A whole lot of people are making resolutions right now, and not one of those goals is: I will master the art of cheating. Yet the truth is, all high achievers are expert at cheating, because cheating is the secret to success.
When you shadow leading entrepreneurs, CEOs of Global 2000 companies, world class athletes, master mechanics, and prolific inventors: you see them cheat constantly. That is, they spare themselves any extra work, when less will do.
They spare themselves the stress of winning popularity contests, unless the prize is big enough. They often ask forgiveness rather than permission, because it’s faster that way.
This doesn’t mean they cheat on their taxes, partners or exams.
Psychologist Albert Ellis calls their systems “elegant.” They are free of unnecessary psychological or physical strain, as it relates to the process of getting things done.
Their actions are streamlined, and wherever possible, they have ritualized what works best into a set of procedures or criteria.
They avoid revisiting old drama, feeling stuck, and negativity.
They constantly listen to their own insights, rather than the opinions or judgments thrown their way. They’re not addicted to positive regard and they’re not deterred by unconstructive criticism.
Consistently high achievers look like they are cheating, because they work faster and produce more and better outcomes. That’s because they observe and measure themselves at the same time they take action, which takes incredible stillness of the mind while the body is at work.
Surfers, extreme downhill mountain bikers, and other successful athletes have this mind-body synchronization down pat. That’s why when we watch them perform feats beyond what most of us believe is possible, we often say: “he cheated death.”
In fact, these elite athletes make corrections in flight, because they are so deeply in flow they somehow bend the rules of physics a bit. After staying in control of a bad trip, you might hear them say, “I cheated the landing.” They may pull up short or come down with their equipment and body in a less than picture perfect pose, but they continue to devour the course, get big air or tail whip with as much speed as a body can bear (and then some).
Successful people in business do the same kind of cheating. They avoid perfection, they go even when they don’t know all the right answers and they don’t strike poses.