Are You Wasting Your Time On Things You're Rubbish At?

17 replies
There was a thread earlier about motivation and it got me thinking, I remember watching a video back in 2010 by Marcus Buckingham and it has always stuck with me. It was called: Trombone Player Wanted. It is one of them empowerment videos but it did hit home a very specific message that I believe a lot of us fail on. The gist of the story went like this, if your kid is failing at a few subjects in school and doing really good in maths, what subject do you put your efforts into building? I can't remember that statistic but it was overwhelmingly in favour of improving them in their worse subjects. A simple question was asked, why? This got me spurring in my mind at the time but it being the video the point was soon made.

Marcus said, you can improve in things that you are awful at and be medioka at it or you can improve the thing that you are really good at and be amazing.

This really hit home with me and for some reason this has been on my mind all day. It isn't about trying to improve the things your bad at, you will always be bad at them and more in-efficient in the tasks you undertake. Something which would take a good person an hour, it may take you 4 hours, just sit there and think for a second of how much time you waste doing things your bad at? I get it if your just starting out and you have no income so you have to but for the people who are making money online, how much time are you wasting doing things your bad at? These tasks can always be outsourced by people who already know what they are doing and you can spend your time focusing on the things your good at! Now, ask yourself this question, how much time are you spending improving the things your amazing at?

By improving one skill and really mastering that down and knowing it inside out, you will have one skill which most others do not. A skill you can leverage and bring to the table, a skill which is HIGHLY valuable. You will not be a jack of all traders and a master at none, you will be the master of something.

So sit there and think, are you wasting your time improving something which your never be good at or can you spend your time making yourself better at something that your already good at?
#rubbish #things #time #wasting
  • Profile picture of the author Malcolm Thomas
    Great post. This is some really important advice that many newbies will do well following. This is also where knowing how to properly outsource comes into play. You must focus all of your efforts on doing the things that MATTER and focus on outsourcing the trivial tasks.
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  • Profile picture of the author joaquin112
    While you might be right, that's not always the case. It's often a good idea to be a master at something and good at other related things. By learning about different subjects and understanding different crafts, your brain will form connections that didn't exist before.

    If you want to become a good marketer, then you have to do your best to understand everything before you go out and waste your money hiring people who might be - or might not be good.

    It IS a good idea to hire people and outsource the work that you're not good at, but if you have the "I don't want to learn that" mentality, you won't be as good as you could be. Look at all the masters in history, for example Da Vinci. If you can combine art with science you will be unstoppable.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    Originally Posted by butters View Post

    if your kid is failing at a few subjects in school and doing really good in maths, what subject do you put your efforts into building? I can't remember that statistic but it was overwhelmingly in favour of improving them in their worse subjects. A simple question was asked, why?
    How do you ever get good at something if you never attempt to better the things you are bad at?

    Even your best skill is something you were not good at until you attempted it.
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    • Profile picture of the author butters
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      How do you ever get good at something if you never attempt to better the things you are bad at?

      Even your best skill is something you were not good at until you attempted it.
      Instead of replying to all individually I think this covers most of the replies made .

      I am not saying that you shouldn't try, by all means you should be trying. What I am saying is, there are things which you can master and what you can't master. I'll use my self for an example here, I will never be able to master genetics, why? I don't have the passion for it, I don't have the drive to want to achieve that standard of knowledge. Does that mean I don't understand genetics to a good level? Of course not, I just haven't taken it that extra step because its not for me. Microbiology on the other hand, I could read, learn, study that all day long because it fascinates me, it annoys me if I don't understand something. I have the potential to master it because I am enthusiastic about it and I want to.

      When it comes time where I need to know a higher levels of genetics for research, I will find someone with that knowledge. Why? Because my knowledge will be far superior in microbiology by then opposed to me dedicating my time to the both of them. It will allow for the paper published to be better written opposed to me writing it by my self.

      So I am not saying don't try things, I encourage it but what I am saying is, don't put loads of time into mastering something which you cant.
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      • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
        I really don't think the answer can ever be black and white since it depends upon the individual, namely how they go about their learning and where they are prepared to draw the line before they quit to explore other avenues.

