I will tell you the “secret” to being great…JUST DON’T SUCK! There, you are welcome. I know what you are thinking, “Oh wow, Jonathan, thank you so much! How insightful of you!”. Hear me out – in a world of perpetual distraction where everyone is half-listening, half-engaged, constantly on their phones, and perpetually daydreaming, all it takes to be great in today’s world is to be mentally present. Just be all in on the one thing you are doing and JUST DON’T SUCK! When you commit to anything you desire to be great at, do that thing with a singular focus and obsess on it until you are the best. It isn’t that hard! You can be excellent at anything. Do this by focusing on the details, taking the time to study, learn, and master whatever that thing or craft is. Otherwise, just say no to doing it. We live in this half-assed, over-committed, never master anything, multi-tasking society and if you want to be great, you need to stop being that person.
Multitasking is the dumbest idea on the planet. When you take your focus off one thing and split it between two things, both suffer. I equate it to straddling a fence – you cannot straddle two sides of the fence, you’ll end up with a sore crotch ™. We, as a society, are going through our entire lives trying to multitask to become the jack of all trades by putting half focus on all tasks we do. This is obvious because we can’t spell anymore, we refuse to have real conversations with the people that are in the same room as us, and when we do talk, the other party is just waiting for their turn to pontificate about themselves instead of actually listening. In this reality that we call “our lives”, how easy would it be to stand out by just not sucking?
Here is the less positive part of this article and you are probably thinking, “Dear God, that was the positive part?”. The sucky part about not sucking: is it’s really freaking hard. It takes a butt-load (Fun fact: that actual unit of measurement is 491 liters) of CONSISTENT, DILIGENT, effort. You have to be dedicated to not sucking each and every day, which most people cannot do. So, my words of advice would be that if you cannot commit to this effort, just don’t do it and live your life full of mediocrity. If you do commit to not sucking, OBSESS on the thing you want to be great in, focus on it, apply consistent effort, and wait to see the fruit from it. Become the best and never stop chasing greatness. Anytime I start a new task or start learning a new skill, I always ask myself “who is the best in this area?” and I do not stop until I am the best (Although this makes playing any sort of competitive thing with me not fun at all, so beware – just ask my wife about Monopoly games).
To make this actionable, whatever you decide to commit to, JUST DON’T SUCK. Apply effort and focus on it until you become the best. Make it a priority. On the flip side, do not say yes to things you are not willing to do this for. It is okay to say no to things that you are not willing to be great at (You have my permission – I know that is what you really were looking for).