Don’t do things simply because others are doing them. Build systems and processes that work for you based on your individual skills, needs, and goals. Set your own terms. Your success should only be judged by the point at which you started. It’s easy to give into contrast bias and either become overconfident or lose hope completely, by relying on external barometers of success.
It’s often said that the biggest mistake you can make in running is to look to the right or the left. You’re expending unnecessary energy, and the simple act of observing others can have unintended effects on your own performance.
Your unique blend of skills will set you apart. Lean into what comes naturally to you.
Measure by progress
Make your benchmark of success the opportunities you garner rather than your outcomes. Outcomes can be deceiving. Legendary poker player Annie Duke talks about the perils of ‘resulting’ in her book, Thinking in Bets.
According to Duke, when we're judging from a distance, the way we typically measure the quality of a choice is to look at the results. If the outcome is negative, we infer that the decision was also negative, and vice versa. We tend to overlook the importance of luck in the equation.
Self-judgment, on the other hand, tends to be biased in our favour. If the result is fantastic, it's because we're fantastic. We want the blame to be placed somewhere else when anything unpleasant happens. As a result, we tend to place blame on a variety of factors.
So here’s an idea - forget about outcomes.
Ignore the vanity of mimesis and aspirations of accolades; feedback that colludes with ego to quell your ambition. Look for clear, tangible progress. Signal among the noise.
Focus on making the right decision.
Aim to fail on bigger stages. Break new ground with each mistake.
Accepting that failure is a prerequisite for growth is just the first step. Understanding how to intentionally plan for the best possible failures is a next-level skill.
Do more than the bare minimum - the more you prepare in advance, the less likely you are to be surprised by changes in circumstance or lack of creative headroom.
Don’t assume that the little you’ve done will perpetually be enough. Consistency over time is what unlocks the magic of compound returns.
The best time to quit was at the beginning. You gain nothing, you lose nothing. Each repetition after that multiplies the potential benefit you could unlock.
You won’t see an immediate reward from each further iteration, but with momentum comes velocity and eventually, returns come in a hurry.