Ben Horowitz (inventor, CEO, and author) is one of the greatest movers and shakers in Silicon Valley, and he attributes much of his success to a handful of life lessons.
Such as this one:
One day, while Ben was working at Netscape, a lightbulb went off in his head. He realized Netscape could pivot to a new product line, which could potentially knock down Microsoft (their competitor) a few notches and give them the upper hand. So Ben worked feverishly on a game plan.
When the dust settled, Ben could hardly sit still with excitement. He handed the plan to his co-worker, Bill Turpin, who looked at him like he was a green horn with a LOT to learn. Bill was a seasoned pro who had fought tooth and nail with Microsoft for years and was unmoved by his ambitious plan.
He told Ben:
Those silver bullets that you and Mike are looking
for are fine and good, but our Web server is five times slower.
There is no silver bullet that’s going to fix that.
No, we are going to have to use a lot of lead bullets.
So they refocused their team on going back and repairing those fundamental performance problems, which rocketed their server speeds beyond Microsoft’s and soared the company to $400 million.
Six years later, Ben was CEO of the company Opsware and this time instead of competing against Microsoft, it was the company BladeLogic. His smartest employees put their heads together and churned out flashy new ideas for how to pivot and beat their competitor. He faced his team and told them: “There are no silver bullets for this, only lead bullets”
So once again, they refocused on the fundamentals, the pillars of the business (in this case the product) for 9 straight months which then soared the company to $1.6 bill.
So how does history lesson apply to you?
Whether it is weight-loss… growing a business… mastering a music instrument… climbing in your career… or becoming confident - many people are hunting for a silver bullet.
Instead of searching for the one thing, start using lead bullets – the fundamentals you know in your heart of hearts will help you (you just need to do them), whether it’s a rejuvenating morning walk… carving out time for writing… shipping off a few personal thank you cards… squeezing in some deep breathing… or scribbling in your gratitude journal for five minutes a day.
Not silver bullets, lead bullets.
But fire these “lead bullets” day-after-day and you start to cover some serious ground. You start focusing on the behaviors that really matter. And you start to enjoy the feeling of true progress and wind-at-your-back momentum instead of spinning in circles.