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5 steps to perfection in everything you do (er, maybe)

Posted by Mark Harrison on July 2, 2010

This post started as a comment on a post on, but I decided I’d expand it a bit onto my own blog.

On the original post, the writer basically wrote an opinion piece slamming the “it’s easy” mentality that many self-help authors adopt.

To a large extent, I agree, and I think there are at least three words in the title that would need changing:

Problem one: “Easy” steps rather than “Simple” steps. It’s possible to explain something simply, that doesn’t make it easy.

Problem two: “Perfection” rather than “world class” – one of the things about truly world-class people in many walks is that they don’t consider that they have reached perfection, and always see room for improvement.

Problem three: “Everything” rather than “Anything”. Most people can simply reach world class standards in anything they choose, but that’s different from reaching them in everything.

So, here we go:

Five steps to perfection in everything you do

Three simple steps to reach world-class standards in anything you do.

Step 1: Treat others as you’d like them to treat you.

Step 2: Decide what it is you want to be good at.

Step 3: Commit to learning how to do it (which requires a couple of notes).

Now, let’s expand that a little.

1: Treat others as you’d like them to treat you. Many self-help authors finish on this note. It’s a personal preference that I’d like to start there, but a preference born out of experience rather than idealism.

2: Decide what you want to be good at. This is harder than it sounds, not least because as we learn, we change. It’s easy to use platitudes about commitment, but actually, having a big enough reason to want to do something is a key step. You need to choose a niche that will not only support you financially, but either nurture you personally (Maslow was right!) or provide enough passive income that you can concentrate on what you enjoy. The problem, of course, is that because of point 3, it generally takes an awful lot of time to build the business to that level of passive income in the first place, so you may as well build a business doing what you enjoy 🙂

3: It generally takes about 10,000 hours practice to attain world-level mastery of something.

So, in your spare time, an hour a day, that will take 30 years. Up that to 20 hours a week, and you cut that to 10 years. Do it for 100 hours a week, and you have a 2 year deadline.

You’ll also need to work out the right balance between private research (books, Internet research, audio), group-based learning (courses, seminars), 1:1 training, and personal practice (experiments if you’re a science student, playing / singing if you’re a musician, writing if you’re an author, actually looking at markets and properties if you’re building a property portfolio).

Easy? Probably not.

Simple? Yes.


3 Responses to “5 steps to perfection in everything you do (er, maybe)”

  1. Simon Walker said

    Oh, the pathos !

    Your point 1) is hugely amusing, given your response to a general request for input into some academic research, to which you decided to take public exception. You might do well to eat your own dog food on occasion.

  2. Very amusing! I was looking for property investment advice and got a laugh as well.

  3. Simon,

    Mea culpa, I missed your comment in July.

    I’m afraid I’ve no idea what you are talking about. I certainly don’t remember taking “public exception” to any academic research?

    Are you sure you aren’t confusing me with the Mark Harrison who runs the property vulture fund, who, despite the same name and industry sector, is a completely different person????


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