Uncommon Success in an Uncommon Economy

How Changing Your Mindset Changes Everything

By Dio Pouerie

As a method of distinguishing writers and thinkers, in 1953 Isaiah Berlin adopted the idea that “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” The fundamental of this approach advocates that hedgehogs are those who view the world through a focused lens of a defining idea, while foxes draw on a wide variety of experiences.

In Good to Great, Jim Collins further discusses this principle suggesting that great success is achieved through adopting the focus of the hedgehog. This frame of thought promoted questions of self-evaluation as an effort determine if it is the adoption of the hedgehog or the fox that positions one for greater success. In “Good To Great”, Jim Collins further discusses this principle and, via his research of defining extraordinary leaders, suggests that in order to achieve great success, an adoption of the hedgehogs focus is key.

More dreams, success, and goals are destroyed because of the lack of focus. I once heard someone say that the easiest way to kill someone’s dream is to simply introduce another. Many move prematurely from one dream to another or completely relinquish their goals due to unexpected roadblocks and self-doubt. I recall a response given by one of my mentors some time ago. He reminded me that success is not dependent on luck; rather it is founded on a level of unwavering focus.

While we were driving in his extravagant car, leaving his grandiose estate where he had his phenomenal wife; I said to him with much enthusiasm, “You are so lucky to have all this!” Without hesitation, he snatched me out of that mindset and said in a very serious tone, “it has NOTHING to do with luck”. And he was right. The price he paid was one that few would be willing to go through. It takes a level of unwavering focus to achieve extraordinary success.

Success is not what you want, it’s what you pursue. If you have the audacity to pursue an uncommon dream amidst a failing environment, here are three tips to help in your pursuit:

1)      Surround yourself with the right crowd. Ask yourself: Am I the smartest in my circle of friends?  If so, then congratulations, but you are making one of the greatest errors that will inhibit greatness. You must put yourself in uncomfortable situations. It does not feel good to be the least accomplished in a group, but it stretches you. Benjamin Franklin said it best, “The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.” Build your network carefully as your network will ultimately determine your net-worth.

2)   Think Big. The only limitation you have as to what you can accomplish is in your mind. Nothing great was ever built by thinking small. Remember, your thinking and achieving big will remind others of what they dared not to do. Great success sometimes requires a level of focus that disregards what the surrounding environment (economy, family, friends, even self) may be telling you.

3)   Don’t let the highs get too high, nor the lows too low. Whether you are running your own company, are in management, or currently unemployed, always operate in a state of consistency. If things are going better than ever before, continue to work toward a level of improvement. If the reverse is true and the world appears as though it is about to collapse on your shoulders, be reminded that it’s only temporary and still work on your continual improvement. Making permanent decisions at either level without habitual and continual improvement will be detrimental.

Never again allow yourself to meander in any state of mediocrity; success is no respecter of person and is up for grabs. You too can have uncommon success in an uncommon economy.

Since applying the hedgehog’s level of focus, my career path has become a succession of rehearsals in preparation for a great recital. Amidst a recession, I have founded 2 companies; one of which is an Independent Venture Capital & Financial Public Relations Firm that has realized several million dollars in revenue since its inception in April 2009.

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