If You Can’t Beat Them…

If you can’t beat them, go around them.

I’d like to share another great passage from Jim Collin’s Good to Great, with regard to the difference between being competent at something, and being the best in the world in something:

[C]onsider the young person who gets straight A’s in high school calculus and scores high on the math part of the SAT, demonstrating a core competence at mathematics. Does this mean the person should become a mathematician? Not necessarily. Suppose now that this young person goes off to college, enrols in math courses, and continues to earn A’s, yet encounters people who are genetically encoded for math. As one such student said after this experience, “It would take me three hours to finish the final. Then there were those who finished the same final in thirty minutes and earned an A+. Their brains are just wired differently. I could be a very competent mathematician, but I soon realised I could never be one of the best.”

I recently saw a man (I forget his name) on TV, who held the record for most world records. And in that short segment about him, it showed him practising for his next world record attempt: to be the quickest person to roll an orange with his/her nose over a mile (or something like that). Look, he’s no Usain Bolt, but my money’s on him to break that speed record.

He found his niche. He found what he’s good at — so good, in fact, he’s officially listed as the best in the world.

Imagine then, if you did activity X well, and activity Y well, but individually you’d never be the best X-er or Y-er.

You could still be the best XYer.

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