Whatever you do, never put all your eggs in one basket. We’ve all heard that advice and it does sounds like a VERY good one. Still we don’t always follow it, nor give it too much thought. However, I would like to take this opportunity right now and check how good an advice it really is.
And if we actually stop for a second and think about this, than a good example is already from the time I was in kindergarten!
In kindergarten I “loved” Karen the way little boys love little girls (and vice versa…) She had a lovely ponytail, two great dimples, and she was also my neighbor. We spent a great amount of time together sitting on the top of a shelter. Yes, I grew up in a small village where you have shelters to protect you from bombing. This is the sad aspect of growing up in a country that suffers the bitter taste of war, the same country where my brother was killed trying to fight terrorism. The Middle East.
There’s a saying in the holy bible, I’ll try to translate it from Hebrew the best way I can: “The more you suffer, the smarter you get.” Maybe this is why I came to this understanding that I’m about to share with you. So back to kindergarten:
The kindergarten teacher, however, didn’t like the fact I was spending too much time with my beloved Karen and she wanted me to mingle with other children. She used to say to me: “Ehud, there are so many kids out there to play with. Why play with just one?” I was taught to obey my teacher so I tried to become friends with others too. I now know it was her way of saying to me, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
However, it didn’t change my preferences. It was useless. Karen was the only girl I wanted to be with. You see, I was always a one woman man ;-).
My way of thinking was and still is: “Put all your eggs in one basket”. That’s when you know what you want and let me add to this: know what you don’t want!
Putting all eggs in one basket does sound risky, and is the opposite of what we’re often told to do. However, let me show you why I came to this conclusion and how it helped me and can help you in your own life, too.
Malcolm Gladwell, an English-Canadian journalist, wrote the book Outliers: The Story of Success
(yes, you can click here and get it!) In the book Gladwell emphasizes the “10,000 hour” rule. That chapter is my favorite! 10,000 hours seems to be the magic number to achieve mastery in any specific skill. All performers; actors and musicians, athletes, intellectuals and scientists – become professional when they devote at least 10,000 hours to practicing their craft! They just focus on one thing until they become masters.
That is what I do. I apply this to my goals. Ever since I was a young boy practicing magic, when I’d get frustrated at failing at showing my mother one of my tricks, she used to say “just continue practicing. That’s what would get you to become a great magician.” And she was right. I remember the first ‘magic book’ I got. The first chapter spoke about the three things you must do in order to be a great performer. The first one was to practice, the second one to practice more and the third one was to practice again!
Gladwell’s “10,000 hour” rule applies to many situations in life. You need to put in the time and the focus in order to succeed in whatever project you wish to succeed in, even if it means having to put other important issues aside. Every project’s time will come as you accomplish the one before.
If you go in different directions all the projects suffer because you can’t devote proper attention and time to them. So what you need to do is leave the goals that pull you to a different direction. Focus on the one you desire most.
I don’t think you should abandon all your fantasies. Just the ones who are completely different! For me, creation is a part of my life. I must create, otherwise I’ll die! So let’s take one example from my life: when I first came to New York I had dreams of becoming an actor, have as many shows as possible as The Mentalizer, use my artistic talent as a painter and graphic designer to it’s fullest and write musicals. Unfortunately, it couldn’t work with me dividing myself to so many parts. I started accepting jobs and got lost in them. I struggled and felt like none of my efforts were getting me anywhere or closer to becoming a whole person. I remember working as the graphic editor for a daily newspaper in the morning, selling shoes in the after-noon and running to perform as an actor in random off-Broadway shows or low-budget indie films! When I was lucky I had a Mentalizer gig that helped me get extra cash so I can afford flying abroad to visit my family!
Then, suddenly it came to me! I began to focus on my mentalizer shows only, and in no time I had no time BUT to perform my shows. It felt great to be making headway! In a way I realized that the Pareto Principle was working on me as well! (If you didn’t read my blog post about The Mentalizer’s Pareto Principle check it out!), in fact – 80% of my income came from the 20% time I was putting into my Mentalizer shows.
I was actually wasting all the money I made from my shows trying to accomplish dreams that weren’t meant to be accomplished (yet!)
You see, what I’m trying to say in this week’s post is that it is ok to have many fantasies and if you’ll follow your heart and path you will most likely be able to fulfill all of them. BUT! What I am saying is that time is a crucial element here. In fact, every dream has its time. And if you want to achieve ALL your dreams and fantasies, you must start with the one you want most. The one that burns within your stomach. The one that will enable you to spend 10,000 hours doing it again and again and again with a big fat smile on your face! This is what I mean – putting all the eggs in one basket! Yes, I know. It is too easy to diversify your efforts by “putting your eggs in more than one basket” but you also kill the momentum and slow down your progress.
Let’s finish with the words of one of the most successful businessman, Andrew Carnegie, “Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.”
I would love to hear what YOU think! Do you agree or disagree with this? Please share it with us in the comments section bellow (not before you hit the LIKE button)