You vs. The Rest Of The World

Confidence is something we all struggle with, most of us on our own, blissfully unaware not only that the rest of the world understands just how we feel, but that they invariably feel the same way too. Positive thinking is really important to me, though, as is the idea that you’re capable of doing anything you put your mind to (something that karate definitely taught me). I recently read something that I think is spot-on, and applies to a lot of people I know (myself included!) several of whom could really do with a massive kick up the arse to have a much more healthy relationship with our old friend Change.

It’s lonely at the top. 99% of the world is convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre middle-ground. The level of competition is thus fiercest for “realistic” goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming. It is often easier to raise $10,000,000 than it is $1,000,000. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s.
If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
Unreasonable and unrealistic goals are easier to achieve for yet another reason.
Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal. Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel. If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort. I’ll run through walls to get a catamaran trip through the Greek islands, but I might not change my brand of cereal for a weekend trip through Columbus, Ohio. If I choose the latter because it is “realistic,” I won’t have the enthusiasm to jump even the smallest hurdle to accomplish it. With beautiful, crystal-clear Greek waters and delicious wine on the brain, I’m prepared to do battle for a dream that is worth dreaming. Even though their difficulty of achievement on a scale of 1-10 appears to be a 2 and a 10 respectively, Columbus is more likely to fall through.
The fishing is best where the fewest go. There is just less competition for bigger goals.

It’s from Tim Ferriss, who recently published a most excellent book (with a not-so-excellent title) The Four Hour Body.

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