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10 Reasons Why Crazy People Are More Likely To Be Successful

10 Reasons Why Crazy People Are More Likely To Be Successful

Let me start by saying that success is not normal, it is unusual and in fact insane.  Normal hardworking people very rarely become successful.

Normal people work very hard at their jobs to barely make ends meet. Normal people take out high interest loans they can’t afford to get degrees they probably won’t use. Normal people buy cookie cutter cars and live in cookie cutter houses so they can enslave themselves to the perceptions of people they don’t like.

In a world fascinated with conformity, mediocrity is sanity. People are unfortunately content living up to the status quo – go to school, get a good job, get married, buy a house and have kids.

When you consider this quote by Steve Jobs, you realize that being crazy is not just about thinking outside the box, it is creating the box that normal people will think inside of.

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“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Steve Jobs

Here are ten reasons why crazy people are more likely to be successful

1. They create new boxes for normal people to think inside of

Crazy people like Steve Jobs don’t just challenge the norm: they create new norms for others to either challenge or think inside of. Innovation doesn’t always mean coming up with something new. Most times, it is as “crazy” and mind blowing as making something that already exist better. By thinking differently, crazy people like kids use the power of their imagination to power their way to success.

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2. They are too foolish to be scared.

When crazy people set goals for themselves, they aren’t concerned with the “what if” possibility of failure. For them, there is no plan “B” because plan “A” will absolutely work. While normal people are paralyzed by the fear of failure, the crazy ones saddle up and ride anyways. To them, failure is a word with no meaning. This ability to seemingly disregard the fear of failure is why the crazy ones are more likely to succeed.

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice.”

Will Smith

3. They strive for authenticity

The need to be authentic is the need to be different from everybody else. Crazy people develop their own sense of style and paint the portrait of life exactly the way they see it. This ability to be original has seen many crazies achieve success by developing life skills that normal people would call a bad habit or simply absurd. For example, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are known to wear the same type of outfit every day. Billionaire Warren Buffett collects an annual salary of $100,000 dollars and has pledged 99% of his wealth to charity.

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“Develop your own style and wear it long enough to become a trendsetter” – Anonymous

4. They have high energy

Normal people can’t wait to do nothing. They can’t wait to get off work, go home, sit in front of the TV and do nothing. They always complain about how much energy they don’t have and how much more time they wish they had. Crazies however have all the time, passion and energy in the world. They dedicate themselves to a craft and work tirelessly to develop their skills. This intent focus and energy definitely gives them an advantage for success.

5. They dare to break the rules.

Deviating from the norm isn’t always easy, especially if you have spent your whole life following rules. However, crazies understand that while rules are important, they can be limiting. What rules in your industry do you accept as fact? Why do you follow them? If the answer is “that’s the way it has always been” then you are normal and probably will never succeed. It is this ability to question authority without disrespect that makes the crazies more likely to be successful.

6. They invent out of necessity

To other people, crazies may seem like highly resourceful people, which is true. But a deeper truth is that they are just people who take action to solve a problem they can no longer ignore. Their unusual minds help them view the world from a different perspective than normal people. So problems that normal people would just accept as “the way things are,” crazy people cannot accept.  Crazies embody the old adage, “necessity is the mother of all inventions.”

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7. They recognize other crazies.

No matter what type of person you are, it is easy to recognize others of like mind. Crazies all over the world have begun a revolution to find other crazies. They almost seem to be drawn to inventions, ideas and other individuals born a little crazy. They see genius in what normal people have written off as abnormal and are often the early adopters of all the great new trends and technologies. The idea of being able to brainstorm with others who think as differently as you do gives you a greater chance of success. Crazy’s challenge one another’s beliefs.

8. They are always curious

Crazies have the minds of kids, constantly asking why. Their minds are insatiable and they are not afraid to follow the rabbit hole no matter how deep down it goes. This allows them to see life as not full of problems, but full of wonder and potential. This ability to always see the glass half full makes the crazies more likely to succeed.

9. They are like a dog with a bone

Once crazies sink their teeth into something, they never let go. Crazy people become obsessed with certain problems and how to solve them. They become so engrossed that no matter how impossible a task supposedly is, they will always find a way. This is the X factor that will drive a crazy person to succeed at a task that a normal person would have long ago given up in frustration.

