The Big Idea
We can reverse engineer success.
Questions I Answer
- How can I figure out the next steps?
- What if I don’t know what I’m doing?
- Can I figure out what to do by looking at others?
Resources and Links
- Connect with Ron
- Find Ron on his Website, Facebook, or Twitter
- Order your copy of his book, Decoding Greatness: How the Best in the World Reverse Engineer Success
Extraordinary is a choice. Take that in, soak it up because of the hustle grind, repeat mantra that society has been touting for decades. It had it all wrong. I’m Tonya Dalton. I’m a seven figure entrepreneur bestselling author speaker, mom, and rule-breaker I’m here to help you live to your fullest potential. That’s what this podcast is all about. The intentional advantage is doing life on our own terms.
Define the status quo and seeing ourselves outside of the tie-dye definitions. Society’s name for us. It’s intentionally choosing to step back away from the chaotic rush of your every day and choosing, choosing to see that it’s your world. And it’s filled with opportunities. Let’s challenge the bedrock beliefs that so many have wholeheartedly trusted because we were told they were truths. Let’s have a healthy disregard for the impossible.
Let’s choose to be extraordinary. Hello and welcome to the intentional advantage podcast. I’m your host, Tonya Dalton. This is episode 234. I am really excited about today’s show. I feel like I say that every week though, every week, I feel like we’re tackling something new that we’re really starting to understand how we can design a life on our own terms.
I just, I love this theme because I think it puts the power right back in your court. You know, last week we talked about this idea of rebelling a little bit against the status quo. We’ve, we’ve talked about the power of choice and how to figure out what you really want. So what I thought we would do today is I thought we would do something a little bit well backwards,
which sounds funny to say, but it’s all about reverse engineering, looking at some of the people that we admire throughout history throughout time and all different industries and reverse engineering, how they had success. My friend, Ron Friedman is on the show today and he’s written a book where he has examined all of these amazing innovators and these brands to see how they did it.
And he’s sharing that with us. So let me tell you a little bit about Ron. He is an award-winning psychologist. He has served on the faculty of the university of Rochester and he’s consulted for political leaders, nonprofits. Many of the world’s most recognized brands, popular accounts of his research have appeared in major newspapers like New York times, Washington post Boston, globe,
the male, the guardian, as well as magazines, such as Harvard business review and psychology today, Ron is the founder of ignite 80, a learning and development company that translates research in neuroscience, human physiology, and behavioral economics into practical strategies that can help working professionals become healthier, happier, and more productive. And what I love about Ron is he takes a topic like neuroscience and human physiology and behavioral economics,
and he distills it down. He makes it really easy to understand and is he has amazing stories and amazing insights. His first book was called the best places to work. It was selected as an Inc magazine best business book of the year and this newest book, decoding greatness is fabulous. So what I’d love to do is just dive into today’s episode, because I want you to understand that greatness truly can be achieved if we understand the formula.
All right, I am so excited to have you here today. This is such a treat because we met a long time ago, and then I got a chance to read your book and it’s, it’s an incredible rate. So I want to, I want to dive straight into this book, decoding greatness, because it really is. It’s amazing deep dive where you look at the people,
the companies, the creatives that have achieved greatness, and it’s this great look at how they’ve done that. And one of the things that I really like is how it is jam packed with stories, examples, research back up, all of these theories that you touch on. So I think that one of the biggest concepts that I think is so important, and I would love to talk about with you is this idea of reverse engineering to really design our lives.
Can you talk about that? Yeah, absolutely. So, so I am a social psychologist and my focus is on top performance. Meaning how do the people at the top of their profession get to where they are? And so in this book, the coding greatness, what I tried to do was look at all of the top performers in the CR in creative fields,
top performing entrepreneurs and inventors and figure out what are they doing differently than everyone else. And what I discovered in doing the research for decoding greatness is that in many cases, the stories we’ve been told about both greatness and success are wrong. Most of us have been told two main stories throughout our lives. One is that greatness or success comes from talent. This is the idea that we’ve all heard,
that we’re all born with certain innate strengths. And that the key to finding your greatness is finding a field that allows those strengths to shine. The second big story is that greatness comes from talent. This is the Malcolm Gladwell story. The 10,000 hours practice practice practice have the right practice regimen have enough of an appetite and a discipline to work for many, many years.
