These are a handful of people I have known, and currently know, who are just…inherently smarter than the rest of us.
I think of a Pastor I knew. In his most productive years, his church grew in attendance to be the largest church in his denomination. I met with him after he retired, and asked him how he accomplished such growth. He went through a number of steps he had followed. They were brilliant; and, more importantly, they worked. So I asked him what books he had read to learn these steps to accomplish such growth. He said “I didn’t read books on how churches grow. I just knew what to do, and I did it.”
He wasn’t being arrogant, just factual.
But, he had a little trouble understanding why the rest of us mere mortals did not have the same capabilities.
My latest exposure to this rare gift came from a conversation with a CEO of a mid-size, fast growing, built-from-scratch company. He said “I hate reading business books. They are poorly written; and, I already know all the stuff they say anyway.”
Yep; same thing – he wasn’t being arrogant, he was just being factual.
These two people were “naturals,” and the rest of us feel just a little under-powered in their midst. (By the way, it was not a matter of work ethic; they both worked/work very hard. It is a matter of always knowing what to do – such people always seem to know what to do…).
I’ve met a few others like them. But, I am not in their circle, that’s for sure.
Now, for the rest of us, we have a steeper hill to climb. We don’t know what to do so “automatically.” We have knowledge gaps, skill gaps, that these folks don’t have. We have to learn.
And for us, books are a good place to learn. But not only do we not read the books we should read, when we read them, we kind of say:
“Well, I’ve read that book now.” And that’s the sum of our accomplishment. We don’t figure out what to do differently, what to do better, after reading a good book.
And that is almost deadly. It is certainly wasted time – to read, and not learn, and not do.
Because, in one sense the path to success is simple (not easy, just simple):
Step #1 – Know what to do.
Step #2 – Do it very well.
Step #3 – Then, know the next thing to do.
And repeat, and repeat, and repeat…
If you know what to do, then do it.
If you don’t know what to do, then learn what to do – and then do it…
I have found good business books to be a great source for finding out the next thing to do. (Yes, some of them may not be all that well-written, but their ideas are valuable, and that is what counts, isn’t it?)
So, if you’re not one of those “naturals,” what are you reading now? And, what are you doing with what you learn from your reading?
If you’re not much of a reader, check out our useful synopses from our companion site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com. Each synopses comes with the audio recordings of our presentations, plus our comprehensive, multi-page handouts.