10. They don’t label.

Crazies don’t label people or problems; they are only intrigued by what’s inside a person.  While normal people see defined lines and segregate people into labels of race, religion, gender, career specialization or sexual orientation, crazies only see heart and passion. To the crazies, there is no black or white, just shades of grey. By not labelling others, crazies are able to surround themselves with an extremely diverse group of talent and unlock the human potential and ability for action.

Featured photo credit: http://itnews.iplabbd.com/improve-your-presentation-skill-steve-jobs-technique/ via itnews.iplabbd.com

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Last Updated on April 23, 2019

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

Stretch goals are a lot like physical fitness. When you adopt a physical sport such as running, continual practice leads to increased stamina, growth and progress.

While commitment to the sport improves performance, true growth happens when you are stretched beyond your comfort zone. I know this from personal experience.

For years, I was an avid runner. I ran with a variety of running groups in the Washington, D.C., area and in Columbus, Ohio, where I lived prior to moving to the nation’s capital in 2011.

While I was initially fearful about slacking off on my exercise habit when I moved to D.C., running enthusiasts in the area provided continual motivation, inspiring me to lace up my shoes day after day. Much to my surprise, many of the area’s running stores (including Pacers and Potomac River Running) boasted running groups that met in the mornings and evenings. So, it was relatively easy for a newcomer like me to connect with like-minded peers.

I was never a particularly fast runner, but I enjoyed the afterglow of the sport: being completely drained but feeling a sense of accomplishment; setting and reaching goals; buying and wearing out new tennis shoes. The sound of throngs of feet pounding the pavement in semi-unison is still enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I sometimes tear up at the start of races.

Of all the groups I ran with, the Pacers Store group that met on Monday nights in Logan Circle boasted the fastest runners. I met up with the group week after week only to be the slowest runner. It was difficult to muster the courage to get up every week and meet the group knowing what was waiting for me: sweating and watching the backs of fellow runners.

Each time I joined the group, I was stretching myself without even realizing it. Instead of feeling like I was transitioning into a better running, for a long time I felt I was torturing myself.

Then something remarkable happened. I went for a run with a different set of runners and noticed my time had improved. I was running at a faster pace and doing so with ease. What was once uncomfortable for me I now handled with ease.

The reason I was becoming a better runner was because I was taking myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself physically and mentally. This example illustrates the process of growth.

Fortunately, we can create situations that stretch us in our personal and professional lives.

What Is a Stretch Goal?

A stretch goal – as authors Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller and Kelly E. See detail an article “The Stretch Goal Paradox” in Harvard Business Review[1] – is something that is extremely difficult and novel. It is something that not everyone does, and it’s sometimes considered impossible.

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In general, you establish stretch goals by doing things that are difficult or temporarily challenging.

For instance, when I was first promoted to a senior communications management role, I knew I needed to beef up my relationships with media personalities. I set a goal to once a month book a day of media interviews in New York City – which is home to many media outlets, including SiriusXM radio, CNN, NBC News, HuffPost, VIBE.

This was a huge goal because it meant not only identifying the right people to meet with but convincing them to meet with me and my team. While I didn’t end up meeting the goal of doing a full day of media interviews in New York City, I met more people than I would have met had I not established the goal and instead stayed in the comfort of my D.C. office.

It is important to note that just because you establish a stretch goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the goal each time. However, the process of trying is guaranteed to provide some level of growth.

The Importance of Creating Stretch Goals

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to assess where you are excelling and where there is room for you to grow. I typically start the year by creating a yearlong strategic plan for myself.

I think about the things that are necessary to do and things that would be cool to do. I assess the people I should know and think through how to meet them. Then I ask myself if the goals are realistic and what would need to happen for me to achieve them.

Over time, I have learned that there are five things I can do to set stretch goals:

1. Get Outside of Your Head

If I exist within the confines of my imagination, I imperil my own growth and creativity.

If I examine my accomplishments and celebrate them in isolation of others’ accomplishments, my vantage point is limited.

I want to be comfortable with what I accomplish, but I also want to be motivated by watching others. In some respects, stretching is about expanding your network of friends, associates and mentors. These are the people who will propel or slow your growth and development.

Since two are better than one, I always value being able to share my progress with others, seek feedback and then map a plan for success.

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2. Focus on a Couple Areas at a Time

When setting goals, it is important to focus on a couple of areas at a time. Most of us are only able to focus on a few things at a time, and if you feel you are unable to tackle all that is before you, you may simply disengage.

