Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Success Secrets: Find Experts

Almost everyone I know who has tried to “reinvent the wheel” has failed. I have seen salesmen tragically fail because they have never read a sales book or taken a day of training. I have seen very competent professionals fail because they have never learned to market themselves in a disciplined manner. I have seen investors fail because they never read a book about investing. These are all preventable tragedies: there is such a huge amount of information available today on nearly every conceivable subject, that success is really possible in any field where you have an aptitude and are willing to consistently learn from the best and most successful in your field.

Would you try to build a laser by yourself? A refrigerator? A home? Even if you could, why on earth would you want to do so, except as a hobby? Success is built on “platforms”….huge depositories of previous skills ands knowledge. Why not use such platforms to your advantage?

It is said that expertise in any field, even for the best people in that field, requires at least 10 years. Can you afford to be lousy in every field you deal with (finances fitness, health, relationships) for the next 10 years?

Also, many new advances are unobvious, even to the talented or observant. How would you discover that walking is better than bike-riding in the prevention of memory loss? Or that almonds help fight cholesterol? Just how would you go about testing and verifying such claims? How would one discover, on your own, that asset allocation is more important than stock-picking in your portfolio? Or that paying down debt is the equivalent of a successful, high-interest investment? Huge amounts of research have verified many claims that we could never test and verify. There are armies of thousands working in our behalf if we only choose to benefit from their labors.

Certainly, we all have aptitudes, and if those aptitudes are productive, and we are leaders in our fields, there is no reason not to make use of our talents. But, if even Tiger Woods has a golf coach, which of us can be said to have such innate skills that they don’t need to take in knowledge of high quality and at high frequency, even in their primary field, not to mention the other areas of their life?

Look around you. Why are good networkers often so successful? Because they seek out the best people, and their networks prosper because they make use of the individual strengths of each member.

In our age, each branch and sub-branch of knowledge is expanding at a high rate. Also, today, the ability to obtain detailed and specific knowledge is greater than ever before in history. We can be sure that, even if we do not take advantage of these conditions, many many others are doing so every moment. Just standing still is a guaranteed loss.

I have profited from the expertise of many professionals in my life. I would say my biggest setbacks were caused by an unwillingness to listen, and by my certainty that I had all the answers. My setbacks were also caused by an unwillingness to network well, and a generally low aptitude in “people skills”. This prevented me from gaining huge quantities of knowledge that were very difficult to gain using other methods.

Find experts. Honor them. Profit from them. Don’t re-invent the wheel.

1 comment:

Blog Bloke said...

"Don’t re-invent the wheel."

Ditto ;-)

Thanks for dropping by Manny.