And eventually you will succeed, but there is a third story and it’s one that people don’t often talk about and we could touch on why that is, but it is remarkably consistent. And it’s a path that has worked for so many of the top performers that we’ve all heard of the Steve gates of the world and the, and the Steve jobs and bill gates,
Steve jobs, Malcolm<inaudible> in my mind because they use the same underlying strategy, which was reverse engineering and reverse engineering simply means finding extraordinary examples in your field, whatever that case may be, whatever field you’re in there are going to be extraordinary. Examples of people who’ve achieved great things, and then working backward to figure out how they did it so that you can learn from their techniques and accelerate your success.
Yes. I love that. And I think you’re so right. And this is the third thing that people don’t talk about. This idea of breaking down a big invention or a book or something that we admire, and then working backwards to figure out and kind of decode what those moving parts are. And so really it’s about how greatness happens, not necessarily by accident or by these gifts.
It’s, it’s by choice it’s by taking these things and breaking them down and looking at them. Why do you think that is that we don’t talk about this, this type of decoding greatness. I’m curious. I’m So glad you asked, because I think this is the big elephant in the room is that we assume that if we’re studying someone else’s work very closely,
that we’re going to be reduced to either hacks or plagiarism or being overly influenced by them. And then we’re not going to be original. And this is why it’s so valuable to look at the research on creativity, because what you find is in that practice of taking apart, someone else’s work, whether it be a website or a book or a memo or a speech,
and then analyzing, Hey, what’s happening here from page to page or paragraph to paragraph that practice actually opens your mind up and makes you more creative. And just to make this concrete, I’ll tell you about a study that I talk about in the book and chapter one. And it’s a study out of the university of Tokyo. They had creativity experts bring in amateur artists into the lab and they divided them into two groups.
The first group was asked to create original drawings for three days straight. The second group was asked to create original drawings for the first day. Then the second day, they were asked to stop and copy the work of an established artists. And then then the third day, they asked them to resume creating original drawings. And what they did at the end of the experiment was they had objective Raiders,
professional artists come in and rate the drawings of the two groups on the final day. Even they were curious, who was the most creative. And it was the second group, the group that had paused to copy the work of an established artist. And they weren’t just creative by copying the style or the methods of that established artists. They went off in completely different directions.
And it’s because when you take the time to study someone else’s work closely and you compare their work against your instinctive, inclinations, that practice of comparing your, the thing you wanted to do against the thing they actually did opens your mind up to fresh possibilities that are hidden within your own work so far from making you a hack or someone who’s unoriginal taking the time to reverse engineer stellar.
Examples is actually going to open you up to greater creativity and stronger. Skill-building, That’s fascinating because think of it as stifling creativity that, oh, then it’s putting me, you know, in this little tight constraint, when obviously constraints too can set you free. We’ve talked about that on the podcast before. I think we get really caught up in this idea of thinking outside of the box,
right? That everything has to be thinking outside of the box. Everything has to be new or original or, you know, shiny and sparkly when really we can find greatness and thinking inside the box, getting in that box with these great people who have kind of taken this path ahead of us, and then really using that as a springboard is basically what you’re saying here.
Right? And just to build off your memory metaphor, it really is about combining boxes. So think about creativity. As you mentioned, as being completely original. Now, creativity and originality are not the same thing. Now I can’t stress this enough. Creativity and originality are not the same thing. Often if you’re looking to be completely original, you’re going to turn off your audiences.
And it’s because as a species, we are distrustful of the new, we don’t like completely new things. What we’d like are something that reminds us of an existing formula and with a slight modification. Okay. So that’s the key. The trick is find an established formula and then add your own unique. And a great example of this is the story of Barack Obama.
Now not a lot of people know this, but when Barack Obama first entered politics, he was not an overnight success. In fact, he failed miserably in his first attempt to run for office. And the problem, if you can believe it was that he was a terrible speaker. Now, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, I think we can all agree that Barack Obama is an above average political communicator,
right? One of the best you could argue, right? I mean, he’s, he’s amazing. And you might think, you know, he, he was a natural born talent, but in fact the opposite is true. And so the, the trouble for him, if you can believe it was that he was a terrible speaker. And the reason was that he was used to lecturing students as a law school professor and voters do not appreciate being lectured to so people do not appreciate being lectured to,
and they let him know at the ballot box. So he lost by a margin of more than two to one. And so for awhile, he was rudderless. He had no idea what to do next. He thought about leaving politics. He was actually broke until one of his campaign staffers recommended. He study what pastors are doing in the church to communicate with people visiting the church.
