On Becoming Aware of What You Know

It is a direct implication of the 80/20 principle that some of us fail consistently at certain and most things while few others succeed consistently at certain things. No wonder that 20% of people own 80% of wealth and 4% people hold 64% of all wealth, and less than 1% people own over 50% of all the wealth of the world. In fact, top 3 people own 80% of the wealth owned by top 10 people. No wonder you have serial entrepreneurs and serial divorcees. There is a small group of people who inflate the divorce rate by divorcing not one time but multiple times. Nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like failures.

So why is it that some entrepreneurs succeed and other fail.. in fact, over half of new businesses fail within 4 years (http://smallbiztrends.com/2008/04/startup-failure-rates.html). There must be something that serially successful entrepreneurs do that makes the difference. Either they are lucky or they know something that most of us do not. Serial success defies the luck idea. So, they must know something that others do not or at least they do something that others do not. Note, that for these people know and do are pretty much synonymous. There are those among us who know but do not do. There is so much written out there that knowing what to do is an easily acquired attribute. For example, it is pretty much a no brainer that success comes to those who hire great people. Most CEO’s know that. Yet, CEO’s after CEO’s can be traced not following that basic tenet.

I like to call this difference - awareness vs. knowledge. The ability to follow right knowledge is living with perpetual awareness of the knowledge. Are you living in awareness of seat belt safety, for example. Are you living with awareness that the number of people you reach out with your schpeel is directly proportional to your sales success, all other things being equal? Those who have a first hand or direct experience with the effect of seat belt on survival pretty much are religious about seat belt safety. They live in constant awareness of it.

So before you spend time acquiring knowledge think about becoming aware of something important that you already know. Make the concept your own. Contemplate over it. Ruminate over it. Mull over it. Do whatever it takes but make the concept your own. Only then can you execute with discipline. The more time you spend internalizing it the better you will become from it. slowly you will start executing upon it. The more you execute the more you will internalize. And the cycle will begin. It would be like the pedals of a bicycle. You can’t use only one leg to turn the wheels. You need both legs. Same way, you will need to execute a little and internalize a little. Give the chosen principle a prime real estate of your mind. Since, this real estate is limited, you will need to choose only important principles to occupy the prime mental property. But again 80/20 tells us that not all principles are equal contributors to your success.

Next time let’s talk about how to choose the right set of principles to internalize.