How to become world class at anything

Instead of mediocre at everything

Most people go into the world and then try to get good at everything. As a result, they become mediocre at almost everything and never world-class at anything. Becoming the best in any industry comes down to getting good at the basics. The so-called basic principles.

After all, there are not hundreds of basic principles that you have to become really good at in order to become the best in your industry. It may seem that way, but this is not the case.

It often comes down to a handful. 5 or 6 basic principles. These principles make all the difference and are critical to success. The key is to discover these for yourself and to focus on these. This way you can become the best in a few areas, instead of mediocre in most.

You discover the basic principles through first principle thinking​​

Let’s start simple. Imagine you own a snack bar. What does it take to make it a success? One way to discover this is by applying the so-called “first principle thinking”. This principle comes from science and what you do is identifying what you know to be absolutely true.

What do you believe to be absolutely true?

So imagine you have a snack bar. What do you know to be absolutely true? An obvious basic principle is that the food should be good. If the food isn’t good, your customers won’t come back. In addition, the price is important and the location of your snack bar. Friendly service and a hygienically clean business will also help you.

If you do these 5 basic principles (quality, price, location, service and hygiene) well, you have a good chance of success. These simple but crucial basics are often overlooked because they are so simple.

A leader has different basic principles

If you are a leader than other principles apply. As a leader you must set a good example, dare to make choices, determine the course of an organisation, hire talent and maintain a pleasant culture.

If you maintain these basic principles, you have a good chance of success. In addition, it is crucial to learn how to get into flow.

What does a keynote speaker do?

As a speaker you have to become exceptionally good at explaining a topic as simple as possible. You must also be able to connect with an audience in order to convey the message.

Finally, you can work on intonations, hand gestures and your position on stage. If you do these things right and if the content of your training is of high value, then you have the chance to become a world-class speaker.

High impact functions

Besides being a keynote speaker,  I also have a business to run. In my keynote ”Achieve yearly goals in a few months” I explain that there are a lot of tasks that I need to get done to run my business.

Some of these are: Accounting, emailing, invoicing, branding, marketing & sales, networking, negotiating, research & development, planning, strategy, maintaining public profiles, travelling, providing training and maintaining a website.

Which tasks have the biggest impact?

Of all those important tasks, 3 are the most important for my company and they are: Marketing & sales (no business without customers), research & development (great keynotes are the best form of marketing for me) and giving those keynotes on stage which is part of my core business

All other tasks must be done, but they have less impact and are therefore not a priority. The key is to spend your sharpest moments of the day on the most important tasks

How do you discover these basic principles for yourself?​

The basic principles are different for everyone. The key is to identify them and master them. The easiest way is to ask someone who is good at it.

This is what I’ve done with speakers. After a keynote I would go up to them and ask them for advice on how to become a great speaker. Identify your most important tasks and focus on them. Remove or minimise the rest.

I took this seriously. I identified my basic principles, functions and actions and focused on these. Getting good at identifying and doing the most important tasks is one of the reasons I was able to change my life.