And what he discovered in that process is a few things. He discovered that they were telling a lot of stories that they were using repetition, that they were quoting the Bible. They were modulating their tone. And when he came back to politics, he’s speaking, style was transformed and the rest is history. Now, what I love about that story is it illustrates that Barack Obama didn’t go off into the wilderness and find his talent.
He didn’t practice for 10,000 hours instead you identified, was working in a different field and he incorporated it into his approach. And that is a method of thinking that we can all apply to both elevate our creativity and learn facts And thinking about this idea of combining those two boxes. So he took what the pastors were doing. So that’s, what’s inside the box and he added his own kind of special sauce to it.
Right? What makes him unique? Yeah, he wasn’t talking about the same things they were, or he wasn’t, you know, mimicking exactly what they were doing. He just used that almost as a springboard for, oh, here’s how I can use this formula, so to speak. Right? Yeah. And he took the political speech formula and he added on top of that.
The pastor style. Now that approach of combining different elements seems to be incredibly prominent across fields. So another example of this is, and this is a more recent example is Lin Manuel Miranda. Now, I don’t know if you’ve seen in the Heights, it’s on HBO max now, and everyone’s talking about it. It’s one of the most popular movies of the summer.
And what you, what you discover when you look at in the Heights is that Lynn Manuel and this, by the way, was his first show before Hamilton. And what you discover is that he’s basically taking the traditional Broadway formula and he’s adding to it rap and salsa, and that made it unique. Now it wasn’t like Barack Obama was not an overnight success.
It wasn’t until a man. Well, Miranda took that formula that I just described an attitude, one other element, and that was American history. And that’s when Hamilton was formed and that took off. And so what’s fascinating is in both of these cases, these incredibly talented, but also highly successful performers are not simply relying on their talent. They’re applying an approach that is replicable to all of us,
which is identify what is working in your field, but then layer on top of that things that are working in other fields to create something completely new. I think that’s fascinating is I think a lot of times we think that these people who are great are inventors when really they’re innovators, they are not inventing and starting with something brand new from scratch. It feels,
I mean, someone like Lin, Manuel Miranda is a perfect example of that. He brings something so different and unique. You think he’s invented something different, but really what he’s done is he studied and he is reverse engineered, which is what you say is this big secret for really decoding the greatness. And he’s applying his own, his own special twist to it.
And then it becomes something totally different and brand new. I think that’s amazing. Yeah. And so really it’s just about having a methodical approach to understand how things were created and then what you can learn about those insights and how you can apply them. So it really is about having that mindset of how is this created? What can I learn from this?
How can I apply this to the thing I’m working on? It’s about having that proactive, reverse engineering mindset, as opposed to how people normally experience great examples, which is passively like, oh, that’s cool. I wish I would have done that. And I want to take that Mo that emotion that we all feel like, man, I wish I had come up with that instead.
Think about how was this created? What can I learn from this? How do I apply that? And that mindset takes you from this victim mentality of like of jealousy and puts you in the driver’s seat because now you’re constantly learning. And that energizes you in a way that counteracts all the burnout that we now feel so much of the burnout comes from feeling like there’s too much to do and not enough time,
but the moment you start injecting, learning into your everyday life, that’s going to energize you. And it’s going to energize you because it puts you in a better mood. It raises your confidence and it feeds your psychological need for growth. So the more of this you do with whatever it is you’re doing, the more you’re going to learn, the better you’re going to get and the better you’re going to feel in the process.
Oh, I love that because I love this idea too, of it’s taking us out of that victim mentality with jealousy because jealousy is victimization of yourself that, oh, other people have it better, easier, faster, or whatever. And I have it harder. And so it’s, boo-hoo for me, I did, I wasn’t able to think of this when really that is your opportunity to take that,
whatever it is you think is amazing and take it a step further and make it your own. I love that. I so appreciate that you’re pointing this out because one of the things that I hope people take away from this book is that if you have fallen victim to one of those two stories of, oh, that person’s talented and I don’t have that talent,
so I could never do that. Or I don’t have 10 years to practice. So I should just keep my day job and just be happy that, and live for the weekend. And you’ve given up on your dreams because you don’t feel like you had a method for doing it. This is the approach that those are the top are you using? And they’re not talking about it because they feel a little guilty about it.
