- How you can go about discovering your interests, how you can acquire skills at the fastest rate possible, what the meaning of contribution is and, finally, how to increase your resilience so that you stick with it, you get over the hard things, you wipe the failures aside, and transform them into success until you get everything you want and then some.
- Interest is discovered, not introspected. So many people get this wrong.
- The way that you acquire skill is, obviously, through learning, through reading, through application of the things that you learn, through going to workshops, seminars, courses, schooling, although that’s probably my least favorite option. But knowledge does not equal skill.
- In order to practice properly, it has to stretch your ability. It has to take the maximum of your ability and try to push it a tiny bit further.
- The most important thing, is what’s called the “growth mindset.”
- One of the best things that you can do to increase your hope, your belief, your resiliency at any hard task is to enroll an outside person that’s good at it, that understands the territory, and that’s going to follow you, that’s going to push you on when you need pushing, and going to encourage you when you need that.
- Whenever you start, and you’re trying to get to somewhere that’s far away and that’s hard to do, there’s always a gap between where you are and where you want to be.
- Watch the video to get the full training.
- This is a MUST WATCH episode about how to 10X YOUR LIFE and don’t compare yourself to others
It’s Alex Goad, best selling author, coach, and small business specialist with the “10X Your Life” framework. Today, we’re going to continue on this idea of finding your flow.
Just to very quickly recap, in the last video, I showed you what the number one mistake was, which was to put passion first before all of this good stuff. And I showed you the right way to get a life of purpose, a life of flow and meaning, which is to find your interests, develop and practice your skills, make a useful contribution or a purposeful contribution and, finally, go at it with sufficient resilience that you keep going, keep going, keep going, until you make the virtuous cycle click for you.
Since there’s a lot of misconceptions about these four things, I’m going to elaborate in this video, shortly and briefly, how you can go about discovering your interests, how you can acquire skills at the fastest rate possible, what the meaning of contribution is and, finally, how to increase your resilience so that you stick with it, you get over the hard things, you wipe the failures aside, and transform them into success until you get everything you want and then some.
Let’s get started. The first point here is “Interest.” Here’s one of the most important things that you can know about interest, which is the following. Interest is discovered, not introspected. So many people get this wrong. They stay at home. They stay in their tiny, little environment, and they stay in their heads, and they stay with the same people, the same ideas, the same beliefs. And they sit there, and they think about what they may want to do, what might interest them, and they speculate, and they use their big, juicy brain to try to create all of these different scenarios and try to feel out, or think out, what’s going to interest them.
But all of the research shows, and all of the anecdotes that I’ve ever heard, show that interest is discovered rather than introspected, rather than thought out of the ether. Which means that if you want to know what your interests are, you need to get out there, you need to try different things. Sometimes you need to try things that seem very different from what you’ve ever tried or even opposed to things that have interested you in the past, because it’s through discovering new things and the way that they might combine together, that’s where you kind of get that, one day you get this flash that says, “This is the thing.” And if you keep looking, that’s how you find. But you can’t look up here. You have to look out there. Number one rule.
There’s a really good book on this topic called “Start with Why,” and it’s by Simon Sinek. In that book, he talks about the process or the way that you discover — he doesn’t call them “interests” — he called them “impact.” He has different terms for it but, essentially, what he says is that, at a young age, we are more connected to our natural instinct and natural interest than we are after the process of going through school and the process of having reality crammed down your throat for a sufficient number of years.
When we’re young, when we’re very young, we naturally feel attracted to certain things, and we naturally feel repulsed by certain things. But, then, when we try to go deeper on the things that interest us, a lot of the times, those things don’t necessarily mesh all that well with the established order of things and the mainstream way of doing things which is to go to school for a really long time so that you can have a boss, a profession, and not really like any of it so that, eventually, you can retire and be freed from the toil and hardship of work.
Well, I have another bottle to propose which is that, really, you need to reconnect with that interest of yours. And, here’s one of the ways that you start to go back into the past and figure out what were your natural instincts, what were your natural interests, before you started to suppress yourself, before you started to want to be really realistic and logical.
The way that you do it is, you start to remember stories. And you remember stories that from your earlier years, where you either felt passionate or really interested about something or repulsed by something. Or, you felt trapped, or you felt like you never want to do that again or you never want to be in that situation again. Or, maybe it’s something that you saw other people be in a situation. Maybe you saw other people suffering, and you thought, “That is terrible. I wish that I could prevent that. I wish that I could do something about it.” Or, maybe you saw animals going extinct or animals suffering, and you thought, “I can’t stand to see that. I need to do something about it.” And, maybe you’ve forgotten or repressed these things.
What you’ll see as you go through your stories is that you’ll start to have these feelings that are generated again, these very genuine feelings that come from the depths of your being before you started censoring your truth and your thoughts. Then, as you analyze those stories, you start to look at what is the impact that, when you had a positive story, made you feel great. What impact did you have? What contribution did you make? Or, what were you doing? Essentially, when you can answer that question, that’s going to point you towards areas of interest or areas of impact which will mesh with your natural wiring.
