Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, believes that being lucky is your key to success.
Before you click away, I agree with you that this philosophy doesn’t lend itself to observable reality which is why I don’t hold this worldview (In fact, I’d recommend you go read “The Magic of Thinking Big” instead of this book).
Adams’s book is illustrated at every turn by stories like how he lost his voice for several years. I truly enjoyed this book, and have several tactics I can fit into my own worldview after reading it. Here are my two favorites.
Systems are for winners, Goals are for losers.
Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.
Here’s the thing, I believe in objective truth, that our actions have real consequences, and our universe functions according to its created order. Within this framework, I see tremendous value in these two tactics.
Systems: Think of it in these terms, someone sets a goal to lose 10 pounds. While they may achieve it or not, they are putting stress on themselves to get there. On the other hand, someone who builds a system of eating healthy foods and trains themselves to desire activity need not worry about weight loss. It happens naturally.
If you can build a system for yourself, it will eventually beat a goal. A system plays the odds in your favor, while a goal makes a situation into a win/lose scenario.
A system builds a foundation so that when you do reach your goal, the improvement stays.
There are always exceptions, obviously, but when you do set goals, try to think of the system that under-girds your success.
Skills: If you are bi-lingual, you can be an average employee and get promoted faster than someone who lacks that extra skill.
Scott Adams describes himself as a mediocre artist who happened to have a background in corporate America, average humor quality, and who could write a little. These skills combined to propel him to fame as the creator of Dilbert.
Adding skills to your life allows you to take advantage of opportunities that seem tailor made for someone with your unique combination.
There are always exceptions, obviously, but when you do learn skills, try to think of those that will add the most width to your life. Skip the basket-ball spinning skills, of course.
This tactic also discounts the outside possibility that you have world-class ability or potential in a single area. If that’s the case, extra skills may detract from your time spent in pursuit of that area.
Read more from Scott Adams on doubling your odds of success at Forbes.com
As previously mentioned, I wouldn’t recommend this as the only book you read on success, but it is a fun read. From re-learning to talk, learning hypnosis, affirmations, failing as a restaurant owner, Scott Adams has experience in it all.
Until Next week,
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I really like that you’re able to disagree the underlying philosophy of a book and still extract some value out of it. This is something I’m really trying to work on in my own reading.
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I agree, it makes for an interesting experience. I’ve been counseled before that a junk book isn’t worth finishing if it’s truly terrible. Thankfully this wasn’t the case here.