At the beginning of 2018, I gave a keynote speech in which I broke down some of the theories, case studies & personal challenges which have led me to believe that talent is a myth. I truly believe that anyone can achieve success in any skill or area of their life, all it takes is discipline, time and the right information.
When you look at high performers of different industries such as business leaders, athletes and musicians it’s easy to imagine that they’re simply incredibly talented or that they’ve been born with skills that separate them from the average person. However, when you take a closer look at the careers and accomplishments of high performers it’s often the same combination of underlying techniques and theories that they’ve applied in order to excel.
First I’ll break down some of the theories & principles which high performers have either consciously or subconsciously utilised as part of their journey to success. Secondly, we’ll review some case studies of those high performers and how those theories fit in and finally, we’ll look at some of the personal challenges which I’ve taken on while applying the same theories & principles.
Growth Mindset Vs Fixed Mind Set
The first theory is that many of those that are successful have harnessed the power of a ‘growth mindset’. The Growth Mindset VS Fixed Mindset theory which features in Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset”
A person with a growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of a lack of intelligence but as a springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.
Below are a number of examples of how your mindset may affect the way you handle different scenarios:
10,000 hour rule
In the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, a theory is presented which claims that it simply takes a set amount of time
There are various claims of which length of time but generally people have recorded that it takes 20 hours to become sufficient and 10’000+ hours to master a skill.
An example of this is driving, most people take an average of 20 hours to pass their driving test however someone like Lewis Hamilton has probably spent close to 10000 hours driving/racing in order to become a master of his field.
Over the next couple of years I’ll be putting this theory to the test within many different skills & disciplines, I’ll be share my successes and failures in future blogs.
Now we’ll break down the careers of different high performers to uncover how they’ve achieved success through perseverance, discipline and hard work rather than simply innate talent.
Case Study: The Beatles
- Their first album topped the UK charts for thirty weeks
- 11 of their first 12 albums reached number one on national charts
- 10 Grammy awards
- Used their influence to impact several prominent movements such as women’s liberation, gay liberation and environmentalism.
The Beatles honed their expertise by playing in strip clubs in Hamberg when they first started out. Between 1960 and 1962 they made three trips to Hamberg and played an estimated 1200 times which resulted in approximately 6000 hours of stage time.
This is all before they came to fame in 1964 (Nowadays it’s rare for a band to play over 1000 times throughout their career let-alone before their career even takes off)
Case Study: Bill Gates
- Inspired the era of the home computer
- Founded Microsoft
- Became the richest man in the world
- Spent over 2 billion on global education & health initiatives
With Bill Gates it was a combination of hard work and a bit of timing, his story starts in eighth grade when the mother’s group at his school had a bake sale and used the funds to buy a PC.
This is how Bill Gates had his first experience at coding whereby he’d get the PC to perform tasks by punching holes in a card and putting it in the PC which is known as ‘Punch card programming’
He kept with punch card programming until he couldn’t improve any further. In his Sophmore year in high
It’s estimated that during his youth Bill Gates spent over 10’000 hours programming which paved the way for him building Microsoft.
Case Study: Thomas Edison
- Inventor of the light bulb
- Received 1093 patents (More than any other person in history)
- Renowned as one of the most famous inventors of all time
Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.
When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
- Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community of Europe.
- Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was “sub-normal,” and one of his teachers described him as “mentally slow,
- Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Jordan has been quoted saying, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.“
- Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. His proposed park was rejected initially on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.
Personal Experience: Introduced Social Media Marketing
to large traditional companies
- During 2016/2017/2018 my agency Zen Marketing Solutions ran campaigns which brought in 6 figure returns for our clients.
- Our campaigns have had over 75 million impressions.
- Our campaigns have outperformed conventional marketing methods such as newspaper & radio advertising.
I’m a huge tech nerd, due to this I love trying to understand where technology is moving and how it will impact the world.
My first experience with making money online was when I was around 12 years old and I built a Youtube channel up to 100,000 subscribers then sold it to a French DJ for £150.00 so that I could buy an Xbox.
Since then I’ve always made a conscious effort to understand the latest emerging tech (Social media, Digital Assets, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality etc)
In 2016 my business partners and I were able to see a gap in the market whereby companies could leverage social media platforms better through paid traffic rather than relying on organic reach.
