How to be at the top 0.1% of your field?
1. BEING AT THE TOP 10% OF YOUR FIELD
I have always believed human beings should strive to be the best at atleast one skill in their life. This aspiration gives a worthy purpose to your life. And ‘best’ qualifies being in the top 10% of a field. One should be on a relentless pursuit towards that top 10%.
Being at the top 10% of your field attracts the best opportunities, rewards and glory. You can command premium price and compensation for being at the top of your game.
It would make for an inconsequential life if you have not pursued to excel at something. Most people live through their lives not being good at anything hoping to strike big but never knowing how.
LACK OF CLARITY
The reason many people sleep walk through their lives is because they do not know where they want to go. The first step to excel at anything is to know what is it that you want to be good at. Once you know that, life becomes simple and you pursue relentlessly towards that
They often say it takes ten years of dedicated effort and deliberate practice to excel in any field. To put in that kind of sustained effort, one needs to pursue their craft with discipline and dedication.
2. BEING AT THE TOP 0.1% OF YOUR FIELD
While being at the top 10% is achieving glory, being at top 0.1% is all guts. It takes supreme sacrifice and innate talent to make it to the 0.1% club. It is brutally competitive to make it there because you are competing with the best amongst the best.
This is the stage which David Perel says you have built a personal monopoly.
Now while the rewards at being at the top 0.1% is mind boggling, it is next to impossible to make it. Striving to make it just by sheer hard work might burn you out and the incremental progress on investment put in is too small.
I do not want to disappoint you or discourage you from pursuing to be at the top 0.1 percent. After all, there are people like us who fill that top spot. But all I am saying is there could be other creative ways to make it to the very top.
UNIQUELY COMBINING A SET OF SKILLS
Making it to the top 0.1 of a field just by sheer hard work is tough.
However, if you combine a set of skills and become good at all of them, you can be at the top 0.1% by virtue of this unique set of skills that no one else can.
HOW TO BUILD A PERSONAL MONOPOLY OR A SUPERPOWER?
There are three stages to pursue a superpower:
STAGE 1: Do what others don’t do.
STAGE 2: Do what others won’t do.
STAGE 3: Do what others can’t do.
Let me give you an example of a person who is operating at the top 1% of his field by combining a set of skills and achieving his personal monopoly.
Conor Neill over the years has differentiated himself in building reputation in three different areas:
- He is in the top 10% of popular Youtuber by running an extemely successful channel
- He is the top 10% of all TED speakers. His TED talk has garnered over 3 million views.
- He is the top rated professor of Leadership Communications at IESE Business School, Barcelona.
When you combine all of them together in a Venn diagram, he becomes the only professor who is a TED speaker and a popular Youtuber. There is no one like him and no one can do what he is doing. This is the Stage 3 of building a superpower.
And by the virtue of that special status, he commands a premium price from the marketplace.
Jerry Garcia’s quote, “You want to be the only person who does what you do” is apt here.
“You want to be the only person who does what you do” — Jerry Garcia
One of the most influential books I read this year was Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.
There is one section where it says how individuals can think of themselves as category leaders. Here is the excerpt verbatim:
““Individuals can think this way about their careers. The most successful people identify a category, an offering (what they can uniquely do that the category needs), and a personal culture and point of view (who they are and how they think) at the same time. Muhammad Ali created a category of showman-boxer, perfectly suited to the emerging age of television, that hadn’t existed before. The category reflected what he could do and how he thought, and he completely dominated it for the rest of his career. No one else emerged who could compete with him. Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling did the same, inventing an intellectual young-adult fiction category and making herself the category king. The principles of category thinking also apply to the kinds of people at the office who build their careers by successfully developing a niche and putting themselves at the top of it.”
Excerpt From: Al Ramadan. “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets.” Apple Books.
Most of us should design our careers to make it a category leader.
Wishing you all on finding your own superpower and building a personal monopoly.