One might assume that in order to accomplish amazing things in life, you must thus be an amazing person who does most things really well.
That’s just not the case at all, actually.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to claim that I’ve accomplished some pretty amazing things in life.
I used the catalyst of being fired from my automotive job during the Great Recession to chase after financial independence.
I retired from my automotive career just after turning 32 years old.
I became financially free at 33.
I became a dividend expat at 35 years old, moving more than 9,000 miles away in order to live a better life.
I’ve written a best-selling book about how to reach financial independence and live a more sustainable, free, and happy life.
I’ve created a holistic lifestyle that’s customized for me and by me, which prioritizes enjoyable and passionate activities like writing, reading, exercise, building relationships, listening to music, and sleeping in.
I’m now in the best shape of my life, all while eating whatever and whenever I want (due in large part to that holistic lifestyle I’ve created)
This is awesome and fantastic stuff.
But I also totally suck at many things.
Things I Suck At
If I were to make a comprehensive list on everything I suck at, this article would stretch on for days.
That’s because I suck at
many most things.
Let’s take just a quick look (so that my ego doesn’t suffer too much today):
- Playing any kind of instrument
- Working with almost anything mechanical or technical
- Being handy
- Remembering names
- Remembering dates
- Learning foreign languages
- Taking tests
- Introducing myself to people
- Putting up with BS
- Eating vegetables
- Being social
- Waking up early
- Playing any kind of sport
I think that’s good enough for today, isn’t it? I’m getting bummed out over here. Haha!
There are many things that could be added to the list. The point is that I suck – I’m downright terrible – at many, many things in life. But I’ve still been able to accomplish a lot, with so many years in my life yet to go.
The first thing one has to do is admit they suck. We have to realize that we’re going to suck at many things in life. Once we accept this and move on, we’re free to focus on our strengths and improve ourselves.
Play Up Your Strengths
I’ve gotten where I am today by playing up my strengths.
I’m terrible at most things. But I’m rather proficient at a few things.
And I’ve leveraged those few things into almost all of the success I enjoy today.
I find that the 80/20 rule shows up over and over again in life. It might not be a perfect 80/20 split in all instances, but there’s enough to make something of it.
In my case, I spend most of my time (over 80%) on the vast minority (less than 20%) of things I’m really good at. I hone those skills to the point of what I’d consider excellence.
By doing so, I’m able to get greater output from less input, relative to what would otherwise be experienced if I were to spend more time on something I’m less capable of (and perhaps less interested in).
Mastering this – and experiencing amazing results – involves holistically blending the minority of things you’re really good at, where you’re able to spend most of your time and energy on individual aspects and pursuits in your life that all more or less play up your strengths.
Doing so will allow you to unlock most of your inner potential, forcing personal growth and evolution in the process.
Find Your Niche In Life
Living in Chiang Mai, I’ve had an opportunity to meet all kinds of entrepreneurs. And the variance of interests and skills is great.
One entrepreneur might be into coding. Another entrepreneur might be doing vlogging. Yet another person might be totally into building an online store. And then there are affiliate marketers, writers, speakers, and so on.
What these individuals are (smartly) doing is focusing on their strengths and spending time in their respective niches. This allows them to leverage themselves by spending less time and effort, yet experiencing greater output.
I couldn’t be more terrible at (or interested in) coding, for instance. I’ve looked at it. It makes no sense to me. And I couldn’t imagine wanting to spend more than one minute doing it. Taking the time to build out that skill, for me, would be a waste of time and effort that could otherwise be used to leverage myself in a greater capacity and experience more success and happiness as a result.
I’ve instead spent a lot of my entrepreneurial and personal efforts on becoming a better writer, which has brought about great happiness and success in my life. I enjoy writing. It’s also something I don’t suck at, which is obviously nice.
However, I was talking to a digital nomad just the other day who can’t stand writing. Just hates it. Isn’t good at it. So he instead focuses on other areas of business that have allowed him more success.
So the key is to really find out what you’re good at (which may take some experimentation) and then leverage most of your time and efforts into maximizing those few things, leaving the things you suck at (which will probably be most everything else) to remain off to the side.
Using the 80/20 rule in the aforementioned manner can allow you to become so much happier, freer, and more successful than if you otherwise spend more time, energy, and focus on worrying about and slogging through the things you suck at.
One can certainly aim to work on things they naturally suck at, if they so choose. There’s room in the 80/20 rule approach for that (less than 20% of one’s efforts). But spending too much time trying to improve things which just do not naturally play to your strengths may end up frustrating and limiting you.
Life doesn’t involve a one-size-fits-all approach. Neither does business, financial independence, or happiness.
And so you should find an approach that works best for you.
However, I find that admitting what I suck at (which is plenty) and then focusing on what I’m naturally pretty good at (which involves just a few things, really) has allowed me to tap into so much inner potential as a human being, and this approach to life has brought about great success, happiness, and freedom.
What do you think? Do you suck at most things? Do you use the 80/20 rule in this manner?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
P.S. If you’re interested in focusing most of your efforts on the few things you’re really good at in order to become financially independent, I’ve compiled some excellent resources that personally helped me do exactly the same thing. Check them out!