Career Speed Bump No. 1: The Outlier Comparison
We’ve all had to sit through a speech where the successful person tells you “follow your dreams” or “pursue your passions” and you will “never fail to succeed”.
Except when you don’t. This will be the case for most of us who want to follow our ‘dreams’. Dreams aren’t come by that easily.
To make matters worse, what the heck is ‘dream’ to begin with? Is this simply a vision of success? That’s either too narrow or too broad to make tangible goals and strategies to make it happen. Also, some people are too busy living life or just trying to make it through the week to invest in what it takes to make their dreams happen. Having a dream you can pursue is a gift, and not everyone gets a chance.
What if the dream you’ve chased for years changes?
What if the dream you’ve worked so hard for turns out to suck?
What if the dream gets taken away unfairly because of forces beyond your control?
There are 3 things you can do to bypass this obstacle:
- Understand that “successful” people, the kind you hear about in the media, are outliers. They are successful for sure, but they’re also not the typical experience. They are unique because they are literally ‘special’ – they have by a twist of fate meeting work and ability to take a risk achieved something most will not. Be they astronauts, Olympians, social media influencers, or wealthy investors, their dice roll turned up well enough times that they’re notable. They beat the odds.
- When you hear the advice ” just do what the successful people did and you’ll succeed too”, understand that only half of that idea is valid. Do imitate successful habits and innovate from them, but know that success is not a guaranteed outcome. This is up to you. Good news – when you succeed, it is more likely because you played the game well and not simply because you took a shortcut.
- Don’t just follow your passions and dreams. Having a vision is essential for setting goals and making plans. The destination doesn’t help you along your journey, however. To get where you want to go, follow your strengths instead. Find out what you’re good at, and they focus on getting better at it each day.
Remember that when you see anything in the news that is shocking, it’s only surprising because it’s novel and different. If it becomes commonplace, it stops being news. Try to be uncommon in your own way by being inspired by others, not by mere imitation.
The end result, you’ll probably get a better dream (or dreams) than you started with.