If you don't want to be tripped-up or blindsided by the most common obstacles to extraordinary performance, it helps to know what they are. Consider these:
- One of the most basic of these obstacles is our compulsion for short-term thinking. We are a quick-fix society. However, becoming really good at anything requires a commitment to whatever it takes - and that includes the investment of time and effort required.
- A similar obstacle that bars anyone's entry to world-class performance is recipe/panacea thinking. This kind of thinking culminates in your belief that somehow, there is a magical solution to your problems that merely has to be applied - the less effort, the better. Call it modern magic.
- Closely related is the belief that words can be used to change people. That is, if you use just the right magic words, you can "motivate" people from being merely adequate to being truly masterful at what they do. This is a widely-held myth.
- If you believe that the answer to your prayers is some how-to-recipe, then you must necessarily assume that people are interchangeable with respect to that recipe. They are not.
- If you "go with the flow" - the conventional mindset - you will see the world as far more linear than it is. And you will see human behavior as far more controllable by you than it is.
- Across the range of people we look to for leadership, such as the managers of our organizations, there is a significant shortfall of courage, of vision, of passion, of commitment, and of competence. All these are required for those who would either lead themselves or others. Such shortfalls function as obstacles.
As you consider these obstacles, ponder also these relevant thoughts:
- Most people are okay with the notion of change - as long as it does not involve them personally.
- Most people are satisfied with their mediocrity. In fact most people will work harder at preserving their mediocrity than at anything else. What do you think motivates them to do this?
- And finally, people and their byproducts are perverse. What sort of logic, therefore, is required to provide leadership to them?
Remember, realizing obstacles that can block extraordinary performance is the first step on the path to acheiving it. Would anyone like to add to the list?