Essentially, you’re going to need to get out there. You’re going to need to explore. You should look at different processes. “Find Your Why” with Simon Sinek is a good one. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff out there, online and in the real world. But, essentially, the number one thing I can tell you is, “Don’t stay stuck in your head, and don’t be too attached to certain conclusions that you may have drawn about the world or about yourself, because you might find that when you reopen your mind completely, and you put every single option on the table that you may be able to do, and you start believing that maybe you could be one of the people that do those things, then it certainly does become possible for you.”
Let’s talk now about the acquisition of skill through “Practice.” The way that you acquire skill is, obviously, through learning, through reading, through application of the things that you learn, through going to workshops, seminars, courses, schooling, although that’s probably my least favorite option. But knowledge does not equal skill. In order to have skill, you need to acquire information or knowledge, but then you need to apply it so that, essentially, what happens is that this knowledge transforms your actions and behaviors. And it transforms them in a way where, at first, you’re able to create a small amount of value, and then you’re able to create a larger amount of value. You’re able to solve a bigger problem. You’re able to capture a larger opportunity. And, after doing this for a while, you’re experience starts to encompass so many different situations and so many different iterations of your area of expertise that you truly do become an expert and a resource and a person that’s able to create a lot out of a little.
So, how do you do that? The number one way to acquire skill is through what’s called “deliberate practice.” So, deliberate practice is a concept I can’t remember, and I’m not sure that we even know who made up the term or came up with it the first time, but the idea is that deliberate practice is not repetition. Repetition is doing the same thing over and over again. Whereas, deliberate practice is choosing one aspect of what you’re doing and really focusing on that one aspect and making it better every time you do it than it was the time before.
This is extraordinarily demanding intellectually because you’re not in a state of flow, necessarily. You’re more like trying to get better at something that you’re already good at. One of the measures that scientists have come up with is, when you’re trying to do something and you’re successful at it about 70% of the time because you’re not good enough yet to be successful 100% of the time, that’s the kind of magic zone of deliberate practice, because if you’re trying to do things where you’re successful less than 70% of the time, then eventually you get a lot of frustration, and the gap from where you are to where you’re trying to go might be too big, and it’s hard to close it, and it creates a lot of frustration and negative feelings. Whereas, if you’re successful a lot than 70%, if you’re successful 90% or 100% of the time, that’s not practice anymore. That’s repetition. You’re just repeating something that you already know how to do.
In order to practice properly, it has to stretch your ability. It has to take the maximum of your ability and try to push it a tiny bit further. As you push it further day by day, that’s how eventually you become world class at something you might not have been very good at, at all, to begin with.
Let’s move on to “Contribution” and “Purpose.” This is super important. Here’s the impact of this. I was reading this study that was done in a prominent university where they were having alumni get on the phone and collect money so that they could offer grants to students that couldn’t afford to go to that school. The alumni are collecting money from past students in order to offer scholarships to new students. Here’s the really, almost shocking, research that they did.
They found that when they showed to the people who were making the calls, when they showed them the impact of their work, when they showed them, for example, pictures of the new students smiling because they got accepted into the school because they’re getting a scholarship, when they showed letters of gratitude written by those students who received scholarships, when the people on the phones read those letters of gratitude and thanks, without doing anything to increase their skills, without feeling like they were working any harder, all of a sudden, they started making more calls, and they started raising more money per call.
In other words, seeing the result and the positive contribution of your work, of the application of your practice and your skills, is something that will automatically come and get you on the inside and make you want to do more of it, and make you feel good, too. Now, they went one step further in the study, and the people who were on the phone actually meet in person recipients of the scholarships. And, then, they would sit and have, I would assume, coffee or green tea, or probably kombucha these days. And they would talk. They would have an exchange about the impact on their life of having received that scholarship. And, so, when the people on the phone were able to meet those people in person and really interact with them and get a strong feeling for the good that they were doing in the world, for the impact that they were contributing, the amount of money raised went through the roof.
So, this is a really important clue as to our human nature, because a lot of our organizations or communities say that you should do anonymous charity and anonymous contribution just for the sake of contribution itself. And that certainly is better than not doing it. But what I’ll tell you is that if you do it not anonymously, it’s not about bragging, it’s about witnessing the impact that you have in the world, seeing the difference that you make. When you see that difference, nothing else will be as motivating as the witnessing of your impact upon the world. So, it’s important that you get to this stage and that if you’re writing, it’s important that you publish. Whatever it is that you create or that you change or that you transform, it’s important that that work doesn’t just stay inside of you, doesn’t just stay in a notebook, in a computer, but that it gets out there in the world where it can have an impact, and that you go out of your way to see what that impact is.
Finally, let’s move on to “Hope, Belief, Resilience.” Because, doing this is not easy. It’s not easy in the short term because it’s so much easier to just cop out, to watch another TV show, to do things the mainstream way, the easy way, to go have another drink with friends, instead of going out of your way to discover your interests, to practice things that are hard, and to make a contribution in the world. Long term, or medium term, it’s much easier to do this because once you’ve got this going, this is like the positive engine of your life. Once you’re in this virtuous cycle, you’re pretty much unstoppable. You have energy, you’re making money, you’re having an impact on the world, you’re feeling good, you’re feeling fulfilled, you’re kind of inoculated against stress, against anxiety, and life is good. It’s the most worthwhile thing that you can do, but it’s not easy. So, you’re going to need a lot of this to get through this.
