Hyper success - Before anyone should undergo a journey to the pinnacle of success. They should consider what it means to be in that 1% of 1%. To be the hyper-elite and what that entails. We deem this world to be of privilege and class; people mock or ridicule that they could have had this if it weren’t for that. But could they actually? Could you actually get there if you had the advantages someone else had?
The Life Balance Model
If we look at the flourishing health model,  and the Life Balance Model of positive psychotherapy  to begin with; the idea that life is a balance of 4 main areas to provide a flourishing healthy life, but also a life of satisfaction and joy. Physical, mental, social, and spiritual factors should be balanced evenly and our values or time spread across these areas.
This would give one’s life balance and contentment. We would then exist out our days working to maintain that balance and enjoy the benefits that come from this. 'Healthy..ish' body, steady job with just above necessary savings, time for a relationship, family and friends. Just enough to fulfil our psychological needs, social interaction, and levels of connectedness within society. This is the general existence people will tend to live or at least try to live, and what Nietzsche articulately defined as the 'herd mentality'.
Work the average 37.5hrs a week , take the 2-weeks holidays every year, spend weekends winding down from a tiring work week by seeing some friends, or a little time poured into a hobby. You might catch a movie, or more likely trot down to the pub after work most nights.
Breakdown of the Stats...
The ABS shows , 18% of Australians between 20-29 binge drink at least once per week, and we are consuming 2.75 standard drinks per day. The cost this single factor has on productivity is dangerous by itself. The inefficient use of time consumed in social consumption, hang overs and self-loathing the following day/s resulting in further wasted time and productivity.
You will likely, stress weekly, or at least monthly on paying bills and keeping the head above water. With finances that could be better invested into a future. ME bank reported in 2018 that 25% of respondents had less than 1000$ in savings, ANZ found 25% had no savings and 22% could not afford to pay bills on time due to lack of finances. Sure its comfortable enough that you’ll have warmth, some fresh food, and allowances for some minor hobbies, but that’s also near 50% of Australians without the ability to handle a financial rainy day or invest in their future.
That may look normal or sound familiar, maybe even a little stressful. However going by these numbers that looks like most lives. There is nothing wrong with that, nor should anyone feel that. For most, this is everything you need to live a happy go lucky satisfied life. The issue comes when that isn’t enough or that people dictate and mock with ease, that they could have had more or achieved more if life’s events didn’t prohibit some fantasy life from happening.
As they sit comfortably on the couch not doing a thing towards their goal or elusive dream, living in delusion of how easy these so called entitled or privileged few have it. Further exacerbating the herd mentality. Isolating and ridiculing anyone who dare step away from the norm, strive for something more and attempt to evolve beyond that of the mundane. We can call this, oppression we could call this privilege, or, we could be real and call this for what it is... entitlement. Entitlement to this level of success without work. As if life was cruel for not handing it to them on their lap when they paid no mind or effort to strive for that outcome...
Ignoring the Situation
This could be what we refer to as a 'Actor observer bias'. Where we ignore situational circumstances and results of years of hard work, in order to convince ourselves a person simply inherited or were blessed with their success. Think of how many times you heard an old friend or retired athlete discuss that injury that kept them from going pro or some company took their idea before they could get it off the ground.
This form of thought process acts as a safety measure and protects our self esteem from simply recognising; perhaps they worked harder than us, and where we are is a result of our choices?
The cost of admission for hyper success and into that 1% club, is the sacrifices. The Entry ticket alone costs all your time, most social circumstances, and friendships. It will require efforts you did not know possible and time requirements most do not know exist. Outside of just athletes we can examine the elite of business. According to the Harvard Business Review, a study of 1000 CEO's found 25% of their day is spent alone working, emailing etc. 8% is travel to and from meetings, 56% is broken up into smaller fragments of 1 to 1 meetings and business.
Production, marketing, and finance. A further 10% on prospective clients. Leaving Less than 10% spent with personal matters, of an entire day. Think about what that means if this break down concludes an entire day. If we go back to the ideas of the Life balance model. These types of hyper successful individuals would not meet this frame work at all. Their life is so consumed by drive, and work, and continual performance; there is no time for placing energy into things like social lives, healthy relationships, or physical health. This is a very one factor determined model of focus, you cannot spread yourself across those avenues of life evenly with this level of time commitment.