        I was deep into my weightlifting, which depended upon me working upon my weaknesses, however in other areas of life I won't press it certain things I know I need to improve for the fact that I'm too busy refining my qualities which lie elsewhere.

        I knew of a lad who used to play guitar and he'd blow his lid if he made the smallest error. Whilst I used to have an erratic temper myself, as a guitar player I've never understood how it's possible to become annoyed at it. I continue to enjoy the challenge and I persevere until I've mastered.

        I won't however put the same passion and effort into improving my Maths skills which represent one of my greatest weaknesses.

        Different strokes...
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      How do you ever get good at something if you never attempt to better the things you are bad at?

      Even your best skill is something you were not good at until you attempted it.
      Hi Will,

      While I completely agree with what you're saying, I'd also not waste too much time on something that was a pain in the neck. Beating my head against the wall in frustration because I can't figure out how to do a task or do it well isn't a good use of my time, especially if I'm trying to get something finished. That kind of frustration can cause some people to not get tasks done or even quit altogether.

      Granted, there are certain skills that we as marketers should develop "as we grow". Over time we'll learn what we enjoy, what we don't and what makes the most sense to outsource.

      Of course, we do have to know a certain amount about a task or buy a proven blueprint to determine whether the outsourcer did a good job or not. Actually, I believe I read Ken McCarthy mention that at one time or another.

      My point is that we definitely want to progress and become more knowledgable, but we also shouldn't allow anything that can be easily outsourced to keep us from finishing a project in a timely manner. Especially if it's something like a header or banner graphic, something Wordpress related, etc. I send most of that stuff to Fiverr.com and move on to the next task.

      Know what I mean?

      I hope that made sense? (I'm sleepy today. lol)
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
    Some good points. It's true you should focus on what you do best and let others do what you're not good at but it's also true that it can be difficult to outsource something when you don't have a fundamental understanding of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    Although I know what you're saying, I don't think its that simple.

    For instance, lets say that I excel at sales, and own my own business.

    I want to generate more leads, so I think about doing SEO or PPC.

    I hire 3 SEO companies, over the course of a year, and all of them suck and fail to get me any results.

    So then I try 2 different PPC companies, and both of them suck and can't generate a decent volume of calls. The same story all over again.

    Although I do own my own business, and I'm also good at sales, this was the scenario for my former boss. The 1 thing I learned, is that his refusal to learn or do anything other than sales, is the same thing that is still destroying his business today.

    So I made it my mission when I started my own company, to learn as much as I can about as many things as possible.

    Local search.
    Youtube
    SEO
    Craigslist
    Marketing
    Management
    Copywriting
    Reputation Management

    etc etc

    Everything so far but PPC.

    This has allowed me to outsource things the RIGHT WAY, and I was able to generate more leads in 1 year, than my former boss could to generate in 1 year, over the course of 8 years of running his business.

    I agree that what you are good at, you should nurture and develop as much as possible. But ignoring the value of being a well rounded individual, can prove a disastarous choice for both your life and business.

    You should never neglect learning as much as you can, in as many different areas as possible. You just need to have 1 or 2 areas that are your primary focus, and that you excel at.

    Some of the smartest business owners I've met, have been very proficient at many different things. Sales, marketing, copywriting, management, etc etc. You can't expect to just outsource everything, and keep your fingers crossed that you're outsourcing to the right people. Even something as simple as hiring someone to manage your company. If you don't know how to manage a company, you will very likely hire the wrong person.

    Humans always feel this need to oversimplify things, because they become quickly overwhelmed. This is usually not because of too much information, but the potential meaning that they attach to information.

    I'm not telling you to go out and become an expert at everything. But you sure as hell better know the fundamentals of every aspect of running a successful business, if you plan on running a successful business yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    You make some good points, but at the same you have to try things you're not good at. If we all only did what we were good at, we'd still be living in caves.

    Trying and learning stuff that you are bad at, has it's benefits.
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  • Profile picture of the author Angela Wills
    I agree with the idea that you should outsource the things you don't have great talent in, but I also agree that it's really important to have the basic skills when you're outsourcing or you'll most likely end up with terrible results.

