Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk. All of these individuals have produced (and, in some cases, are continuing to produce- although Steve has lowered his output a bit) breakthrough results. What must it be like to live in their world, to breathe their rarefied air?
Well, here’s the thing: Breakthrough results are not limited to the elite few. You can produce breakthrough results just as well as anyone else.
But first, you may need to let go of some of the habits that are holding you back…
1. Same Old, Same Old
Producing breakthrough results requires seeing things with new eyes, hearing things with new ears. That’s really difficult to do if you’re always seeing the same things, hanging out with the same people, reading the same topics, and hearing the same ideas. That’s called being in a rut, and breakthrough ideas rarely emerge from a rut.
Think of the Grand Canyon. It was formed by the Colorado River basically doing the same thing over and over and over again for some 17 million years. If all of a sudden tomorrow morning the Colorado River decided that it would like to try something new, to “go over there,” I can’t say I like its chances. The Colorado River is unlikely to produce breakthrough results (which, in this case, may be a good thing).
Some people are like the Colorado River. I don’t have to convince you of this – you know people like this, don’t you? They keep doing the same old, same old – in every area of their lives. And brain science now tells us that when you keep doing the same old, same old, you actually create patterns in your brain that become so entrenched that, like the Grand Canyon, make it almost impossible to “go over there.”
The solution? Expose yourself to different things. Talk to different people. Eat different foods. Read different books (in different topics). Listen to different ideas (especially if you disagree with them!). Break out of the rut, and start producing breakthrough ideas.
2. Thinking Small
Many of my colleagues in the professional speaking business have resources available for purchase: books, videos, CDs, MP3s, etc. I have some of these as well. We sell them in the back of the room after we speak, and we put them on our websites. Nothing breakthrough about that.
But now let’s consider my friend Chris. Chris decided that he wanted to create an audio program about leadership and success. So he did. But then Chris did something different. Instead of selling his program in the back of the room to maybe a hundred people, he picked up the phone and made one sales call. To Costco…
It must have been a good call, because instead of selling a few programs here and a few programs there, like most of us, Chris sold tens of thousands of programs at once. And all because he refused to think small. And here’s the secret: It doesn’t take any more effort to think big. It just takes a change in mindset.
3. It’s Not My Job
“Breakthrough ideas are above my pay level.”
“Only geniuses can come up with breakthrough ideas.”
“Breakthrough ideas are only for the ‘creative types.’ That’s not me.”
All of these fall under the category of “self-fulfilling prophesy.” If you think, for any reason, that breakthrough ideas are only for “other people,” then it’s unlikely you’re going to go looking for them on your own; it’s also unlikely that you’ll recognize them if you happen to stumble upon them.
Here’s the truth: Breakthrough ideas are not dependent on IQ, job title, work responsibilities, or any other factors. You have just as much access to breakthrough ideas as anyone else. And when you really get that, you’ll begin to see the embryos of breakthrough ideas everywhere. Because just like “it’s not my job; breakthrough ideas are for others” is a self-fulfilling prophesy, so is “I’m a breakthrough idea machine!”
So let go of these habits. They’re just holding you back. Produce breakthrough results. And someday, someone may write an article about Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk… and you!
Photo Cred: Insigniam.com