I’ve written 11 bestsellers and I’m in the Speaker Hall of Fame, Direct Selling Hall of Fame, and my softball league Hall of Fame. Some people might even say I’m a high-level achiever.
Guilty as charged. When I do something, I seek to become world-class at it, and attain a level of mastery. The philosophy that allows me to achieve those results is quite simple, yet extremely profound. Here's what I live by:
You can’t look good and get better at the same time.
The first time you throw a baseball, ballroom dance, pronounce a new language, hammer a nail, paint a picture, build a bookcase, or serve a tennis ball you look silly. Disjointed, unsure, or even ridiculous. Good. You are truly starting at a place of learning.
The only way to be good is to practice a lot of times while you are bad. I tell new speakers that the only way to become a good speaker is to give a lot of mediocre speeches. And after you give enough good speeches, you will present great ones. And after you give enough great speeches, you will be able to present world-class ones.
When you see LeBron racing down the court, Ramon Vargas interpreting an aria, Travis Wall choreographing a group of dancers, or a hip hop routine from Fik-Shun – you are seeing the outcome of a vision which led to commitment, which turned into practice, which then turned to proficiency, and ultimately mastery.
If your vision is strong, and your commitment is real, you don’t worry about looking silly in practice. You have enough belief in yourself to put up with the cuts and scrapes – or the snickers and snide comments – or the sweat and toil – to move another step closer to mastery. Even when you hit the plateaus...
Which we all must face. It is just a reality of mastery that you don’t move forward continuously. In fact, sometimes it’s necessary to advance a little, plateau, fall backward, go forward and plateau again – before you breakthrough to the next level. It’s all part of the process.
The process is everything. You don’t end up a master. You achieve a level of mastery, at which you really start the higher learning. Because mastery is not a place or a level, but a process.
So how about you, in the areas most important to your life?
Are you afraid to look silly? Or are you in the process of mastery?
And even world class is just a comparison to everybody else. The moment the bar shits (ie enough people lift their performance) what was once world class is now great. The process is what saves us, forcing us to always up the ante and the game. I think an interesting question is where do people plateau the most? From Poor to Good, from Good to Great or Great to World Class. My feeling is Good to Great. Interested to hear what everyone thinks.
Chris, I, too, believe that the plateaus happen between Good & Great. My perception is that an inner narrative becomes the stumbling block. A story about worthiness, about past accomplishments, about keeping one's place, blah-blah-blah. Another narrative that can steal your thunder is the one that emerges each time you raise the bar. A new possibility appears. Does it threaten, exhaust, discourage, or excite us? Which story will we choose to write?
Great point Louis. Was a little uncomfortable at Chris's point about "comparison to everybody else" as that seems to be external validation. Most of us will have heard Randy speak live and know that he is world class without the external validation of anyone saying so - and I know he know how to RECEIVE compliments.
The bar usually shifts because the world class make it that way. Somehow think that Rober Bannister, Neil Armstrong or Margaret Thatcher worried about people becoming "better" than them. They knew they were world class - and always will be in history.
Roger Bannister, not Rober!
True, brilliant, inspiring! Thank you!
WOW!! This hit a nerve
Randy, where can I get a cool hat like that bird is wearing? 🙂
You just need more hair spray.
Okay, it's plumage. But there must be hat just like it.
Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that?
afraid to look silly