Peak Too Soon – Josh Journal
If what we desire in any endeavor is to be successful, then what does it mean to peak too soon? If what I desire is to succeed, why should I be worried about the success coming too early?
Hold on. Is “peak too soon” even a thing?
There is a process to everything. To be successful in a career, first, you gather knowledge, then you practice, and next you start your career.
Irrespective of how smart you were in the learning process, you will start your career as a novice.
In some professions, that would mean you have to understudy a senior colleague. After years of practice, your dexterity improves and you get promoted to match the experience and value you now have.
If you stay in that field and go through the rung, you eventually become an expert.
The best part of it is that you don’t have to name yourself an expert. Your clients and colleagues alike, by appraising the quality of your output can tell that you are now an expert.
Even your competitors and enemy cannot deny your expertise. Whatever issues they may have against you, that doesn’t negate the fact that you are good at what you do.
There is always the outlier who rises to the peak without going through the rungs. People who were fortunate, exceptionally talented, opportune, or for whatever other reasons, get a rapid rise to the top.
Such people should be applauded. There is no point holding a grudge against them. As the Bible says, “time and chance happeneth to them all.”
A common downside to such success stories is that such people may not have gathered all the requisite experience, knowledge, and fortitude needed in their field.
This is a double-edged sword.
Some outliers, because they are not aware of what is possible and impossible, they have no reservations against tackling the seemingly impossible.
In some cases, they end up finding a solution to it, or to another problem in the process. This reinforces their wiz status.
Other times, their refusal to recognize and acknowledge the impossible results in them wasting time and other resources on a task that ends up being their albatross.
Some careers and companies have been ruined this way.
In other cases, because of a smooth ride to success and no prior experience with failure, when one failure or setback eventually pops up, they have no idea how to respond.
They were never mentally challenged. No one ever told them no. They have never been pushed to the edge.
Now that they find themselves at the edge of failure, they have no idea how to claw their way back.
They don’t know that even if you fail, you are supposed to try again. So instead, they quit.
This may not apply to the careers of geniuses, but you can see it in other aspects of their lives.
There is another category of people who get so familiar with success, that they never try anything unless they are guaranteed to get successful.
They go from being all confident to having loss aversion, to being cowards. Their fear of now is now greater than their love for yes.
Then there are the bored wiz kids. They got to the peak of their careers before it even started. You see them as founders or Mavericks of tech, fashion, and entertainment start-ups.
They are pioneers of entire industries. There was a need, they saw it, they fix it, they are now worth billions.
The question now is what are you supposed to do when you are on top of the world? Where are you supposed to go from there?
You have nothing to prove to anyone. Everyone already respects you. Whatever you do is almost guaranteed to be a success. You have more money than you can spend in a hundred lifetimes. What are you supposed to do next?
One of my favorite quotes of all time is “And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.“
That is about Alexander the Great. Who can blame him? He had conquered the whole world that he knew. What was he supposed to do with the rest of his life?
Maybe if he had spent the rest of his life looking for a cure to malaria, or researching on how to prevent mosquito breeding, he might have lived longer.
Maybe that’s why tech bros and other billionaires eventually always invest in health or tackling existential risk.
Example 1, Bill Gates.
The younger ones retire early and start thrill chasing. There is no point in them starting another career or going into another business. The rewards can never be worth their time and effort.
Why climb any other mountain when you started with Everest?