My partners Alan & Tristan have over 40 years of experience within the marketing industry which means we’re able to combine their experience and understanding of the traditional fundamentals of marketing with the newest available technology and my experience with digital marketing.
During 2016 I devoured every social media & paid traffic book/course/guide I could get my hands on then began running and meticulously testing campaigns at my expense to understand the platforms. We then pitched the idea to some of the largest companies in our region (Back in 2016 some companies still saw social media as a gimmick for millennials)
Many of the companies that have gone ahead with our paid traffic campaigns have had huge successes. Since 2016 we have gone from strength to strength and continue to grow and refine our marketing services. Just last month (November 2018) one of our campaigns directly resulted in a client which has been established for nearly 20 years having their most profitable month of all time.
Personal Experience: Digital Assets Investing
- In 2017/2018 I was able to gain and secure some excellent profits which I then diversified into property, savings & investment into my business.
Just thinking about my experience with digital assets in 2017 brings a smile to my face.
The first time I came into contact with the concept of digital currency was while researching how to purchase Nootropics. However, It wasn’t until my brother bought some and told me about it that I took the leap into digital asset investing myself.
As soon as I made some profits I was hooked, I spent my evenings signing up to questionable exchanges to buy newly released tokens. I spent hours reading through white papers and investing in companies that claimed to be the next ETH. I devoured books & content about investing, technical analysis and trading.
I took the risk of building a portfolio within an incredibly high-risk asset class then had the discipline to take profits during the bull run and diversify them into property, savings & other investments rather than
I’m still invested in the space and I’m excited to see what the future holds for the asset class and the emerging technology.
Personal Experience: White Collar boxing
- In November 2017 I took part in a White Collar boxing event, watch the fight below:
In my home town in the South East of England, there’s a white collar boxing programme which takes place twice a year called Victory boxing, it’s run by 6 x World Kickboxing Champion Ed Lofts who is not only an incredible athlete but also a fantastic teacher. Ed Loft’s teaching pushed me to gain
Victory boxing was structured as follows: I trained with their excellent coaches for 10 weeks to build my boxing ability and fitness then I was matched with an opponent. The match was then refereed by Michael Venom Page in front of a crowd of 1000+ (Which included my friends, family and even some clients).
In order to ensure that I could compete at my best I took the following steps:
- I trained almost daily.
- Listened to Ed Lofts who gave me both practical & philosophical insights.
- Listened to the coaches and implemented their feedback.
- Altered my diet and cut out alcohol.
- Studied the sport.
My hard work paid off and the whole experience was incredible.
I fought again in November 2018 but I’ll save the details of that for another blog.
Throughout this blog, I've mentioned two books which helped further my understanding of the importance of mindset & the power of discipline/perseverance.
If you're new to the concept of personal development I'd recommend you start with Mindset by Carol Dweck then move on to Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
If you already have mindset fundamentals covered and you'd like to read some mind blowing case studies (including Bill Gates & The Beatles) in more detail then check out Outliers.
Mindset - Carol Dweck
Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
Conclusion & Action Points
I think many people underestimate what they’re capable of and assume that they can’t achieve certain things because they tell themselves that they’re not talented enough, or smart enough or lacking in other areas.
As mentioned earlier in this blog, I believe that anyone can achieve success in any skill or area of their life, all it takes is discipline, time and the right information.
I plan on diving into various challenges within health & fitness, business, finances etc then breaking them down and laying out pragmatic actionable information for you to read.
I encourage you to set your own challenges whether it be:
- Start a business/blog
- Lose weight or drop your body fat percentage
- Learn a new language
- Raise X amount for a charity
- Learn to code
- Pay off all short term debt
- Run a 5k / 10k / Half marathon / Full marathon
- Learn an instrument
- Quit smoking
- Ask your boss for a raise
- Build up £X.XX amount in savings
- Give up alcohol
- Take up a new sport or martial art
- Take up meditation
- Take cooking classes
- Take up dancing (Tango is meant to be good fun)
Upon reading through these ideas and pondering which challenge you’ll take, some of you may feel a small ping of anxiety or discomfort at the thought of attempting your challenge.
This is normal – take a moment to feel that discomfort, embrace it and then go on and do it anyway!
I have recently launched a free WhatsApp group for people in the UK to share their challenges, progress and insights with other likeminded individuals.
– Choose your Challenge/s and put your choice in the comments below or let me know by email (Elliott@oshoko.co.uk)
– Crack on and accomplish your challenges!