Dark Horses – Being Successful When You Shouldn’t!

Just got done reading a really good book recently by Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas, titled, “Dark Horses: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment“.

The main author, Todd Rose, had a unique journey to becoming a Harvard Professor and graduate. He was a high school drop out with a pregnant girlfriend and no real ambition in life, going down a complete path to failing at life.

He found out you could actually go to community college without having graduated high school and decided he was interested in psychology and just started taking classes while working full-time dead-end jobs. So, when he writes about ‘dark horses’ he’s writing from something he knows very well. He was the ultimate dark horse!

We all know people, or have met people, that when you hear their story there is no reason in the world they should be successful. They didn’t have the breaks they needed. They weren’t overly talented in any one thing. But somehow they made it go through and ended up on the other side to become successful.

Rose and Ogas did a bunch of research to find out why. Why do these dark horses become successful? What is it they do differently from others in similar positions to achieve success? They found four main behaviors and traits that set dark horses apart:

1. They know very specifically what motivates them. 

It might be some video game, or weed, or stars, or sneakers, etc. It doesn’t actually matter what the ‘thing’ is that motivates them, but the clearly understand they are motivated by this one thing and they are going to follow through on it until the end.

2. They know their choices and make choices that will allow them to do more of what motivates them. 

If you’re motivated by sleep and choose to sleep constantly, well, you’re just an idiot. If you’re motivated by getting a perfect night sleep and you start really researching what makes a perfect night sleep, and then you start a mattress company to build the perfect night’s sleep. Well, then, you’re a dark horse. We all have choices. Dark horses make the choice that keeps them chasing what motivates them, every time. They don’t get pulled off course.

3. Dark horses are great at trial and error as it relates to finding the strategy that will lead them to success. 

There are a million ways to skin a cat, as the saying goes. Turns out there isn’t one right way to do anything. Dark horses will keep trying to new strategies to achieve what motivates them, eventually finding the strategy that fits them perfectly. It might not fit you or I, but it does fit them. The key is to keep testing strategies until you find the one that fits you.

4. Ignore the destination. 

Dark horses don’t focus on an end. In fact, they probably don’t even realize there is an end. They love ‘something’ and they just want to keep doing that something. There isn’t this mythical end where they cash out and retire. In their mind, they are doing what they love and they are just making the next decision to keep doing what they love, or chasing after what they love, perfecting knowing perfection will never be met.

This is who I am. This is what matters to me. This is what I’m doing next. 

That’s a super powerful mantra to life!

We are told constantly to begin with the end in mind, but for many people that approach isn’t satisfying. If I love what I’m doing and it matters deeply to me, why would I focus on an end?

Well worth the read, go check it out.

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