I want to just take away that stigma. And I want you to empower you to apply this approach. And I’ll give you one other application that is going to be useful to anyone thinking about starting a business. So in the book I talk about one of the things that research has shown that entrepreneurs do differently than everyone else, the successful ones, and what that is,
is that they’re not necessarily more motivated. They’re not smarter, they’re more creative. What they are is better at pattern recognition. They’re really good at figuring out what is working in that business that I’m looking at or studying. And how can I apply that to my business? And a great example of this is how if you analyze Starbucks and Chipotle, they’re basically the same business model at the same time.
And so you, on the surface, you would think, Hey, how are these? The same one is serving coffee, the other serving burritos, right? And it’s because underlying both of those business models is the insight that if you find something that’s working somewhere else, in other words, somewhere in a different country, you can import that or a different location.
You can import that into your area and make it a success. So in the case of Starbucks, Howard Schultz saw the coffee bars that were thriving in Italy and imported them into Seattle where nothing close even existed. In the case of Chipola. Steve saw the Mexican restaurants, the burrito bars in San Francisco, and imported them into Colorado where nothing close existed.
And so ultimately that formula of, Hey, what’s working somewhere else I can import into my hometown is the recipe you need for coming up with, with, with, with a successful business, or you can reverse it, which is what’s successful near me. Then I can export somewhere else. Now, once you start thinking in formulas, all of a sudden business ideas are everywhere,
but if you’re just relying on your bolt of lightning to hit you, and you’re going to come up with your, your billion dollar idea, that’s not going to happen. It’s all about reverse engineering, successful businesses and figuring out what’s the blueprint that I can apply to my thing. I love this because it empowers you to choose how you want to design your life,
design your business, because you have a formula. And one of the things that you’ve said here, you’ve mentioned this once or twice about this idea of like going away off to your cave to, to learn all those new secrets of how to do this or having 10,000 hours, nobody feels like they can do that. And so it does become very overwhelming.
It becomes very like defeating because you feel like you’re powerless. So what’s your method does is it puts that power right back into your lap A hundred percent. And I think that in a certain way, it gives you a place to start. That doesn’t feel like it’s on you to figure it out. So, one of the strategies I talk about in this book,
and it’s one that anybody listening to this can apply is the first step to reverse engineering success in your field is to become a collector. Now, what I mean by becoming a collector is assemble a Google doc or a Pinterest of examples that have been remarkable to you for one reason or another in your field. Now that can mean a well-written email. It could mean an amazing website.
It can mean a great logo. And once you have that collected in a single place, you can go then and compare the objects in your collection against those that didn’t make your collections. You’re comparing the ordinary against the extraordinary. And when you do that, you can’t help, but identify the ingredients that make successful works unique. Now, once you know what it is that makes those successful works unique.
Now you can templatize it. You can create a template for yourself that says, Hey, here are the features I need to hit on in order to succeed at this. Because based on the examples I’ve collected, you can combine elements and it gives you a starting place. So that the next time you need to write, let’s say a proposal, or you need to write a well crafted memo,
or you need to write a speech. You just go to your collection, you figure out what are those examples doing differently? And that gives you a starting point instead of just staring at a blank screen, which is so intimidating. And then you never get started because you’re too, you’re feeling like you don’t know where to begin having that collection is that first.
Well, my listeners know that one of my catchphrases is overwhelm. Isn’t having too much to do. It’s not knowing where to start. That’s something I say again and again and again. And having the tools to know where to start is, is incredible. And I feel like I have to say this. I feel like, like I have to just say this point blank templatizing or using a template is not cheating.
So can we do away with any guilt shame, worry about using a template or using a formula is not quote unquote, doing the thing for real, whatever it is using a template is a smarter way to move forward to choose that life you want. And I think these examples that you’ve given so far, and there’s tons of examples in the book of these amazing people that we admire and look up to these companies and corporations,
these innovators, and these creators, we don’t look at them as cheating when they’re using these templates. We just haven’t even realized it. So I want to make sure that my listeners get that message. Would you agree with that, Ron, that is not cheating? Well, not only is it not cheating, but if you feel like you can’t have one of those,
because you’re doing something wrong, you’re going to be wasting a lot of time and a lot of energy. And a lot of frustration is going to come about as a result. And I can tell you that if you look at what, for example, Marvel films are doing, they’re using a template. Okay? So here’s the Marvel template. The Marvel films all start with a hero.
