Just when you think life is smoothing out before you like a glimmering highway through a sun-scorched desert, something happens to jackhammer the road.
“Great by Choice” is a study of what uncertainty, chaos and bad luck will do to people and why some survive and even thrive.
The results were full of provocative surprises:
Success isn’t a result of being:
more blessed by luck,
more risk seeking,
or more bold.
The most surprising take-away was the three behaviors shared by people who lived, both literally and figuratively, through the same circumstances that took the lives of others.
3 Core Behaviors For Great Outcomes
1. FANATIC DISCIPLINE
You control only a tiny sliver of what happens to you – even so you are free to choose how you respond and prepare.
Discipline is having the inner will to do whatever it takes to create a great outcome, no matter how difficult.
Roald Amundsen used a “20 mile march” discipline on his historic race to the South Pole. His team marched 20 miles everyday, regardless of how good or bad the weather was.
On good days he refused to go further than 20 miles.
On bad days he insisted on completing all 20 miles.
His competitor, Robert Scott, rested his team on bad weather days and pushed hard on good days.
Amundsen’s team won the race.
Scott and his team died.
i) prevents overreaction to events, succumbing to the herd or leaping for alluring opportunities.
ii) builds confidence in your ability to perform well in adverse circumstances.
iii) helps you exert self-control in an out of control environment.
Freely chosen, discipline is absolute freedom.
What is your “20 mile march?” What do you need to be doing today, and everyday to keep you on track through the crisis?
2. EMPIRICAL CREATIVITY
Empiricism doesn’t mean favoring analysis over action.
Empiricism is the foundation for decisive action.
Success comes from direct observation, practical experimentation, and direct engagement with tangible evidence.
Collins and Hansen call this principle, “fire bullets, then cannonballs.” Scale innovation (firing bullets) and then then make the big investment (fire cannonballs) once you know what’s on target.
Being empirical doesn’t mean being indecisive or lacking faith.
Sound, empirical evidence is a wise expression of faith which allows for bold, creative initiatives.
3. PRODUCTIVE PARANOIA
Assumption: conditions will turn against you without warning at some unpredictable point in time at some highly inconvenient moment.
As pessimistic as that may sound it’s assuredly accurate.
Successful people prepare for inconvenient moments.
“Productive paranoia” is the idea that you need to build reserves and buffers, bound your risk, and show flexibility.
Successful families stay attuned to threats and changes, especially when all is going good.
Successful people channel their worry and fear into action, developing contingency plans and maintaining large margins of safety.
Action prevents a disruptive event or bad luck from stopping their creative work.
Greatness is a choice.
Its your responsibility to insure greatness will characterize your legacy, family, and organization.
APPLICATION: From strongest to weakest, rank the three behaviors in your life. What can you do to turn your weakest into your strongest? Please leave a comment below.
I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.
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