Friday, July 1, 2016

How the world works...

The world works in ways almost exactly opposite to the way you think it does. Learning how to think counter intuitively is important to your success.

The “nice guys” who take the flowers and candy route rarely get the girl.

The smartest kid in the class rarely becomes rich and famous.

The class clowns who make it big are oftentimes the most unhinged, the trappings of material wealth notwithstanding.

Understanding how you can apply this mental model can spell the difference between your success -- and your  failure.

Don’t Confuse Luck with Smarts
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once observed that "any explanation is better than none."

Today, we suffer from the paradox of information overload. If you have a smartphone in your pocket, you can access more information than most scientist did 20 years ago.

When something happens that we did not expect, sometimes we can’t even seem to agree on what happened.

We crave explanations because they give us an illusion of control.

Successful people are effective in the long term because they admit their mistakes.

As the world’s greatest speculator, George Soros, said, "My system doesn’t work by making valid predictions. It works by allowing me to recognize when I am wrong."

Your ‘Intelligence’ is Your Biggest Handicap
 When you are smart, you are used to being 100% correct. You just cannot take the possibility of being wrong. So you stick to your guns, even when everyone is telling you otherwise.

If high intelligence were the key to being successful, top business school professors and economists would be the most successful and perhaps the wealthiest people on the planet. Instead, the Forbes 400 is populated by dropouts from places like Harvard (Bill Gates) and Stanford (the Google guys).

Perhaps that is also why a former dean of Harvard College, Henry Rosovsky, observed about Harvard students: "Our A students become professors. Our B students go to law school. Our C students rule the world."

After all, it was those C students who stayed up all night playing poker with Bill Gates.

Critically Counterintuitive Lessons
So how can you use these "critically counterintuitive" rules to improve your life?

First, never bet too big on one idea. You may get lucky once. Maybe you will get lucky even twice. However, your luck eventually will run out.

Second, don’t delude yourself into thinking that you have special insight into the world. Bring that attitude to your life, and you will have your head handed to you. Moreover, it is not a question of "if" but "when."

Third, learn to think of your journey like a hand in a poker game. Up the ante when you are lucky enough to get a good hand.

Also be prepared to fold -- and to fold often.

But above all, take the advice of a very wise person who once said: "Some people are born smart. Some people are born lucky. Some people are smart enough to be born lucky."

Here’s hoping that you were born lucky! 

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