Who’s discovering a secret strength that they need to somehow manage or wrangle or get under control. Then they, they, there is a sidekick who often will use sarcastic quips. Usually when they’re fighting and under mortal danger, they often will pair the smart, but a weak smart by weak character with a very strong, but emotionally underdeveloped character. And that pairing leads to interesting interactions.
Often the hero will face a man made villain. In other words, Lex Luther was not inherently strength. It was not inherently talented in any way beyond being really smart, but he built his weapons where a Superman is inherently gifted. There’s a CGI driven scene at the end. There’s a trailer that follows about the next Marvel film. You realize what they’re doing.
It’s remarkable that all these movies have been successful because they’re all the same movie, right? But it’s interesting because they don’t just follow the template. They also evolve in just ever so slightly so that it feels fresh. And the case of Marvel films, what they do is they bring in a director who, whose expertise lies in a genre outside of superhero films.
And that’s true. They call It inexperienced experience. And, and what that tells us is that sometimes if you want to evolve a formula, it’s just the matter of bringing in a new teammate who doesn’t have experience in your field. And that person’s perspective will force you to evolve just enough to make your formula feel fresh. And that’s so important for creative teams because creative teams often they have,
you know, they, they have a formula they’ve been successful with a particular proposal style. They’ll send the same team to a new therapy every time. And that can work for a little while, but five years from now, that team is probably gonna fall because that formula isn’t fresh anymore. So introducing a new team member, it can be just enough to move you just ever so slightly.
And keep you evolved just ahead of your competitors. That was really interesting too. I didn’t, I had never recognized that pattern of they are bringing in directors who are outside of that genre. And I think this is something that I talk about in my book on purpose is this idea of the first-timer mentality that we have to let go of that first time or a mentality,
because it’s actually this beautiful gift, this beautifully boundless, naitivity where we don’t know the bounds of the constraints of what’s possible. And what’s not because it’s brand new. So they bring in a whole new skill set and a whole new set of fresh eyes of where they can take this. I think that’s a really important part of that is bringing in that freshness,
right? And You know, you can apply that if you’re working by yourself too, and you can do that by hiring a consultant, you can even do it by having conversations about what you’re planning to create with someone whose expertise is outside your field. So for example, if I’m writing a business article, instead of talking to an entrepreneur, I might talk to a designer.
That person is going to have a slightly different perspective on how they interpret my article, what they’re looking for in it. And just having those conversations with people whose expertise lies outside your field, opens you up to new ways of thinking. And when we think about networking, we often think about people who can help us move our career forward in some way,
but sometimes talking about your area of interest with someone whose expertise licensed, something completely different that can actually lead you to be more creative and so networking for not necessarily just within your industry, networking with people who are outside your industry can also be a source for moving your career forward. I love that. I love that. Okay. And I feel like you’ve segue perfectly into what I want to chat about after our quick little mid episode break,
because I want to talk about this idea of strengths and weaknesses, what comes easy and what comes hard. So let’s do that in just a second. You may have noticed a theme with the start of the season. We’re talking a lot about the power of choice that you get to choose the life you have, that yes, life is all about choosing.
And I know that for some of you, you may feel like maybe you don’t have choices that life has boxed you in, or there are no options, but I can promise you the choices they are. They’re my friend, they’re there for all of us. And when I was coming up with this season, I knew I wanted to do, I wanted to do something different.
I wanted to go big with an event because I really wanted you to see that it is by making choices, that we start to live that life we want. So what I’ve done is I have pulled together an incredible live five day event. It’s called the courageous choice experience, the unconventional choices, powerful women make to on purpose through this event, you’re going to hear from some of the most amazing,
some of the strongest women that I know these are women running seven and eight figure businesses. These are women who are at the helm of big organizations and corporations. These are women on stages that you’ve heard of, that you see their names on the shelves of the bookstore. You see them on the TEDx stages. You hear them all over the place and you’ve wondered to yourself,
how did she get successful? How can I get successful? Well, that’s what this event is all about. So go and reserve your seat right now, Tonya dalton.com/choice. It is a free event. I just want you to see that those possibilities they are out there. That’s what these women are excited about doing in these interviews is showing how you can start making choices in your own life,
courageous choices, just like they’ve made. So pause the podcast right now, head straight over to Tonya dalton.com/choice and save your spot. I would love to see you there. Okay. So before the break, we touched on this idea of really bringing in other people because they, they help us have fresh eyes. They have us, they help us, you know,
see where we are perhaps weak and where we could strengthen up. What I love is, you know, a lot of what you talk about with this reverse engineering, the studying of how these formulas work is, it builds on some of our strengths. Curiosity is something we’re innately born with. I mean, ask anybody who has a two or three-year-old and they ask why 3 billion times a day.
