What Makes People Fail?

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Take Froweezy. Froweezy goes through life thinking he's mister-hot-shots-to-the-max-master-of-everything:

  1. 'I know what it takes to market a business.'
  2. 'I know why the economy crashed.'
  3. 'I know how to run banks better than their executives.'
  4. 'I know what's the next hot thing.'
  5. 'I know my invention will make millions.'

Froweezy, as impressive as he might be, ignores the biases that cloud his views on various subjects he doesn't understand fully -- eventually setting him up for a vicious downfall.

For instance, if you've devoted decades of your life to marketing, you know Froweezy's strategy of using word-of-mouth won't expand beyond 2 folks; if you've studied the economy for decades, you know Froweezy's target market size won't let him build his million-dollar business; if you've devoted your life to banking, you foresee Froweezy's impending cash wreckage in X months.

Our human tendency to become overconfident at things beyond our grasp wrecked us in The Gold Rush, The Great Depression, The Dot Com Bubble, and The Mortgage Crisis.

It'll wreck us in the next crisis.

Experts devote their entire lives to one subject, and those 20/30/40/50 years of knowledge they attain on their respective subjects regularly become obsolete as better insight comes to light 20/30/40/50 years later.

Our Knowledge Sucks

The experts:

  • Albert Einstein: master at science; horrible at business.
  • Warren Buffett: master at investing; horrible at operations.
  • Bill Gates: master at software; horrible at inventory management.
  • Larry Ellison: master at enterprise software; horrible at consumer electronics.
  • Tiger Woods: master at golf; horrible at tennis.

Froweezy on the other hand:

  • 'This is where Albert Einstein went wrong...'
  • 'This is where Warren Buffett invested horribly...'
  • 'This is why Bill Gates couldn't launch Vista...'
  • 'This is why Larry Ellison can't build consumer software...'
  • 'This is why Tiger Woods couldn't beat Y.E. Yang...'

In turn, Froweezy takes that mindset when building his business:

  • 'This is where we market...'
  • 'This is how we invest...'
  • 'This is how we launch...'
  • 'This is what customers want...'
  • 'This is how we beat our competitors...'

Next thing you know, Froweezy is in line in the food stamp aisle trying to get some cash advances by texting his coked-up one-legged ostrich, who's high on PCP.

What do you know?

  1. Think of a bowling ball.
  2. Your entire knowledge (i.e., everything that's inside your brain right now) resides on a tiny speck of that bowling ball -- one millimeter in radius.
  3. Your goal is to expand on that speck.

How do you expand?

  1. Constantly learn new material.
  2. Seek passionate experts beyond your core.

And, stay humble.

Fill the bowling ball.

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Posted on October 19

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