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Thursday, July 24th, 2014


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The Master of Too

Quick, name the athlete who won gold medals in swimming, fencing, gymnastics, and basketball – in the same Olympics. Stumped? That’s because no one has done it, and no one ever will.

To be the best you must have singular focus and dedication. Think Michael Phelps here – most gold medals ever won by a single Olympic athlete – and all were in one thing, swimming. And just like Phelps, you’ve got to go to the extreme. You’ve got to be TOO strong, TOO fast, TOO resilient, and most of all TOO focused. How will you accomplish that for multiple goals? Well, cloning is an option. But if you’re holding out for that you need more help than I can give!

You know the saying, “Jack-of-all-trades, master of none,” right? You may think having varied skills and projects is a good thing but in business, it’s a prescription for disaster. This ain’t no variety show, this is your brilliant idea, your innovative design, your ticket to entrepreneurial greatness. Are you willing to risk it all just to have your fingers in every pot?

Look, maybe you are a modern-day Renaissance man or woman. Maybe you really can do it all better and faster than your colleagues. But can you honestly say that you can be the BEST in your industry? Because those schmucks across the conference table don’t matter, it’s the rock stars of business you have to beat.

If you’re going to take your career or your business to the next level, you must make a choice. What skill or goal or idea is worth your total devotion? More importantly, what can you take to the extreme? Become a master of one thing and then kick it up a notch – or better yet, ten. Be TOO fast, or TOO slow, or TOO hard, or TOO simple, or TOO little, or TOO much.

The best, most hard-core examples in any industry are impossible to beat. They are masters; they own their field. Olympic athletes have it figured out. Dedicate yourself to one sport, push hard and be the extreme, the highest version of yourself. Be TOO much for the competition.

Become a TOO master and you just might take home the gold, or a pot of gold.

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8 Responses to The Master of Too

  1. Peggy says:

    This article is just the reminder I needed to help re-focus my entrepreneurial efforts. I have been spending too much time trying to be all and do all, and frankly, I am stressed out. I am going to take a deep breath and figure out what I can do to take my idea to the “extreme” and concentrate on that instead.

    Oh, and I like the play on words. I am not sure if you meant to do it, but the “Too” reminded me of the “Tao.”

    Thanks for the great article!

  2. zuul says:

    I am a victim of trying to focus on too many things at once. Definitely good advice to keep focus. Focus on what is most important.

  3. Mike Michalowicz says:

    Peggy,

    You are dead on. Taking on too much results in stress. And that kills productivity.

    Thanks for noticing the play on words :>)

    - Mike

  4. Ashlee says:

    I think its a lot less black and white than this. And it depends on your lifestyle and personality. I personally thrive when I have a few things going on-I get bored too easily otherwise, causing me to loose focus. But I do agree that quite often we have TOO much going on, so we’re spread too thin. Its important to know yourself well to know how much you can handle so you can be the BEST YOU! Mike, remember that your case is not always the case for others.

  5. Russell says:

    I guess it depends what you are going for. I have always admired the idea of a Renaissance man. Take Leonardo da Vinci for example. I don’t believe one should limit themselves to one area. I may be taking this article out of the context of a business-related article however.

  6. Mike Michalowicz says:

    Perhaps one sign of not living your passion is that you continue to seek out short term things that make you happy. I think when we hit on something that we are truly passionate to the core about, that it becomes easy (actually fun) to keep at it. We all need a break a times and to shift gears, but I think a continual switch in what we do will never let anyone achieve true mastery.

    - Mike

  7. Louis Lautman says:

    Mike Michalowicz is right on and full of wonderful advice. We should all stay posted on this guy as his mission is to help young entrepreneurs. By the way, have you guys seen him in the movie about the Young Entrepreneur Society? Check him out in the trailer at http://www.theYESmovie.com.
    -Louis Lautman

  8. Andrew Dumais says:

    Mike, I totally agree with you. It’s all about giving all of yourself and surrendering to your mission/purpose, while finding others to join you to support that mission. I think it’s easy to fall into the category of “jack-of-all-trades, master of none,” especially as an analytical person. Your insight is always well timed-thank you!

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