Your Skills And Areas Of Interest

Acquire relevant skills, experience or industry knowledge necessary and ensure you have the passion and competence for what you are going to work on.

A good start is to monetize the skills you already have that are related to the side hustle you want to establish this. And if you lack key skills that relate to your interests or the side hustle you want to create, there's no better time than the present to learn them. 

Validate Your Side Hustle

Your side hustle idea may seem awesome and disruptive to you, but your potential customers will likely ignore it like most “brilliant ideas” or even not have a need for it. So, ensure you're not creating a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, as this is one of the top causes of startup failures.

You can do that with objective feedback from potential customers and asking them to join a waiting list, pre-purchase your solution or hire you as a service provider.