All we need now is encouragement

If hustling is the primary way to get ahead, then encouragement is the primary ingredient for success.

I subscribe to the belief that for anything I do, skills are secondary (or tertiary or quaternary or…). Sure, they’re useful, but I can learn any skill (thanks to the Internet and our flat world) if I’m willing to hustle to learn it.

The cycle looks almost like this (the “<<” means comes from):

Outcome << Skill << Hustle << Motivation << Encouragement

This is important for at least two reasons.

  1. Our outcome is made or broken based on the encouragement we receive.
  2. Our influence is made or broken based on the encouragement we give.

Read that second one again. Most of the time, I (we?) assume influence comes from skills or the results we create with our skills. I look at what I’ve accomplished and think I influence based on that.

For example, I stopped buying textbooks in college. Since then, some of my friends have copied my tips for pulling that off. I look at that and think, “I influenced them because of what I had done, because of the skills I acquired.”

But really my friends tried it because I encouraged them with what I’d done. They were encouraged because they realized someone else like them (me) had pulled it off and it worked. I gave them some certainty that they too could do it.

It’s the same with all those testimonials and product reviews you see. No one buys that six-minute abs book because of the skill it gives them for dieting. They buy, they take money out of their pockets and give it to that sales guy, because the sales guy or the product or someone’s testimonial made them feel that they could pull off those same results (e.g. abs in six minutes).

Perhaps this will make more sense if I explain what I mean by encouragement.