It also builds upon our strength of mimicry. We are born with that as well. And so I love that that there’s that ease with how this, you know, formulations, how those work. But I think you talk about something in the book that I think is just as valuable. And it’s this idea that what we think of as our weaknesses can actually become our strengths.
And I would love to chat about that because weakness is somewhat one of those things that we’d like to just say, we’ll just sweep it underneath the rug and not talk about that. So can we talk about how, how is that, that we can turn a weakness into a strength? Well, this, this is a great story in the book about Malcolm Gladwell and how he learned to write.
And so when most people in the nonfiction space think about knack, Malcolm Gladwell, again, they assume he was born with an incredible talent. And to a certain extent he was, I, I don’t doubt the fact that he’s a very talented writer, but what’s interesting about his story is that he came about his particular style as a result of not being able to execute a different style.
And so he was trained as a science writer. I think it was Washington post, and he would write very short articles about scientific findings. And then he moved over to the new Yorker where if you’re familiar with the new Yorker style, they write very long articles and they’re particularly particularly story-driven. And he felt like he was not good enough of a writer to write that particular style.
And so what he would do is he would tell a, and then he would interweave Scientifics findings along the way, and then get back to the story. And that ma that Gladwell and style of story study story study became really unique. Now, most people don’t know this, but he actually didn’t invent that style. That style was, he brought in from a different influence,
which is Lee Ross, and Paul Nisbett who wrote a book called the person and the situation in then I think it was the 1980s or seventies. There were social psychologists. And that was their way of connecting social, psychological studies and bringing them to a bigger audience by telling stories. So that was his approach to writing for the new Yorker. And it took off,
he wrote the tipping point. He wrote outliers and his career obviously has flourished ever since, but he was compensating. He was compensating for a weakness and he did it by drawing an influence outside of the new Yorker and brought it into the new Yorker and then took off with it as a non-fiction writer, that approach of compensating sometimes can lead you to an accidental innovation that makes you just unique enough to build on an existing formula.
And I can tell you, this is also true for my writing. And one of the things you mentioned Tanya, is that you I’m grateful to you because you said, I appreciate how many stories are in this book. That’s a compensation too, in a way, because I personally, as a reader, I get bored. If I have to read a story for 10 to 20 pages,
I don’t like it. I want you to get to the point and I want to get, I want you to give you the actionable insight. So I will just kind of like skim or get to a lot of like, yeah, I’m not interested in your 20 page story. Just tell me how to use it. Right? And so my stories are like two paragraphs long,
and then I get to take away and that’s become my unique style, where there are a ton of stories in this book, because I recognized that if I just give you the actionable takeaways, you’re going to forget them, but you’ll remember the stories and the remembering the stories is what brings those insulin to life and makes them more applicable to you. And it’s actionable.
So I guess that’s a weakness, but I’ve turned it into a strength. And so rather than trying to hide from your weakness, I, you know, look at some creative ways that you can compensate for it because that, that approach can make you just original enough to stand out in your field. I love that accidental innovation, because I think you’re right.
Like it’s the, the compensation that sometimes that’s part of the special formula that makes you so unique. And I know that you talk about this dilemma that we can run into with our weaknesses called the vision ability gap. Can you lean into that and talk about that a little bit. Yeah. So the first half of the Cody greatness is all about how people across a wide range of fields,
reverse engineer, and then how they can apply that to creating original works. And then also how you can do the same and evolve existing formulas. That’s the first half, the second half is about something called the vision ability gap. And what that refers to is that even if you know what the formula is, you’re not necessarily going to get it right immediately out of the gate.
