Being different is a good thing. We all have unique skills we bring to the table. The key is finding your unique 20 percent spike. Your 20 percent spike is your super power. It’s that skill that people can count on you for. Maybe for you it’s writing. Maybe it’s figuring out the business of things. Maybe it’s designing things. When you know what your unique 20 percent spike is, you know your most powerful tool for creating impact or earning a living.
In The 80/20 Individual: How to Build on the 20% of What You do Best , Richard Koch writes about finding your unique 20 percent spike.
Key Take Aways
Here are my key take aways:
- Differentiate yourself. Use your unique experience or strength to differentiate. For example, maybe you’re a writer that knows how to make laugh. Maybe you’re a consultant that excels at big, hairy challenges. Maybe you’re a teacher that knows how to light people’s fire.
- Move the ball forward. Use your unique strengths to change the game. Creative people change the world. Change the world using your spike. Better yet, change YOUR world, using your unique 20 percent spike.
- Use your spike as a launch pad. Whether it’s a business, a hobby or a way to get leverage on the job, use your unique 20 percent spike as a springboard. It’s your unique advantage.
The power of a unique 20 percent spike is that it’s both a way to differentiate in an overcrowded space, and it’s a way to get leverage in a skills-for-hire economy.
You’re one of a kind. Use your unique experience to figure out your unique spike. Koch writes:
This is vital, but often neglected, truth. Of all the billions of people on earth, only identical twins have the same generic material. And even identical twins have different experiences, inclinations, partners, and emotions.Yet we spend most of our lives denying our individuality, trying to pretend that we are just like everyone else. Isn’t that weird?
Creative Individuals Make Fewer Concessions to Reality
Creative individuals live life on their terms. Koch writes:
Creative individuals are different. They embrace their individuality more than others do. They are aware of it. They give it more head-room. They cultivate it. They know where it can be used most effectively. Creative individuals have less need to fit in. They make fewer concessions to “reality,” a reality defined by other people.
Progress Depends on Creative Individuals
Creative people change the world. Koch writes:
George Bernard Shaw knew this: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” Now, replace “unreasonable” with “creative.”
Start By Thinking About Yourself
In work and life, unleash your best by leveraging your 20 percent spike. Koch writes:
If you want to create, you first have to find and nurture your 20 percent spike. If you want to create a new business, don’t start by thinking about the business. Start by thinking about yourself.
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Photo by Muffet.