go where the expectations are high and the rest will take care of itself

Competition…

It exists whether we’re in school, at the office, with friends and even at home.

We’re constantly comparing ourselves to those around us.

It’s part of our make-up.

My son’s 4 and loves winning.

Winning excites us. It gets us pumped. I don’t care if you’re 4 or 40, it feels good to achieve something, to know you beat someone.

But as we get older we begin to understand our own limitations.

We learn what we can, and cannot, do.

I used to think I was fast.

Why? Because among my neighborhood friends it wasn’t even close.

Then came sports day and I was ever so confident and wow…I was left in the dirt.

I still remember I came in dead last. I could hardly believe it.

Needless to say, I gave up my aspirations to be a sprinter that very day.

Could I have gotten faster? No doubt.

Could I have beaten them? Quite possibly.

But that day I saw kids with real talent and felt that maybe my future lay elsewhere.

The thing is, regardless of where we are, we tend to compare ourselves to those closest to us which can give us a distorted view of reality.

And we do this with everything; our finances, our relationships, our health, our achievements, even our stories.

We like to outdo those around us.

The problem is that we shouldn’t be competing with those around us but rather:

  • Ourselves
  • People who are better than us

I’ve said it before but if we simply strive to be better today than we were yesterday then in 10 years there’s no telling how good we could become.

And one of the fastest ways to achieve this is to get around people who have succeeded in doing what we want to achieve.

Here’s my simple formula

  1. Find out where the people you want to get to know are
  2. Compliment them on their ability
  3. Show interest in them by asking questions (people love to talk about themselves)
  4. Ask a small question about how you might improve
  5. Thank them kindly for their help
  6. Let them know if you can be of any help to them to let you know

Let’s apply it to a simple situation. Say you want to become a better rock climber.

  • Phase 1: Go to the places where rock climbers hang out (gyms, rock climbing locations).
  • Phase 2: Strike up a conversation with some of the best climbers saying how impressed you were with how effortlessly they make it seem.
  • Phase 3: How long they have been at it? How did they become so good?
  • Phase 4: Do they have any suggestions for a beginner like yourself?

The final two phases should be pretty cut and dry.

Above all, be sincere.

This simple formula works wonders. It’s amazing how few people utilize it.

Here in Japan I’m constantly meeting students who study English and yet so few ever bother to approach me. Their ability remains dormant. What are they doing? Saving it for a rainy day?

We get better by using our skills and the best feedback we can get is from those people who are “experts.”

Now some people think they can monopolize other’s time…big mistake, we’re all busy and while many people are happy to help to a certain extent we must be careful how far we push it.

However most people are happy to give anyone a few minutes of their time.

I know I am.

I love that people take the time to ask when so few do. I appreciate people trying to learn.

Now it won’t work for everyone. Some people are jerks but they’re the minority.

You’ll be surprised just how much time people will be willing to give you out of their busy schedule if you’re just sincere.

So whatever it is you want…get around people who have it.

Listen, take notes, watch how they conduct themselves. As my mentor, Jim Rohn, used to say, “Success leaves clues.”

How right he was, and by spending time with successful people you’ll be amazed how many they’ll leave behind.

Adrian Shepherd

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