Triple threat results understood as probability

“[I]f you want something extraordinary, you have two paths. 1) Become the best at one specific thing. 2) Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things. The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. […] The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.” p. 269, Tools of Titans, Scott Adams being quoted by Tim Ferriss, 2017.

Scott Adams actually lists 3 things he combines. You can think of it this way. To become top 1% at one skill is usually more difficult than becoming top 25% at 3 skills. If those 3 skills are relatively unrelated, then the chance someone else has similar skills is about 0.25*0.25*0.25, or … 1% (or so). So, you are in about the top 1% when it comes to that combination.* So, the easier route to extraordinary results is to cultivate and creatively combine talents that fit you, such that you are in the top 1% for that application of talents.

*Top 25% is .25*.25*.25 = top 1.56%, top 20% is .2*.2*.2 = top 0.8%, top 15% is .15*.15*.15 = top 0.3%, top 10% is .1*.1*.1 = top 0.1% for that combination.

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