    I've created quite a few websites for clients and some of them have come to me after working with one or two other designers and tell me about the horrible experiences they've had. In all cases they were clients who really wanted nothing to do with understanding how their website worked or was going to be set up and I think that was a big mistake. While I didn't expect them to become experts in it I think it's so important you understand what you're hiring people to do before you do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Are You Wasting Your Time On Things You're Rubbish At?
    Nah - once I've actually wasted time on stuff I'm rubbish at, I'm not longer rubbish at it.
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  • Profile picture of the author ExRat
    Hi Butters,

    Originally Posted by butters View Post

    It isn’t about trying to improve the things your bad at, you will always be bad at them and more in-efficient in the tasks you undertake.
    There are too many variables to suggest that this a 'one-size-fits-all' rule.

    Take an analogy - imagine a racing driver is *mediocre* at most aspects of racing, but is particularly poor at keeping the car on the track on corners.

    Do you focus on improving his ability to overtake, which he is already quite good at, or do you improve his ability to stay on the track on corners? You can't overtake well when you're in the gravel trap.

    Or a hairdresser who is average all round, but can't cut a straight line on edges/fringes. Is it wise to let her do most of the job but call in an assistant to help out every time the edges need trimming? Or is it better to train her to cut straight in the first place and create confidence in the customer that she is trained all round, in all required aspects?

    Originally Posted by butters View Post

    Something which would take a good person an hour, it may take you 4 hours, just sit there and think for a second of how much time you waste doing things your bad at?
    Every time you practice it and improve, you are wasting less time, to the point where no time is wasted, because the skill is mastered and only a negligible amount of improvement is possible. Therefore, the time spent improving initially is not wasted time.

    Originally Posted by butters View Post

    Humans always feel this need to oversimplify things, because they become quickly overwhelmed.
    With respect, it could be suggested that this is what has occurred with the logic used to create the premise in the OP.

    As I said, this may be a wise approach for some, but probably not for all. It depends on the circumstances. Of course, it's not likely that everyone can master everything. But there are benefits to mastering all areas in a particular field.

    Like the business owner who (if required) can take a hands-on approach and show the person on the shop floor how to do their job better. Or the person who becomes so masterful in all relevant areas of their field that they are considered the go-to-guy for advice, who then charges a premium purely for consulting and their reputation precedes them (requires no marketing). Being completely useless in one important area can lead to someone considered to be an expert losing that reputation in the other areas.

    It depends, on many things. In some circumstances though, you are absolutely correct.
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  • Profile picture of the author Luis Vaugier
    This is so true!!!

    This is a very common mistake, to want to do everything by yourself, it's better to accept what you can't do and even if you can do it and you are good at it, if you can outsource, then why to waste your valuable time doing so?
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    This is so. Frankly, my new you tube movie sux. Still, I consider it a learning experience. Also, it is an excuse. Yeah, to get a brand new camera. Just bought some video editing software that was max expensive. Most of us have our poor areas. Hey, that is how it is.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Schuman
    One of the best things I learned a few years ago was "do what you like best and outsoruce the rest". Internet marketing is a lot more fun for me now. Interestingly enough the things I like best are the ones I am good at!
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  • Profile picture of the author sunny00
    Great post. I think we all have done this at one point especially in internet marketing because it is a vast field. It is also fast paced and so many products and services are thrown at you. Product launches everyday practically. It is easy to see how you would get caught up doing things you are not good at because the pitch was so believable.

    It took me some time to realize what I was good at and my weaknesses. I do think you can turn your weaknesses into strengths its just a matter of taking the time to learn but it is more beneficial to work on your strengths and increase them.

    One tool I used was Wealth Dynamics -wealth profile you can easily find some videos on youtube to see if you fit one of these profiles

    Mechanic
    Creator
    Lord
    Supporter
    Trader
    Accumulator
    Star
    Deal Maker

    Any questions just message me anyone. Hope this helps anyone who may be stuck at this moment. Hope this helps you with your flow.
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  • Profile picture of the author WarrenPeterson
    This starts in our schooling system. When children are weak in a subject, the focus becomes moved towards making them stronger in that subject. It is a serious failing of our educational system, though that is a different topic...

    As adults, once we have enough exposure to a subject to know if it is a strength or weakness, we should spend the rest of our time maximizing our strengths. Most people will go much farther, have more success, and be happier by strengthening their strengths versus strengthening their weaknesses.
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