Have you ever read that business bestseller about the seven habits of highly effective people?
Probably not if, like me, you suspect that one of the habits that makes people highly effective is not falling for that kind of bull. The American author and entrepreneur James Altucher has challenged this highly effective malarkey in a striking essay ‘The Seven Habits Of Highly Mediocre People’. ( http://therumpus.net/2013/02/the-seven-habits-of-highly-effective-mediocre-people/ )
Altucher is an eloquent advocate for the 99% who know they’ll never be the top 1%, warning: “People overestimate themselves. Don’t let overestimation get in the way of you being successful enough that can have your freedom, feed your family and enjoy other things in life”. His advice to business leaders is refreshingly different: procrastinate (it’s your body’s way of saying you haven’t thought something through properly), zero task (because as his experiments with playing chess while talking on his mobile prove, we really are more effective when we focus on one task) and be unoriginal. Here it’s worth quoting his advice in full: “The best ideas are when you take two older ideas that have nothing to do with each other, make them have sex and build a business around the ugly bastard child that results.”
He’s got a point.