When I was younger I would focus on the weaknesses of successful people.
I would think: “this person is very successful, and it’s clear to me they are doing X wrong, so if I do X right I’ll be even more successful than they are.”
This is a wrongheaded way to think about things and it’s taken me years to adjust my mental model.
Now when I meet a successful person I think: “this person is very successful, and it’s clear to me they are doing X wrong, so how are they still so successful?”
This is a small shift in a mental model that has had big impact in how I think.
A few takeaways from having made this shift:
I find it very pleasant to spend more time thinking about why people are amazing rather than why people are flawed. This is not a reason in and of itself to think this way, but it’s a nice bonus.
It’s clear that being very very good at a few things that are aligned with one’s role can lead to tremendous output. Specialization rules the day.
It’s clear that being very very good at a few ways of thinking and behaviors can be lead to tremendous output even if coupled with major flaws in ways of thinking and behavior.
A common flaw I see in successful people is that they are just as stubborn about the things they know a lot about as they are about the things they know a little about. This is a major flaw that has little repercussions so long as they stay specialized. But it can blow up in their faces if they branch out. This is a major risk in philanthropy.
Anyways, I suggest you give this way of thinking a try. Anytime you meet someone who’s done something amazing, try to be curious about why they were able to accomplish amazing things despite all their flaws.