So I’ve started walking a lot. It’s a big deal for someone who’s been on a bicycle since he was eight. But I’ve started to enjoy the feeling of walking around the city, moving at the speed of the people and being able to zone out and thinking about my day.
Part of the zoning out bit has become an obsession with the HBR Ideacast Podcast. It’s become a kind of secret weapon for me. Listening to insights from business professionals while walking to a meeting with fellow agency/inventor types makes the meetings much more entertaining.
Recently I was listening to an interview with Heidi Grant Halvorson who’s written a book called “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently”.
yeah, I agree, that title is awful. This is why the podcast is great because I would never have sought out this information it just happen to fall into by head through my iPhone.
But one of the things she talked about is, essentially, persistence. That successful people don’t assume they are going to be the “best” at something the first time. That what makes for success is similar to learning to ride a bike. Fall, get back up, fall, get back up. Never assuming that everyday is going to be better than yesterday but simply that open-minded trying is a powerful way to be better at something. She notes that people who tend to go into a new activity assuming immediate success actually commit more mistakes than people approaching new tasks with the assumption they will learn through small failures.
I thought this was all a great insight but felt I needed a real world example.
Luckily one fell into my lap through typical Internet serendipity. Two different people mentioned Tim Ferriss to me yesterday so I thought I’d remind myself who he is. And the first post on his blog was a post about exactly what Ms. Halvorson was talking about. Here’s the “Truth About Six Pack Abs” founder, Mike Geary, discussing how he created an $11M business and his “technique” was simply trying. Trying again and again over five years and finally, now, being an expert in SEO and online sales techniques.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of his business model but the process is fascinating and his personal commitment to providing a quality product is admirable in that sector.
What we can learn from this is that simply trying, over and over, with the intent to learn something new can lead to the kind of success that leaves us feeling satisfied and successful.