Is it petty and wrong for me to ask, “Why do people get ahead of me that are not nearly as smart and capable as I am?”
I know a few people who would find that question strange, but most of us have asked that question more than once. I find that success-oriented people—those who want to serve more, do more, achieve more—ask themselves that question all the time.
Successful People are Often not Smarter than the Rest of Us
Are in fact people who have achieved a great deal brighter and more good looking than you are? Extensive research from scholars on the subject says “maybe so, but maybe no.” You could be smarter—and better looking—than CEO’s who get all the credit and attention.
Experience seems to confirm the research that high achievers are not more intelligent than many people we know. How many people do you see giving opinions on TV, podcasts, or have huge Twitter followings that don’t say anything more intelligent than someone you meet at Whole Foods in the checkout line?
Take a Look at the Photos
Take a look at the people pictured above. They are some of the most successful people in the world—and the richest. Some of them you will probably recognize, but others you won’t. Their names are under the photos, but can you name their companies? Would you have recognized them if the photos had no names?
Now here are some other interesting questions for you:
If you saw one of these people pictured above in a crowd, would you see them as quite distinguished from the others around them?
Then finally, if those in the photos showed up in your office tomorrow, just by their looks would you hire him or her?
Why do People Succeed?
It’s a certainty that CEOs are often people to be admired for many reasons, but they probably don’t have any fundamental advantage in terms of intelligence than you or many around you have.
Success depends on many factors, doesn’t it? Those who haven’t achieved success often attribute it to blind luck, family connections, good looks, good genes—things we have little or no control over. This point of view is not totally wrong, but people generally are less inclined to accept the part they play in their own personal success.
We publish the Tuesday Report for the slim minority of those like you who work intentionally toward being successful—defined as what you most want to achieve in life.
Here are some success factors that will take you where you want to go on your journey.
1. You have a unique “once in the universe mind”—a mind unlike any other. You have abilities that nobody else on the planet possesses. You hold the advantage—your uniqueness is your competitive edge. If you don’t contribute what you have been given, nobody else can do that—I have no competition as a person because nobody else is me.
But watch out. If you go out and tell your friends that you are uniquely talented to do things nobody else can do, they may try to have you locked up. 😊 You must maintain your unique sense of your amazing self just between you and me. I know it, you know it, but they don’t. The people around you really want you to be average and they’ll love you more if you have more problems than they do—people love to talk about the insurmountable problems they’re faced with.
2. You have to be the one who gets it done. If someone were to ask you to name your best personal characteristics, what would you tell them? Would you cite your academic achievements? Would you talk about your people skills? Would you tell about your knowledge and skills? What about your appearance? Would you talk about your sense of humor?
Every one of these traits is incredibly useful—each is a card in a winning hand in the game of life. But what organizations pay for today and keep you on the payroll for is your ability to understand what needs to be done and to accomplish it with the people and resources you have been given. You have to be the one who gets it done.
3. Lifelong learner/Intensely Curious. College is just a beginning to maintaining a career path. There is no course of study that will take you through the lifetime of professional changes you’ll experience. There are so many people today who graduate with a degree and they can’t find a job—they’re weighed down by student debt. They are depressed and angry and wonder why they ever went to college—the worth of a college education is widely questioned today.
We have to understand that education isn’t about finding a job, although it’s helpful. You can get an education in technology, healthcare, education, and hundreds of different things, but your skills will be obsolete in a very short time.
Education is foundational to training your curiosity, which is the most important personal trait you have. Education helps to get you to take a deep dive into subjects you never cared about—and that produces the curiosity that takes you through a lifetime of change. You have to be curious and learn in order to keep current in life and your profession.
4. Powering Through Obstacles in the Workplace. You can’t be unidirectional if you’re going to be successful in today’s world. When I was a child my parents gave me a wind-up toy soldier, really advanced for its day. It marched magnificently but only in one direction—forward. If it was on a table, it fell off when it got to the end. If it met an obstacle marching on the floor it crashed and fell down, legs flailing desperately.
Many people are like that. As long as they have a predictable straight-line course, they do great, but if they need to maneuver they get around obstacles they fall flat. Many times when you meet an issue that won’t let you move forward, it is so intimidating you just want to throw up your hands and quit. But this is the moment where you’re tested. You have to figure out what to do—and nobody can help you but you.
5. The biggest obstacle to becoming who you were meant to be—IS YOU. Your biggest job will be to break the bonds of genes and upbringing. We are each disadvantaged by coming from a history of primitive tribes, Medieval Societies, where we were expected to be on the front lines as cannon fodder. Most of our ancestors marched in the parade, they didn’t lead it. You must see yourself as the leader and claim your leadership position. Breaking away takes great energy and determination.
When we ask ourselves the question, “Why do people get ahead of me that are not nearly as smart and capable as I am?” we really do need to look at the people who’ve become successful as CEO’s and professionals that people admire. How have they achieved what they have? We need to understand that some are truly amazing in their accomplishments.
What we want to eliminate in our thinking is the thought that I could never accomplish what they have accomplished because they have skills, abilities, talents, and intelligence that is beyond me and my capabilities. We need to see them as examples and study what they do. We do not need to be intimidated by them.
We should not create a wall in our own mind between ourselves and those we admire. We should study what they do and reject the mental barriers we create for ourselves. With our own unique gifts, we can go much farther than we could ever have believed. We have a talent set that is uniquely our own that no one else has.