I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about why some people rise like meteors to the top, and others are stuck doing the same thing over and over again, toiling day after day from their 20s until they die. It’s amazing, when you see a group of people from similar background, how far some of them can go, leaving the rest of the group in the dust.
What makes them successful? There are many factors, of course, but what I found is that they all ask these three questions, after they’ve finished a work, a project, or anything of significance, really:
- What went well?
- What went not so well?
- How can I make it (even) better next time?
The ones who keep staying in the same spot year after year after year after year don’t ask themselves questions like these, unless it went REALLY wrong. Of course most people are not that bad to get it really wrong all the time, so probably they’re doing OK, which means nobody will fault them–after all they are doing their job “just fine”. But most probably that also means nobody will promote them either.
Those who keep asking these questions, especially the 3rd one, are the ones who get better all the time you meet them. It’s fun meeting them once in a while just to give yourself a “whip” to do better yourself. Those 3 questions are hard questions. They force us to think. But to me, they’re really worth the trouble. I’d really be depressed if one year from now, I find that I haven’t improved at the things I’m doing. It’s like wasting one year of my life, really.