The book by Ron Friedman explains that we can find our own greatness not just from leveraging talent or practising more than anyone else, there is a third way.
We can reverse engineer and find our own code to greatness.
The first step is to Collect greatness, whether it be books as a writer, records if a musician or cookbooks as a chef. David Bowie had a massive record collection and Van Gogh despite his poverty state had more than a 1000 Japanese prints. Award winning chef Michelle Bernstein encourages aspiring chefs to spend what money they have on eating in fabulous restaurants.
Create your greatness library, whatever your niche. By consumings as many examples as possible it begins to give you an underlying structure, you detect patterns as to how things work. This form of learning is implicit, you are not consciously learning, but you are understanding greatness in your field.
The second step is to decode what is happening which you can do by copyworking. Write something word for word, or recreate a piece of work from memory. If you are an athlete copy and mimic the training patterns of your hero. You will begin to notice patterns and rhythms as to how they get to their greatness.
Reverse outlining is the third step. Work back from a finished piece of work and create the outline. Watch one of your favourite TED Talks if you are an aspiring speaker, identify the structure. Did they have a theme/anecdotes/main story/conclusion? Work out the % of time spent on each of the areas.
Contrasting is another way of analysing greatness. Take a piece of work from your greatness collection that is great and another of piece of work that is not so great. What is the difference? What makes one piece of work great and another not?
All this takes time and is still not your greatness, so the final step is to evolve your own style. Look outside for more inspiration, work with different people and ensure you have a broad range of experiences in your life, not necessarily connected to the thing you want to achieve greatness in.
Decoding greatness by using reverse engineering gives you a formula and steps to work with, here they are in summary:-
- Collect – create a greatness collection
- Decode – understand why greatness ocurred by –
- reverse outline
- Evolve – create your own greatness
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