Don’t Focus on one thing


Our parents and professors were wrong. Most of them stab us to focus on one thing and get really good at it. Pick a major. Become an expert. Be the go-to person everyone calls when they need whatever skill you’ve mastered. That’s fine if you aspire to become, say, the world’s top neurosurgeon. But it’s terrible advice if you actually want to get rich and work less. I already mentioned one problem with this path: it gives you a single point of failure. If you put all your trust and resources into one thing, and that one thing fails, you’re screwed. This is true whether you’re speaking about a day job, a new business, or anything in which you monopolize your time and money. You’re forever vulnerable to the competition. Even if you do become the world’s—or your region’s top neurosurgeon, or marketer, or software engineer, someone can always replace you. It’s just too easy these days for people to move around and get new jobs. Employers can find better talent quicker than ever; customers are constantly trying new ideas and canceling on businesses. Your one thing is always under rush and so is your livelihood. I’m sure this sounds familiar. We’ve all been told at some period that we shouldn’t. But what’s the counterstrategy? The cliché fails to tell us that part. If you want to get loaded, you need a strategy beyond just keeping your options open. Yes, focus on more than one thing. But you also need to know what projects are worth chasing, how to split up your time, and how to make the ventures you do follow work for you. Let’s put strategy aside for a second, though. It helps, but strategy plays a small part in success. The two biggest brokers in success are actually timing and luck. (Don’t believe anyone who tries to tell you their success has nothing to do with luck.) You can’t sway either of these things outside of setting yourself up to get granted and positioning yourself at the right time. And the only way to do both is by taking more scope. You may have heard this explicit as “fail more.”

There’s also a more fluffy reason you won’t win big by focusing on one thing, and it’s potentially the most strong: it keeps you from ever being able to fold your income. I’m not talking here about just adding up income flow. doubling is when you find the style that links different projects and then leverage those connections so each venture makes way more than it could have on its own. doubling is the model of working smarter, not harder. And it’s what separates the round-the-clock hustlers from the umbrella drink sippers.

Doubling is going to play a huge role in whatever strategies you embrace from the chapters ahead. It’s also the reason that most succeeded people in the new economy have just an OK understanding of many different things. They get multiple ventures going and then pull out the patterns that link them. If you pigeonhole yourself into one thing, you’ll lose the chance to recognize patterns and capitalize on them to multiply your income streams. I don’t care whether you’re running a business or renting out a room in your apartment. Always have more than one thing brewing, and always look for the patterns that can help your ideas feed off one another.