Why smart people chronically under-perform in business
Smart people choose complex paths that force them to become busy managers instead of business people. I challenge you to choose this method instead.
You’re smart. I know that because you’re doing a hard thing – starting or running your own business. Plus you’re reading this highly credible Flying Solo article …
But here’s the problem with you smart people. You tend to choose complex paths.
- You take on way too many tasks (from SEO to bookkeeping to insurance to leaflet design).
- Managing yourself is more like managing a corporation. You fall asleep at night clutching time management books.
- You’re obsessed with Pomodoro, GTD, Miracle Mornings, Micro Habits, and Evernote.
- Mediocrity. You don’t master anything (because nobody excels in 26 types of work).
- When your to-do list is only ever 10% complete, you can feel like a failure every day.
Our brain being such a cool gadget, we think we should use it as much as possible. But it clearly tends to choose paths that are too complex and difficult to manage.
How to get control back
You need a dumber strategy.
What’s a dumb strategy? It’s a strategy that doesn’t depend one bit on your brilliance.
Let’s imagine a version of yourself but with 50 less IQ points (some of you will need to take off 100). Keep subtracting until you’re picturing a caveman. Your inner caveman has one goal: to become the most known person in his market.
"Our brain being such a cool gadget, we think we should use it as much as possible. "
He may not have the IQ to write long and involved to-do list, but he can sure do this:
- Knock on a door.
- Say his name.
- State what he does.
- Hand over a phone number and leave.
Could he use a more advanced strategy?
Does it need to be?
The goal is very clear – simply to be the most known person in his/her market, (as that alone will provide a decisive business advantage).
By simply knocking on doors, your cave-self reaches 100 new business owners each day – face to face.
Now, with all your smarts, with all of your technology, how many new businesses found out about your service yesterday? Are you beating the caveman?
Most of us aren’t.
Is it time to stop being so clever?
If your cave-self can grow a business faster than you can, it’s because he has a plan that is dead simple, and completely under his control. He can’t control whether someone likes or trusts him, but he can control if people know who he is (even if he has to surprise them in the carpark).
And you don’t have to knock on doors.
Maybe you want to be THE most active person in your industry in social media. Posting more than anyone else is something you can control 100%.
Your brain however (in its wisdom) will try to tell you to increase your quality (to average) and decrease your quantity (to average). Then ‘balance’ these with 12 other marketing activities.
Before too long your cave-self is driving a Ferrari and you’re catching the bus to Officeworks for more post-it notes …
What one thing could your cave-self do to beat you in business?