Become Extraordinary at Something You Do Well, Instead of Average at Something You Do Poorly

Social Conditioning Teaches us to Focus on our Weaknesses

social conditioning
Photographer: Clark Tibbs | Source: Unsplash
  • If we’re failing math but getting an A in English, we study our asses off to get a C in Math.
  • Managers put underperforming employees on performance improvement plans which do more to help companies avoid wrongful termination lawsuits than improve employee performance.

Consequences of Optimizing for Average

Photographer: Bradyn Trollip | Source: Unsplash
  • Skill 1: Their performance level is 80%
  • Skill 2: Their performance level is 30%
  • Skill 1: Their new and improved performance level is 90%
  • Skill 2: Their new and improved performance level is 40%

The 4 Zones of Performance

Photographer: David Clarke | Source: Unsplash

Zone of Mediocrity

All things you suck at are in your zone of mediocrity. Trying to improve in areas where you’re mediocre is a fool’s errand. Unless you’re self-aware enough to know that you’ll never be good at something, you’ll waste a lot of time on pursuits that are a road to nowhere.

Zone of Competence

The things you’re average at are in your zone of competence.

  • Only a complete idiot would choose a competent brain surgeon over an excellent one.
  • Any employer will hire an excellent candidate over a competent one.
  • A brilliant copywriter doesn’t need to become excellent at analyzing data in a spreadsheet.
  • Someone who is a computer science genius doesn’t need to become an eloquent writer.

Zone of Excellence

All the things you do well are in your zone of excellence. Getting better at something is far more valuable than getting better at something you don’t. When you focus on your natural strengths, you’re more likely to discover your superpowers.

Zone of Genius

Your zone of genius is where you’re capable of exceptional performance. You can do things nobody else can put you in the way you do it. The gifts, talents, and skills that make you unmistakable are in your zone of genius.



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Srinivas Rao

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