Then comes the fact you must be so insanely focused on one tiny aspect of life that no one else wants to worry about, in order for you to stand out to the degree you are worth paying the millions upon millions of dollars. Where most people will enjoy dabbling in several things and learning different ideas, fields, games or skills. You have to have such a narrow lens that nothing else is worth paying attention to. A hole in a market appears and you must focus on that at all costs. This narrow minded living does not allow for parties, gatherings, events, or functions. Your spare time is studying, your work hours are building, your free time is stressing and thinking.
Why Would Anyone Want This?
Hyper Success - Why would you want that? People think the lifestyle after the act is all that’s involved or required, you don’t see the up-and-coming efforts before the spotlight. The hours behind closed doors where a skill is perfected, and a niche is found.
Lets then say you’ve found that niche, and now want to hone that market or skill set. You don’t just get to be that good instantly. Malcom Gladwell’s* Rule of mastery encourages precise, quality practice paired with perfect coaching. Applied over 10 years or up to 10000 hours of repeated work. That is a general rule of thumb. Some may find it easier some even longer, but that dedication and commitment is not found in large quantities. The select few, willing to, seem to succeed. Kobe Bryant practiced 6 hrs. a day 6-days a week during summer seasons, Michal Jordan practiced 5 hours a day, sometimes after 12-hour days on set for movies. Elon musk discussed in a New York times profile he would work 120 hours a week in the early days of tesla. These are the guys we would place in the hyper success category.
We want to sit and complain about how someone was given everything and how they haven’t worked for a thing. Life is against us, and nothing we do matters, or what would this sportsman, or CEO, or doctor, or lawyer know about hard work? Well lets figure that out shall we, lets see how hard an athlete we safely mock from the nose bleed sections actually works...
The 1% of 6%
According to The heartland of sports article 2018, only 6% of high school footballers in America go on to play college football and of that 6% only 1.6% will be drafted into the NFL. Less than 10% of that will play more than 3 seasons in the NFL entirely.
As of 2019, 1,006,000 kids play at the high school football level. That’s 965.76 players that will go from high school football to NFL draft. With 96 going on to play 3 or more seasons. The ignorance one has to apply to dismiss even a low level NFL player let alone a Tom Brady type is borderline insane at best. This is an ultimate sacrifice of life, mind, body and spirit towards a single outcome from as young as 4 or 5 years old. In saying 'body and mind' it is literally meant body as well. New discoveries like Chronic Traumatic Encephelopthy (CTE), show the dangers and physical damage these long term careers can really do to the mind and body. As a result of consistent trauma to the head symptoms such as brain calcification, neuro degenerative disorders, brain hemorrhaging, depression, damage to the pre frontal cortex and so much more which can currently only be diagnosed in post mortem examination.
To begin with, the identity of skill starts at a young enough age to cultivate the time invested into a child. To support and nurture that talent until it fosters into passion. The child needs to develop the interest and self-autonomy to practice of their own free will, to build on their interest furthering into an intrinsic drive. To build the strongest of self-determination and allow their life to identify with this pursuit wholeheartedly. Before an NFL player makes his first step onto the field at pro level, he’s played well over 15 years at the same position.
To be Passionate about a Single Thing
Considering 45% of American New years resolutions were about weight loss, and 54% of those failed that resolution within the first 4-6 weeks. think about the type of person it requires to sustain that ‘hyper success’ level of commitment. To be passionate enough about a single thing for so long and then see it through past the point of initial recognition. I once said that passion is the combination of joy and obsession and that could not be truer for becoming this level of elite.
Looking at fortune 500 CEO's, there is a very specific type of man that captains that ship. We discuss the privilege all men receive, the power they possess, or that we get because of wage gaps and positional discrepancies.. Ignorant of the fact there is a specific type of man willing to throw flourishing health away to reach their goal.
