Most people believe that second rate performance is fine, and third-rate performance is acceptable. I do not, and I never have.
The more important your cause is to you, the more important you think your cause should be to the world. If you represent your cause in a second rate way, you are doing your cause a disfavor. You are also identifying yourself as a second-rater. You are announcing this to the world: "Second rate is fine, especially when it comes to the thing I believe most dearly in. You should believe in it just as dearly as I do."……
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Getting into the top 20% has to do with vision, perseverance, and the amount of time you are willing to invest. It is not a matter of money. In any case, with YouTube, WordPress.org, and the Internet generally, you don't need any money. You can do it with what I call the three T's: talent, time, and technology.
Pick a niche field. Decide that you are going to get into the top 20%. Once you get into the top 20%, decide that you're going to get into the top 5%. After you get into the top 5%, don't worry about it. Getting into the top 1% is pretty much beyond your control. There is no technique for clawing your way in the top 1%. But there is for getting into the top 20%, and I think there is for getting into the top 5%.
Don't settle for mediocre. Don't settle for being in the range of 21% to 50%. You don't have to do this. You may choose to do this because you want to put your time into other things. That is legitimate. But do not attempt to represent a movement or whatever it is you believe in strongly if you take this attitude.
The best way to climb up the pyramid of performance is to start right where you are. Your task is to become a servant. You must become helpful. You must decide who it is you can help, and then you must dedicate your efforts to becoming a superior performer in this particular range of performance. You want to help other people do a better job, and to do this, you have to do a better job. As you improve, your range of influence will increase. As your range of influence increases, you will by definition move up the pyramid of performance. The remnant will tell you how good you are. The people who become dependent on you will determine how good you are. You may want to be a chief, but to do this, you had better have Indians.
In the field of ideas, there has never been a time in history that is more ideal. The Internet has changed our world, and it has opened the world to almost anybody with talent. It has also opened the world to millions of people whose talents are minimal, whose dedication is minimal, and who do not believe in the three T's.
Woody Allen is correct: 80% of success is just showing up. Show up every day or at least every week. Let people set their clocks or calendars by your self-discipline in showing up. Do this long enough, and you will get into the top 20%.
Then live to age 80. You will make it into the top 5%.
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