Superpowers of Highly Successful People
September 2014 (perspective of an assistant professor)
Every highly successful person has at least one superpower – something that they are far better at doing than their peers.
I'm obsessed with finding out how certain people can become far more successful in their jobs than peers who grew up with similar socioeconomic conditions, cultural and technical backgrounds, and material resources. I think MMM is part of the answer, but here I want to explore a different idea:
Every highly successful person I know has at least one superpower – something that they are far better at doing than their peers.
Highly successful people are above-average in many areas, but some truly stand out in one area in particular. A superpower is so obvious that you just know it when you see it. For instance, here are some superpowers I've observed in my friends and colleagues:
I'm sure this list is super incomplete, but it's a good starting point for discussion.
The words smart and hardworking are often thrown around when describing highly successful people. But I think that neither is a superpower. The word smart is so vague that it's meaningless. Everyone who is successful is smart. Also, just being hardworking isn't a superpower, because you can be working really, really, really hard toward something that ultimately doesn't matter. If you do have a superpower, though, being hardworking augments it with a multiplier.
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Last modified: 2014-09-20