According to Jack McCullough of forbes magazine (2019), almost 15% of CEOs exhibit psychopathic traits or tendencies. These types desire power, lack empathy or sympathy, are callus and coordinated. They thrive in the concrete jungle of wall street environments. This type is willing to throw away marriages, social lives ,family lives and hobbies, all out the window to be that level of successful. All we need to do is understand the basic math that follows this pattern, and understand how this separation of power occurs. But then you have to decide.. is that level of sacrifice and foregoing of simple pleasures worth that level of success.
The Average CEO
The average CEO can work up to 100hrs a week to get to that position, without holidays, and give up weekends. That means in 1 year they can have done what takes the average person 3. Equate in that the exponential growth of skill and experience that comes with being on the job in a lot of cases. Learning trade secrets and spending leisure time reading further literature to improve that one skill they have inflated obsession over. It would take the average person working their 36-40 hrs. a week, taking weekends, holidays, and enjoying social time, near a decade to do what they can achieve in only a few years.
“Oh so, Ben you’ve cracked the story to success, its as simple as putting all eggs in one basket and focusing all time, energy and effort on that?” Absolutely not. Nothing is certain, and you are not entitled to success. Grit as defined by Angela Duckworth is present in so many of these types. Perseverance, resilience, determination and identification of talent all come into play. How many times in the average career does a CEO fail before taking that spot? How many times does Elon Musk retest his Space X rockets after each one blows up? After 4 air-balls costing his team the 97 play offs, Kobe gets off the plane and straight to his local high school gym, practicing those very shots for 6 straight hours.
Resilience is Built from Adversity
Resilience is built from adversity just as resilience is needed to over-come adversity; that is crucial to success. These elite types all have that, the ability to take loss, and thrive from it. Every single loss, failure or set back to them is a chance to get better. To learn, improve, and grow from those mistakes. That takes a special kind of cognitive ability to shift perception of failure to potential for growth. Not everyone has that, not everyone possess the ability to be criticised and utilise that feedback.
Think then about how many times in life you failed something you thought you were good at and quit. How many times you bailed on a simple exercise program or business idea because it looked hard. How many diets did you break because of beers on the weekend or take-out day at work. When you stopped, they kept going. Time and time again. When you took holidays, they kept working. When you relaxed on weekends, and spent time with the family; they got up and worked, trained, toiled, and hustled. It stopped being fun years ago and started becoming life to these types, the ‘Hyper successful’.
Was it Worth it?
The question then is.. was it worth it? Was that one specific field of success worth all of that sacrifice? What is it we are working for in that chase uphill? The pursuit of something so insanely obscure, that not one person believes you possible in attaining it? Was missing all those events, holidays trips and relaxing days worth that moment achieving it all? Who is to decide? The person looking in and saying that’s not life that is not healthy, or the person in the arena that says, "I loved every moment of this"?
The criteria for happiness you arbitrarily apply to them, is not for them. They find joy and pleasure in this level of drive and success, each day a chance to improve be better be hungrier be greater, that is what makes it worth it. Again, this is not something you can simply step into. You must dedicate your life to such a specificity of success, I genuinely do believe it to be worth the sacrifice’s in the end. However, it must be up to the individual to decide, and once decided we must forgo all sense of resentment or else spend life bitter with the choices made. You did not wish to chase the highest of feats? So be it. Then enjoy the labors you have worked for, and think nothing of the person who has. Vice versa, should you embark on those trials to ultimate levels, do not envy the people with who do not. They will not know of the pleasure only found in chasing something daring and great. Ultimately that elite level should not dare be ridiculed, whether out of projected envy or jealousy; it should be admired for the determination and desire to achieve such levels. should you reach that pinnacle, it will likely come at the cost of life’s simpler pleasure’s. Things the herd will get to enjoy that you did not.
The Price You Pay for Success
All this comes down to is.. is the price you pay for success, the cost to even contend and begin the race, with no refund or assurances of achievement worth it all? It is up to you to decide if you’re willing to pay, no one else. It seems easy on paper, but repeating that for 20-30-40 years in order to reach a grand status that few can perceive, or even want because of such sacrifices, that is what’s hard. Life will offer you many temptations and exits along the way, giving those up for even a chance to be at the top, that is what’s required.
- Ben Mayfield-Smith