Comparative Advantages & Hypergrowth Goals

Find opportunities to play forever & 20x your goal development speed.

The very first article I wrote here was Using mental models to optimize your decision making (pt. 1). That was written during a phase where I was obsessed with mental models, heuristics, and razors.

I’ve recently come across some new ideas that have reignited my interest in the subject, and I’m excited to share them here.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll exclusively focus on mental models.

As always, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

In this article, I’ll be talking about: Comparative Advantages & Hypergrowth Goals.


Comparative Advantages

Here’s the definition of the classic Economics 101 term ‘Comparative Advantages’:

An economy’s ability to produce a particular good or service at a lower opportunity cost than another country.

Further simplified, it’s a nation’s ability to produce something cheaper or more efficiently than other countries.

China has a comparative advantage in producing electronics given its abundance of labor. Ireland has one in producing cheese and butter, due to climate and availability of suitable land for dairy cows. Canada probably has one in the production of maple syrup (just a guess though).

Extrapolate these rules to humans, relating to life and careers, and we can see similar logic.

Depending on your temperament, skills, and unique abilities, you may be more suited to certain activities over others.

Examples:

  • Some folks (salesmen, account executives) can go hours on end meeting and entertaining new clients.

  • Others (software engineers, data scientists) prefer to spend most of their energy dealing with code, quantitative problems, optimizing logic.

  • Some people get their energy from building high-level maps, roadmaps, and strategic plans (management consultants, strategic advisors) vs. being on the ground — putting out fires, instilling process, and overseeing more granular problems (chief of staff, operations).

I define true strengths as qualities or abilities that:

  • You’re good at (obviously).

  • Are energizing (things you can do for hours and engage in flow).

   

Success comes when you identify your comparative advantages and lean into them.

Parth said it well:

Read over Rule 1 again. Make sure it resonates.

    

Ask yourself:

  1. What are your true strengths (comparative advantages)?

  2. Where and how can you play to these strengths? Are there specific domains or career paths when you can naturally excel (where it ‘feels like play’)?

On a similar thread, I wrote about superpowers (strengths) last week.


Hypergrowth Goals

As controversial as Peter Thiel is, he’s still a brilliant businessman and thinker.

If you haven’t heard of him, he’s the author of Zero to One, co-founder of PayPal (at 32!), Palantir Technologies, and investor in multiple tech companies including Facebook.

He coined the famous question:

What's preventing you from achieving your ten-year goals inside of six months?

Tim Ferriss asks a slightly more aggressive version of this, which helps bring the question to reality.

How could you accomplish your 10-year goals in the next 6 months if you had a gun to your head?"

   

Yes — sometimes luck comes into play. But that’s an exogenous variable that shouldn’t matter.

Instead, consider identifying the themes below and how they’re affecting growth and development toward your goals.

  • Focus — what do I need to eliminate in order to focus more?

  • Organization — do I have a comprehensive, well thought-out plan?

  • Consistency — am I putting in regular effort?

  • Scrappiness — are there shortcuts or optimizations I should consider?

  • Urgency — am I procrastinating?

  • Discipline — do my actions reflect my intentions?

  • Knowledge — do i have the required information to accomplish my targets?

  • Feedback & Learning — am I optimizing my feedback loops?

Ask yourself:

  1. How can I optimize the themes above to accelerate my rate of growth and accomplishment?

  2. Take an ambitious goal you currently have and go through each theme. Which factors can you influence to achieve your goal faster?

 

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