The Secret Career Strategy of the World’s Most Successful Executives
Many of us have followed an externally driven career strategy. Once we take our first career job we choose the next to capitalize on the first. With repetition, we soon inadvertently commit to a career ladder for our increasing rewards. We compromise to conform to the requirements of each ladder rung to ensure our climb.
In contrast, those most successful in achieving the rewards to which so many aspire appear to be internally driven. Examine the lives of super-achievers Bill Gates (Microsoft co-founder), Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founders), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google co-founders), and Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder) for this common thread. Rather than compromising to fit into the next job up the ladder, they create or take the job that provides the ideal next growth-and-achievement context.
This first article in the series will introduce you to how a biologically maximized career strategy will
• pull you ahead with addictive drives for growth and achievement
• cause new functionality to emerge, and
• have you operating at peak performance and beyond.
For our seven super-achievers, the addictive play of their childhood continued as the paid play of adulthood. The movie, The Social Network, gives us a glimpse into the addictive play that engaged Zuckerberg’s greatest talents in the creation of Facebook. Bill Gates’ addictive software wizardry was irresistible play that got him into trouble as a child until it got him into Microsoft and money.
While Bezos’ programming expertise might have launched Amazon, it is his captivation with incessant invention – his true paid play – that has sustained Amazon‘s global prominence. His brilliance for creative solutions and his need for their challenge were evident from a pre-school age. Programming, computers and the digital world became tools for his invention. This resulted in Bezos’ change of venue for his drives to invention from physics to computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton as he narrowed to compliance with his biological bias. This foreshadowed a further refinement of venue for his addictive invention drives in leaving the safety of the corporate world for the unprecedented world of pure invention that became Amazon.
To others, this addictive play would be work. But to our super-achievers, this is irresistible play they enjoy so much that they would do it for free. It is work that is intrinsically rewarding. For all of them and for all of us, it is the specific “work” that each of us would want to do if we had unlimited resources and freedom. It is the work or play that we are innately predisposed to do. It is thus the grist of our greatest legacy and contribution to the world.
Imagine a career propelled not by discipline or external enforcers but by internal biological drives to use and improve our most addictive and rewarding strengths.
Built into the drives to this addictive play is the pressure to stretch to apply one’s best talents to creations at increasingly more challenging and impactful levels. We have evolved addictive drives that biologically bias us to use and improve our greatest strengths. We are biologically biased to peak performance. It is advantageous to the survival of the species. The more you comply with the addictive drives we have evolved for it, the more you want to comply with them.
The addictive drives entice one along a lifetime continuum of growth-and-creation iterations: growing oneself to grow one’s creative impact on the world. Aligning one’s career strategy with this biological bias yields superior performance and a commensurate increase in internal and external rewards. It is the ultimate formula for the maximized career and the maximized life.
Jeff Bezos was surrounded by gifted physicists at Princeton. While his marks were good, he knew he did not love the work as they did. He was not maximized by operating in his field of addictive paid play as they were. They offered him the model of a maximized career and life founded on their greatest strengths. Jeff shifted his academic major and his career to achieve this model. His seemingly multi-faceted career has been one of continuous narrowing to the addictive “invention” drives at his biological foundation. This is the maximized career strategy promoted in this blog series.
Magic happens when you stretch your best talents to more impactful achievements over long periods of time. You repeatedly experience an altered state of consciousness that psychologist Csikszentmihalyi calls flow. Attention is 100% focused on the activity at hand. Peak performance and growth are built in. Time, space, and even self-awareness cease to exist. Flow is intrinsically rewarding. It too is an addictive drive that will raise your baseline functionality as it did with our super-seven.
The Triggering of Cascading Functionality Upgrades
Repetitive experience of flow arising specifically from the application of your key talents to meaningful work will launch an accelerated growth continuum. New functionality and meta-skills will emerge. Therefore, the addictive play of our seven super-achievers inadvertently had them operating at peak performance while triggering continuous increases to their baseline functionality.
For example, the flow state associated with using and improving your key talents expands one’s perspective. As consciousness expands, the interconnections of all human systems become visible. The potential for a unified humanity becomes apparent. Each of the visions of our seven super-achievers was informed by their view of the world from their bouts of expanded consciousness in flow.
This shared perspective pulled Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Google through the interim steps we have seen to date to unify and advance our world. Ponder the breadth of thinking of Page and Brin based on their Google mission statement:
“to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” A mission “to set up a search engine” could never have inspired the diversification and impact that Google has achieved.
Expanded consciousness causes a chain reaction. Cognitive capabilities increase. Upgrades occur in conceptual skills, systems thinking, relational thinking, big-picture thinking, pattern recognition, the use of models, theories, and inferences, and abilities for creative and opportunistic problem-solving, adaptivity, and inventiveness. Does this remind you of the capabilities that emerged over time in our super-seven?
Performance beyond your Potential
The addictive drives that promote the application of one’s strengths have evolved as survival drives for the individual and the species. They are part of a network of internal and external forces that have evolved throughout nature to maximize living systems for survival. They are an extension of the same forces that keep our internal organs and systems operating at their maximum.
Most of our seven never separated from nature’s network of maximizing forces. Others, such as Jeff Bezos, re-merged when they turned themselves over to their natural growth-and-creation continuum. When we comply with our talent-promoting addictive drives we re-integrate with nature’s drives for maximizing systems. We shift into overdrive.
Circuits inside of us are completed by circuits outside of us to increase our performance for survival. Our capabilities are extended by nature’s capabilities. We can perform beyond our potential. As intelligent as our super-seven are, it is their slips into this internal-external overdrive that resulted in their moments of brilliance. Even those of average intelligence can achieve the genius of savant status in this biologically compliant state.
An upgraded modus operandi for the Everyman
The new method of operation examined in this blog series is a paradigm shift. It is the true secret career strategy of the world’s most successful executives. It explains their success in an unprecedented way that everyone may replicate. It provides one with access to levels of success one may not have thought possible for oneself. It offers a new route for each of us to make our most meaningful contribution to the advance of the world.
But it also hints at a future modus operandi for humanity. These seven men did not just discover a better career strategy. They did not just advance humanity on a better path. They modeled a new level of peak performance accessible to every human being. Explore your biologically maximized career potential in future blogs to push the envelope on your own lifetime achievements and rewards.
Sourcing your Savant: Hyper-Focus your Career on your Genius
The New Career Maximums – Part One: Are you Settling for too Little?
The New Career Maximums – Part Two: Are you Settling for too Little?
As CEO of Frontiering.com, Lauren Holmes designs customized companies, projects, jobs, and career and company strategies which will enable people to biologically maximize to achieve goals and impact at their maximum or beyond. Lauren is a biological anthropologist who helps people and companies to superachieve by extending their capabilities with surrounding biological infrastructure with which humans have evolved to partner. See LaurenHolmes.com for more about Lauren’s books and articles.