Have you ever watched the “High IQ” competitions? I was a member of my High School’s team…although I was only able to answer one question (outside of practice) the entire year. It was an honor to be on the team….but humbling to be the dumbest guy in the room.
Seth Godin writes about being on his team and the secret to being successful…and it applies to all of life. He says:
You need to press the buzzer before you know the answer.
This feels wrong in so many ways. It feels reckless, careless and selfish. Of course we’re supposed to wait until we’re sure before we buzz. But the waiting leads to a pattern of not buzzing.
No musician is sure her album is going to be a hit. No entrepreneur is certain that every hire is going to be a good one. No parent can know that every decision they make is going to be correct.
What separates this approach from mere recklessness is the experience of discovering (in the right situation) that buzzing makes your work better, that buzzing helps you dig deeper, that buzzing inspires you.
The habit is simple: buzz first, buzz when you’re confident that you’ve got a shot. Buzz, buzz, buzz. If it gets out of hand, we’ll let you know.
The act of buzzing leads us into doing our best work. It doesn’t usually happen the other way around.
Thanks for listening.