One of the most popular ideas in personal development is that all successful people have achieved mastery. Many of us believe in this false notion that you have to master a skill to achieve career success.
That’s because we, as a society, admire and glorify winners. We look at billionaires, champions, gold medalists, and other outliers. I must admit, there are many lessons we can learn from people who are masters at one particular skill.
But at the same time, it’s very daunting. Let’s be real, not everyone wants to spend 10 or 20 thousand hours to master a skill. We all have other things we value in life: Our family, friends, hobbies, health, you name it.
So when people write books and articles about outliers, we might get inspired, but from a practical point of view, the advice is useless. Not because we can’t apply the advice—most of the time, we don’t WANT to.
Do you ever feel like you’re completely lost in a world that keeps on racing? The world moves fast. One moment you’re excited about a new opportunity, and the other moment you feel totally hopeless for no particular reason.
And if that’s not bad enough, there’s so much noise in the world that we lose sight of what we’re doing. It’s not uncommon to think, “Wait, what was I supposed to do on this planet?”
Look, we all get distracted. The world’s a weird place. And people ask me about how we can get clarity all the time. One reader recently sent me this email:
“Love to hear you talk about how to get clarity and minimize distractions and noise around us. What techniques do you employ to find that focus?”
It’s a good question that got me thinking. And if I look at how I get clarity in my life, there’s only one technique I use.
About four years ago I decided to read 100 new books a year. I’ve kept up that habit until recently.
I stopped reading two new books a week because I forgot almost everything I learned more than a year earlier. And there’s no way you can remember even a quarter of a book you read three years ago.
I made this discovery this year when I started worrying about random things in my life. I thought, “Didn’t I deal with this issue years ago?”
And I was right, I’ve read a lot about worrying, I’ve coached people, and I even wrote a book about it. But I’m not a machine—I’m not immune to the challenges that we all face. No one is.