The first thing, the most important thing, is what’s called the “growth mindset.” The growth mindset is a concept that was coined by the psychological researcher, Carol Dweck, who wrote this excellent, little book, called “Mindset.” In that book, what she shows is that something like 60% of people in the world have what’s called a “fixed mindset,” and approximately 40% of people in the world have a “growth mindset.” And what that means is that the people with a growth mindset feel like their level of skill, their level of intelligence, and what they’re capable of doing in the world, is flexible. If they develop it, it gets better. If they don’t develop it, it doesn’t get better. Whereas, the people with the fixed mindset – and keep in mind, this is most people – do not really believe deep down inside that their skill level can increase dramatically, that their intelligence level can increase, that their contribution level can increase.
There are processes, and they use these processes in schools where they give a one-hour class on the growth mindset, and then they follow those students for years, and even decades, afterwards. And what they’ve seen is that a one-hour crash course on changing your mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset made a tremendous difference for those students for the rest of their lives. If that’s not a compelling reason to get that book or to start thinking in terms of the fact that you are flexible, you can change, and yes, even your intelligence can be developed, and yes, you can go from having a fixed mindset to a growth mindset if you don’t have one already. So, don’t let any of this worry you. Just get started. Start working on it. When I discovered this, I found it to be one of the most liberating things in the world because I realized, “Look, it might not be easy, but it is possible, and that gives you permission to try, and try, and try again. And, if you try, and try, and try again, eventually you succeed, and everything starts working out.”
Number two, “Coaching” and “Accountability.” They say that everything measured improves, but everything coached improves even more. You want to see where you’re going to have exceptional performance in your life, much more so than in the other spheres? Look at what you get coached in. Look at what you have outside accountability for, and you’re going to see, that’s what you’re going to perform at.
One of the best things that you can do to increase your hope, your belief, your resiliency at any hard task is to enroll an outside person that’s good at it, that understands the territory, and that’s going to follow you, that’s going to push you on when you need pushing, and going to encourage you when you need that. And it’s going to be tremendously important because, let’s remember, the goal here is to stick with it long enough that you get into the virtuous cycle. That’s it.
Another one of the most important factors is something called “The Signal,” and this is a term that was coined by Daniel Coyle in “The Talent Code,” which is another excellent book. Essentially, what it shows is that people who tend to get to a top level of performance, they get there because they’re constantly exposed to what’s called “The Signal.” And the signal is kind of a combination of all of these three things. The signal comes from looking at and witnessing the thing that you find exciting.
For example, people that would become great at tennis, the signal for them is seeing a tennis player in a state of flow playing their best tennis ever. Or, it might be an up-and-coming tennis champion practicing, grinding it out on the court, even after they’re tired when they’re sweaty, they keep on missing, but they keep on trying again. That’s the signal. So, you have to find, “Where does the signal exist for what you want to accomplish?” It’s kind of like a beacon that’s going to call to you and that’s going to make you take another step forward, another step forward, and it’s going to become kind of like a guiding light so that even when everything is dark around you, and you can’t see the path, you can see the light, and you can keep on moving towards it. And that’s the goal.
The next quick concept that I want to share with you is called “The Gap.” This is a concept that was taught to me by my coach and mentor, Dan Sullivan, who’s the founder of Strategic Coach. Here’s what it comes down to. Whenever you start, and you’re trying to get to somewhere that’s far away and that’s hard to do, there’s always a gap between where you are and where you want to be. And if you spend a lot of time looking at that gap, it’s discouraging and demoralizing. Whereas, if you do the opposite and you look at the distance that you’ve traveled from your point of origin, so you look back and you see all of the progress that you’ve made, that’s a much more encouraging and psychologically healthy way of looking at things. So, that’s what top performers do. They look at their progress, and they make themselves happy that way, rather than looking at everything that’s still to do and being discouraged by it.
Next, and I’m going to spend very short seconds on this, is “Belonging” and “Interaction.” We talked about it during the contribution segment, but it’s one of the things that will keep you going. It’s one of the things that will give you a feeling of motivation, a feeling of purpose, a feeling of meaning. And that’s the kind of thing that makes you get up in the morning, that makes you overcome those obstacles.
And, finally, last but not least, is “Support.” You’re going to need support. You’re going to need support from peers. You’re going to need support from people that have been there, done that. You’re going to need support from friends and loved ones. The number one best thing that you can do, as you’re doing this, when it gets hard, when it gets discouraging, raise your hand and ask for help. Ask for help and recruit help and assistance before you even need it. The more of it you have, the more likely you are to keep going and to reach all of your goals and objectives smoothly.
That covers our subject for today. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it. Once again, I’m Alex Goad, telling you that, “Today counts. So, behave yourself accordingly.” I’ll see you next time.
Subscribe To Newsletter
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Alex.