While success is in the eye of the beholder, I heard an interesting fact recently about intelligence and financial independence. And that fact was that the vast majority of financially independent people have average or below average intelligence. We are talking here about raw intellectual capability. This would seem counter intuitive to everything we are taught to believe in school, the corporate world and life. That we have to be ‘smart’ to accumulate financial advantage. Turns out the opposite is true and social researchers put it down to one simple thing:
“People of average intelligence are not overly impressed with how clever they are.”
Sounds like a silly thing to say, but it gives average people like you and me a big advantage. It means that we know we have to work hard, and maybe even a bit harder. And it also means that we don’t think we know everything already and so we have on open mind to learn new things and methods.
Turns out that some of the key factors in the success equation are about being average.
If you live in a western urban environs you’ve seen lots of bicycles of the ilk displayed below:
The single speed, fixed gear, mono color racer with white wall tires. Very hip, very now. But why?
It’s classic one downsmanship. In a world where people strive to have more, where increasing wealth has given many of us everything, the trend of tomorrow is diametrically opposed. The more of tomorrow, isn’t stuff, or consumption, rather experience, artistry and simplicity – the luxury of a stripped back existence. We often see these trends early in what may be considered the trivial, like bicycles. The trend will run much deeper than this.
Leading edge urbanites riding such bicycles (they are too cool for me) are showing the world they are more, but publicly displaying they can live with less. It’s a classic display of confidence. By wanting less, they are showing the world that they are more. Conspicuous consumption has been a preferred method for people displaying self worth for most of the Post world war 2 era. But I really think that this is another example we’ve turned the corner.
The question for entrepreneurs is this: What category or business is waiting to be striped back by you?
I am incredibly happy with the following things:
- My relationship with my family (immediate and wider family)
- The state of my health. I fit and well enough to enjoy, people life and exercise.
- Where I live. Yarraville, Melbourne, Australia. In fact so much so that I evangelize it.
- My house. A beautiful little renovated Edwardian, not big but it’s just right for me and my wife.
- The state of my country Australia. It allows us to practice any religion / or not and live a free life with opportunity.
- How I invest my spare time. I like surfing, gym and mountain bike riding.
- The fact that I am continuing a vocation of learning. Both in life and academically in my areas of interest.
- The work I do. Running rentoid.com teaching at Melbourne University and writing this blog.
If any of these parts of your life aren’t right. If we are not quite happy with them, no less totally unhappy with them. Then this is the most important startup we can focus on. The start required to change it. Start today.