There is an illusion of choice in today’s society.
We think we have many choices, but the variety of options only leaves us less fulfilled. We think we can be high-performers and have robust social lives. We want to be rich and travel. We aim for the rewards but rarely do we strip away the choices that will lead us to the pinnacle.
If you want to be uncommon, you must settle for less. Less choices and options. More of the same mundane things that ultimately lead to greatness.
We call it character and it comes from discipline.
♦ The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh. Walsh is the GM responsible for the 49ers becoming known as the “Team of the 80s.” Under his leadership, the team transformed from one of the worst to the Superbowl champion in just three years. Although unmatched as an offensive mind, the real change came from his views on character development. He aimed to produce players that paid attention to the details, superbly disciplined, and among the hardest workers in the league. I wrote about his Standards of Performance for a post on LinkedIn.
Honor the direct connection between details and improvement, and relentlessly seek the latter. From Bill Walsh’s Standards of Performance
♦ It Takes What It Takes by Trevor Moawad. Moawad introduces the concept of neutral thinking, as a contrast to the more popular idea of positive thinking. Moawad argues that positive thinking is not always appropriate and there are times, such as the moments following a loss, where neutral thinking is more advantageous. When you are free to evaluate the situation for what it’s, to deduce the facts, you remove emotion and focus on the next steps.
That’s neutral. Staying in the moment, giving each moment its own history, and reacting to events as they unfold. It takes away emotion and replaces it with behaviors. Instead of asking ‘How do I feel?’ you should be asking yourself ‘What do I do?’”
Another interesting concept that Moawad talks about is the illusion of choice. Everyone thinks they have all of these choices, but in reality, if you want to be great at what you do, you have very little choices because it takes what it takes.
The main choice you make is committing to being disciplined. After that, you just do what you have to do everyday. If you try and make too many choices, to think you still get to do whatever you want, then you won’t be that good and you’ll never be great.
♦ Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer. This is the fascinating story of Pat Tillman, his life as an athlete and Soldier, and ultimate demise as a Ranger in Afghanistan. I am a big fan of anything American Military History but what makes this story special is the interesting, stoic, and honor bound life of Tillman. He was a rare figure, loyal to a fault during a time when most players look out for themselves first and foremost. Following the events of September 11, Tillman left a multi-million dollar contract to pursue an enlistment to do what he thought was right and he lost his life in one of most tragic ways known to combat: blue on blue, friendly fire.
♦ The Seven Cs of Consulting by Mick Cope. Designed for a variety of business professionals, this book frames the process of consulting across seven steps. It is not simply moving from one step to the next, as each covers a variety of concepts and theories that encapsulate the consulting process. This book provides essential information for anyone that provides information to the key stakeholders of a company, whether an executive coach, internal departmental staff member, or even employee looking to better understand the softer side of how a business runs.
Read More: The Best Business Book I’ve Ever Read
♦ The Advice Business by Charles Fombrun and Mark Nevins. The business of giving advice is not an easy one and any consultant must be well-informed in several different fields and stepped in the literature of strategic management and organizational analysis. As the global environment becomes more complex, company’s are becoming more reliant on external consultants and experts, adjunct employees that provide real and timely solutions. Understanding the nature of management consulting, the forces that drive its need, will help anyone better relate to the current business environment. Long-term strategic thinking is becoming replaced by technological innovation, yet the ability to think ahead is something only humans can do. Data is useless without interpretation, thus the growing need for those that can provide context to the numbers.