Francis Galton was a child prodigy (there are none, really), by four he knew Latin and long division – learning appeared to come easy. In 1869, Galton (cousin of Darwin) published his first study on the origins of high achievement. Outliers, he believed, were remarkable in three ways: “they demonstate unusual ‘ability’ in combination with exceptional ‘zeal’ and ‘the capacity for hard labor.’ ” Galton was saying that the elite are skilled, passionate, and have a penchant for hard labor.
Skill. Passion. Effort.
Darwin was himself a high performer. He was an astute observer of flora, fauna, and also of people. His vocation was to observe slight differences that lead to survival. Darwins insights did not come in flashes – he was a plodder. Darwin, like so many of the elite we study in this work we call BTL, married the mundane. At BTL, we are on a never ending quest to understand the roots of high performance. The more we learn, the more convinced we are that sustained high performance is not a mystery, it’s just not easy to master – it’s gonna take time – lots and lots of time.
This is why we focus all our clients to build our big three, if you will – CORE. OPUS. PoP. The elite are aligned, you see. They spend little time thinking about who they are, whether they can become great where they are, or even worry for a second about where they’re gonna end up. The elite know who they are because they’ve invested the time building their BTL CORE. They know where they are because they’ve invested the time authoring and living their OPUS. And, the elite know where they’re going because their committed to their Playbook of Productive Action (PoP). They understand that it’s not enough to dream big. They do all the little things, and they do them incredibly well, to master the mundane on their way to mastering their craft. Yeah, baby. Simple, not easy. The elite understand that the road to mastery is filled with PA that feels like chosen suffering – like hard labor. The elite embrace this fact and keep working, keep working, keep working. Good.
Where are you on the road to mastery, friend? Which bucket do you need to invest in – skill, passion, or effort? Do you know who you are, where you are, and where you’re headed? Have you made your peace with the hard labor required? Do you have a BTL buddy beside you?