Niccolo Machiavelli, author of “The Prince”
On following other’s paths:
“Men walking almost always in paths beaten by others, and following by imitation their deeds, are yet unable to keep entirely to the ways of others or attain to the power of those they imitate. A wise man ought always follow the paths beaten by great men, so that if his ability does not equal theirs at least it will savor of it.”
Men, women, and everyone else alike never get to consciously choose to follow the paths beaten by great humans who have come before us. We are taught that history happened in the past, to get good grades, get a scholarship, go to college, and enter the workforce as a somehow elated human being, eyeing 40+ years of working in the force before retiring and dying. Yes, that is the future presented to people born in first world countries like the USA. But let me digress for a second, stop the rant, and actually present some decent information.
If, let’s say, you had a chance to look at the strategies of great men and women of the past who came before us in achieving miracle-level goals, would you continue doing the same thing you’re doing daily, or would you change accordingly? It seems hard for us sometimes to change before it’s necessary, or to create change at all. There’s reasons for this.
On innovation and change:
“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things…the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.”
Not only are you trying to find a way to your life, but it is extremely difficult to learn how to be strategic with your own choices and goals when there’s no revenue stream coming in to support those ambitions. Ah, yes, the revenue stream. This is where things get spicy.
A strategy, in war times, was deliberately thought of well before war was decided upon. That’s still the way it is now. Most of us also may think it just happens, when really it’s been decided upon behind closed doors for quite some time. Strategy was debated upon based on terrain, timing, seasons, and a few other factors that we will discuss in a future strategy post. For now, it’s important to understand to complete an undertaking such as establishing your own revenue stream, it is war, as it is a fight against the normal system, which means it will be difficult to change your position, unless you are solving an immediate problem for society and the novel idea is somehow well accepted. This is why change is more easily accomplished with our ‘self‘ first.
As commander of your own army, you have at your disposal natural talents that you may have not developed or are possibly currently working on that will grow stronger over time. A good time frame for a plan is around five years. Five is a balanced number, and oddly enough the number of hours we work in a week adds up to 40 hours. Keep that number in mind. Malcolm Gladwell, author of the book “Outliers,” discusses a theory regarding “10,000 hours of practice” before one can be considered truly great at anything. He says in regards to naysayers, “The point is simply that natural ability requires a huge investment of time in order to be made manifest.” If you divide 10,000 hours by the number of weeks in a five year span, 260, you get 38.46, or just about 40 total hours a week. Go figure, even after the industrial revolution, it’s still quite difficult to find an extra forty hours to donate to our own cause after our jobs.
Obviously, most of us spend those forty hours working for someone else. Nevertheless, it is in aiming for 10,000 hours that we find success. If you build your strategy on a five year plan, and begin to work daily on developing unused talents, while simultaneously strengthening your already honed skills, I’d be willing to guess after the end of five years one should be at least partially successful at their chosen end goal.
Social media, in all of it’s forms, including blogging, are all tactics to be included in an overall strategy. Our blog, Pinterest or Instagram pages should be extensions of us, just like an army would from it’s commander and chief, to take control of objectives.
Yes, life can be one huge game. More to come in Strategy vs. Tactics 3.