Want to be successful in your career and life? Just follow the example of the superstars of business, celebrities, professional athletes and entertainers. Emulate the habits of Tiger Woods (before his personal crisis), Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Lance Armstrong or Sir Richard Branson. Or at the organizational level, just follow the examples of Apple, GE or Google. Thousands of books, movies, seminars, consultants and self-help gurus, exhort people to follow the same steps, habits and secrets of the super successful, and they too will achieve outstanding results.
The problem with this advice is it doesn’t work. When people try to do as suggested, they tend to fail, and become even more demotivated. I’ve coached hundreds of people who came to me with great disappointment or despair, after following the dictums of a recipe for success taken from the lives of the super successful. In some cases they have spent thousands of dollars on seminars, books, personal advisors and media sources.
The recent mass shooting in Colorado has prompted many observers to claim it is only a symptom of serious problems in American society. The United States has been the strongest and most powerful nation in the last century, a beacon of progress and the good life for the world, but that view is becoming suspect. While predictions have been made before about the decline of America, there is good evidence now that makes the prediction more valid.
“Choking is suboptimal performance, not just poor performance. It’s a performance that is inferior to what you can do and have done in the past and occurs when you feel pressure to get everything right,” argues Beilock.
Talk to almost anyone today, and they complain about having “no time,” about being too busy. And we now equate that busyness to productivity and a characteristic of a successful life. The truth of the matter is that busyness does not result in greater productivity and that busyness is contributing to a culture of continuous anxiety and stress.