You’re going get need to improve your skills, because there’s going to be a gap between your vision, which is what you’re trying to achieve and your current ability. And so the second half of the book is all about practical science-based skill building techniques that improve your performance so that you can actually execute the formulas that you’ve reverse engineered. I love that. So it’s really to understanding that there’s going to be a gap and accepting that,
acknowledging it and saying, okay, I know there’s this gap and just finding a way over it. Right? Yeah. And so, and the other, the other thing that I would say about that gap is that it’s painful. It sucks at the beginning, you start writing and your writing is not good. You start writing your Ted talk. It’s not great.
You’re like, oh man, I’m nowhere near these people who are the top 10 of the list of the top 10 of Ted speakers. And rather than viewing that as a sign that you can’t do it, what I want to encourage you is to interpret that as a signal, that you have a good radar for what success requires. So at the beginning,
there should be a gap and you should embrace that gap because it tells you that you know what you’re looking for and you’re not there yet. And it’s the people who don’t have that radar that never get better. And just knowing that that improvement is needed and having the endurance and the willingness to do the work to get there, that’s, what’s going to make you great.
And so don’t dismiss it. Don’t say, oh man, I can’t do this because we all know that that’s not the case. What it takes is having the right weeks for execution. And that’s what the second half of the book is about is how do you close that gap? How do you do that? How do you close that gap? I know for me,
when I was writing on purpose to the post-it note and I wrote, I had it sitting on my computer every time I was writing, like on the screen, this post-it note that said, this is a first round draft. Like, it didn’t have to be perfect the first time that this is just the first round draft, just get it on the paper,
just get it on the page, right. Because there’s time to fix it. There’s time to adjust it. We can close that gap, but it’s hard in the moment we have to remind ourselves of that. I want to give you two important for the waves on your point. I want to build on it because I think it’s so important. So one is that temporarily lowering your standards is a great way to be procrastination.
So that’s just one of the reasons we procrastinate is because we know we’re not going to be good enough. So you want to temporarily lower your standards and how you do that. I could tell you for me as a writer, one of the best strategies that I learned is I would notice in myself, if I had a really difficult section to write, I would put it Off.
Oh, I’m familiar with that. You’ve heard of this situation. Here’s how you beat it. I’m going to give you, I’m going to tell you right now, you’re ready. This is, this is, you’re going to remember this. I’m ready for this. Okay. This is how you beat. This is instead of thinking that you’re writing for a massive audience of people who are going to read it,
or even if you’re just writing it for people in your office, instead of thinking about them and how they’re going to interpret it, think of it as like you’re writing an email to your best friend, that’s it. You’re just writing an email to your best friend. And that temporarily lowering your standards will enable you to overcome your procrastination. But ultimately it would also lead to better writing.
Cause if your friend will understand it, your reader will understand it. That’s what I did. And I was stunned at how many times I need to change a thing. It was ready. It was ready because I had written in a way that my friend could understand. So just be very, very concrete about who that person is. And obviously make sure it’s someone who’s not too specialized.
It’s someone who’s a little bit like not in your field so that your general reader will also understand it. The other thing I would say is that as a writer, one of the things that you discover over time, and this is true probably for every creative field is that most of the writing happens in the rewriting. It’s not in the original. So just get the resentment done so that you can get them right.
That’s so true. The rounds and rounds and rounds of edit, Ron, and I both know this, the rounds, or do you think it’s going to be like two rounds of edits, like round eight? And you’re like, okay, how many times can I rewrite the story? But every time it gets that much better, sometimes incrementally, teeny tiny amounts,
sometimes bigger. You have this quote in the book that I absolutely loved. So I want to talk about that. This, the quote is the stronger your radar for excellence. The harder it becomes to stomach mediocrity. I write the hook. That’s good. You did write that. You did actually write that. Yes. I think that’s an amazing quote because I think we,
we have too much of a stomach for mediocrity where like, ah, this is just the way life is. This is just how, oh, these other people have it easier. We get that. You know, like we talked about that victim mentality that this is, this is just how life is, and this is something I talk about in on purpose.
This is something you talk, talk about in decoding greatness, this idea that excellence, extraordinary lives, all of these things are within reach. If you just start looking for them and Ron, you have an amazing gift for finding these patterns and telling these stories. I think your book does an incredible job of really showcasing how we can decode greatness. So if we could leave my listeners with one,
like really good solid tip to get them started with decoding greatness in their own lives, what would that be? That’s a big question. It Was a big question because I feel like I’ve said this before, but I just want to just, I feel like it bears emphasizing, which is that if you are someone who’s stuck and doing something that you know that you are settling and you’re settling because you feel like it’s too hard or you don’t have the talent.