I see this in so many areas of life:

When people get in debt, if they believe the debt is insurmountable, they refuse to look at incoming bills for fear of facing down the debt. Unfortunately, many businesses go awry when setting stretch goals.

In “The Stretch Goal Paradox,” Sitkin, Miller and See note:

“Our research suggests that though the use of stretch goals is quite common, successful use is not. And many executives set far too many stretch goals. In the past five years, for example, Tesla failed to meet more than 20 of founder Elon Musk’s ambitious projections and missed half of them by nearly a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

Goal-setting is like a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t all need to happen at the same time, and pacing is extremely important if you want to get to the finish line. It is better to focus on a couple goals at a time, master them and then move on to the next thing.

3. Set Aside Time Each Year to Focus on Goal-Setting

When I was a managing director for communications for the Advancement Project, I spent the first part of every year facilitating a communications planning meeting.

The planning meeting began with the team members assessing the goals the team had established in the preceding year, and whether those goals were realistic or not. If we failed to meet certain goals, we broke down why that happened. From there, we brainstormed about possibilities for the current year.

For instance, one year we set a goal of pitching and getting 24 opinion essays published. This was audacious because no one on the eight-person team had the luxury of focusing exclusively on editing and pitching opinion essays to publications around the world. We would need to focus on pitching in between the rest of our work.

We hit this goal within the first eight months of the year. Remarkably, in total, we ended up getting 40 opinion essays published that year, which was an indication that our original goal was too low. We upped the goal to 41 the next year, and amazingly, we hit 42 published opinion essays or guest columns.

From this experience, we not only learned what was feasible, we also learned the power of focus.

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When we focused as a team on getting the commentary on our issues out in the public domain, we were successful. The key in all of this is that there was a ton of discussion around which goal we’d pursue and why.

Equally important, as a manager, I didn’t set the goals alone; the team members and I established the goals collaboratively. This ensured buy-in from each individual.

4. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Model to Set Realistic Goals

S.M.A.R.T.

is a synonym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For the sake of this article, the realistic portion of the acronym is most important.

While you want to set audacious goals, you want to ensure that they are realistic as well. No one is served by setting a goal that is impossible to accomplish.

Failing to meet goals can be demoralizing for teams, so it’s important to be sober-eyed about what is possible. Additionally, the purpose of setting goals is to advance and grow, not depress morale.

For instance, my team would have been discouraged had I begun the year asking it to pitch and place 40 opinion essays if we didn’t already have a track record of placing close to two dozen essays.

By using the S.M.A.R.T. formula, we were able to achieve all that we set out to do.

5. Break the Goal up into Small Digestible Parts

I am a recovering perfectionist. As a writer, being a perfectionist can be counterproductive because I can fail to start if I don’t see a clear pathway to victory.

The same is true with goal-setting. That’s why I join Lifehack’s fellow contributor Deb Knobelman, Ph.D., in noting that it is critically important to break goals into bite-sized chunks.

When I had a goal of doing daylong media meetings in New York City, I had to think through all the barriers to achieving that goal and all the steps required to meet the goal.

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One step was identifying which reporters, producers and hosts to engage. Another step was writing a pitch or meeting invitation that would capture their attention. Another step was thinking through the program areas I wanted to highlight and the new angles I could offer to different reporters.

Since reporters want to cover stories that no one else has written, I needed to come up with fresh angles for each of the reporters I was engaging. An additional step was thinking through who from my team I’d take with me to the various meetings.

I was clear that, as a talking head, as public relations reps are sometimes called, I needed the right spokesperson in order to land repeated meetings with different outlets.

A final step was thinking through what I needed to bring to each meeting and which reports, videos and testimonials would buttress our claims and be of interest to media figures.

As I walked through what was needed to bring my goal of doing daylong meetings to reality, I realized that not only was the idea within reach, but I was excited to tackle the challenge.

From that point until now, I have learned to break down goals into smaller parts and tackle the smaller parts on the path to knocking the goal out of the park.

The Bottom Line

These are my recommendations for setting stretch goals, and there are a ton of other resources to support you in the workplace and in your community.

For instance, LinkedIn’s Lynda.com platform has a wonderful suite of leadership development videos, including ones on establishing stretch goals. This is a paid resource but may be worth the investment if you lead a team or want to invest in tools for your own growth and development.

Featured photo credit: Avatar of user Isaac Smith Isaac Smith @isaacmsmith Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: The Stretch Goal Paradox

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