I just firmly believe that this approach is going to help you understand why things are successful. And then give you a roadmap that shrinks the gap between how much work do you think is required. What’s actually necessary. And I I’ve, I know of so many readers. Who’ve now looked at this book and are inspired to now write a novel or start a new business,
or even go into music because they now have an approach that doesn’t require that they just, you know, as we mentioned before, go off into the wilderness and figure out what their creative insight is like, no, you just have to have a better system for learning from the best in the world and then bring it down to a new template and then start combining templates.
It’s not hard. You just need to know how to do this. And so I really want, I want people to who feel like that message resonates with them. I really want to urge you to pick this up because I feel like this is going to improve your life in a way that doesn’t, it’s not like a mystical approach that requires, you know,
you, you, you being inspired like this is not about inspiration. This is about action. And it’s not complicated. You just need the system. Yes. A man to that, there’s no reason to choose to be stuck. You can choose to take action, which, you know, I feel is the opposite of being stuck is not unstuck. It’s taking action.
So choose to take action. And Ron, your book makes it so approachable. And it’s incredible because the stories are inspiring, but they also give us a roadmap to follow at the same time. So thank you so much, Ron. Can you tell us where they can find the book? Decoding greatness? Yes. Is that bookstores, are they? But if you go to decoding greatness,
book.com, I would urge you to go there because you can pick any bookstore you want send us your receipt and you will get a free course on how to start applying the strategies immediately. So decoding greatness, book.com. And if you’re interested in learning more about me, you can find me at Ron Friedman, phd.com. Thank you so much, Ron, for coming on today.
This was amazing. Tanya. Thanks for having me. I think what I loved about today’s episode was really how Ron made it all feel so simple. I feel like we looked at some of these leaders that we admire and we understood that they didn’t start there. They didn’t go off into a cave. Like we talked about. They didn’t go off and study for thousands and thousands of hours.
What they did was use the secret formula. They reverse engineered what other people had done. And I really want to reinforce that idea that when we do that, that is not cheating. It is really using the tools at your disposal to be able to move forward into that life you want. I think it’s an incredibly powerful way to look at innovation. It really is.
It makes us so that greatness feels achievable. Doesn’t it? And speaking of greatness, I, it wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t remind you that this week, the courageous choice experience is happening. It’s happening this week right now, if you’re listening to this, as it goes live, that’s a perfect example of reverse engineering, innovation, reverse engineering, greatness,
reverse engineering, how other people have accomplished success that we’re looking for. These women that I’m interviewing throughout this entire series. They are, they’re being incredibly candid. They’re being very open because they want to see you succeed just as they have done. So it’s not too late to join head over to Tonya dalton.com/choice. We still have several days of events going on and we’re going to have interviews.
I mean, there’s 15 interviews. So come join us right now. Even if you feel like, oh, I missed yesterday or the day before, whatever it is, come and join us. It’s not too late. Tonya dalton.com/choice. Because truly when we understand that greatness is achievable, when we understand that we can make a difference in our own lives.
That’s when we have the intentional advantage. Thanks so much for joining me today. Quick question though, before you go, do you like prizes? When you leave a rating and review of the intentional advantage podcast, you’ll be entered to win my life changing course, multiplying your time. Simply leave the review and then send me an firstname.lastname@example.org with a screenshot. I choose one winner at the end of every month.
So go ahead. Do it right now. Just a quick comment with what you loved about this episode or the show in general and a rating and send it our way. Not going to lie by stars is my favorite, but I’d love to hear what you think of the show. And if that’s not enough of an incentive for you to win the multiplying your time course,
I have to tell you the reviews are the number one thing that supports this podcast. And me, it’s the best way to spread the word and get business tips and strategies to all those other women out there who need it. So there you go. Two great reasons for you to go and leave a review right now. So go ahead and do it,
send that screenshot my way, because I want to give you a free course. And thanks again for listening today. I’ll be back next Tuesday and I’ll plan to see you then.
**The Intentional Advantage is a top productivity podcast with a female host. This transcription was created using AI technology.
Tanya Dalton is considered one of the best female keynote speakers on the subject of productivity. As a woman keynote speaker, she has a unique viewpoint when it comes to time management, finding balance and setting goals.