What do developers, engineers, and IT have in common? They are usually mathematical, analytical, and logical.
Since I am just like this myself, I wanted to share with you five lessons I have learned from studying the most successful people in the world that will be most useful to this group.
I hope you enjoy.
1. Realize the real world is often not logical and you must use social intelligence if you want to survive
What do I mean by this?
In an idealistic world, the numbers are the numbers. The proof and math is clear as day. And people should agree and follow through. But not in the real world.
People in the real world sometimes do not make decisions on logic, ethics, and who “deserves” to be right.
Because there are dozens of influences that alter judgment like greed, ego, jealousy, personal interest, security, pride, to show off, bias, childhood trauma, and so on.
If you examine history, you know this to be true. Kings let people live based on who they liked and who made them feel good, even if someone else was “more skilled.” The world is far from completely cleansed of bias, racism, and all sorts of other influences.
While you may not get beheaded, understanding this could mean the difference between getting fired and getting promoted. You have to work on your social intelligence so that you don’t keep arguing the same point.
I have learned this the hard way many times. My mother, for example, is simply not rational at times. When she wants to take care of her son, she ignores reason. If I logically tell her that smothering me like this will destroy my independence and future success, it still doesn’t change her behavior (even if she agrees).
After years of arguing with her on issues like this, I have learned to recognize reality. You can imagine how much more dangerous this could be when your job and income is on the line.
Check out this video, where an analytic employee, Kevin Hillstrom, learned this the hard way and lost his job (even though he stuck to the numbers):
For further reading on improving your skill at navigating these tricky situations, check the book Mastery by Robert Greene or the article I wrote about the book (there’s a section in there that covers this).
2. Constantly Learn and Apply Your Skills Above and Beyond What’s Expected of You
I am not throwing random directions at you from my head. This one came straight from a comment from this article.
This 24 year old software engineer went from making $64,000 to $170,000 (plus 0.5% equity) in 3 years.
These improvements are not out of the realm of possibility. While wealth usually takes patience and hard work to achieve, you can save yourself a lot of time by learning from others mistakes.
This man credits constantly learning and developing his skills for his success.
So let me ask you:
Are you someone who does the bare minimum at his job, leave to go home to goof off? Or are you someone who invests money and time in himself before and after work to increase the speed of his growth?
Successful people invest in themselves to make more in the future while poor people spend their money on items that rust, rot, or deteriorate.
3. Create a Resume That Does Not Suck
This is another point that this engineer credits to his success.
And I agree 100%.
I used to think that if I deserved something, people should just know it. And when they didn’t, I would get frustrated.
If I was hard-working, kind, ethical, and wealthy, a girl should just know it when I see her.
And what happened?
I would get mad when she would assume I was not (based on how I dressed and the short interaction I had when I approached her) and think it was her fault.
But the truth is I did not present myself properly.
You could be the richest person in the world but if you dress homeless, is it others fault if they assume you are homeless?
The same goes for a resume.
Rather than a random mix of facts that no one cares about, you have to present what matters. Now, the shocking part is that most people think they know what their employer cares about but that’s not often the case.
After reaching out to dozens of people on LinkedIn to learn more about an industry, I was startled to find what they looked for on a resume was completely different from what I assumed.
So get out there and ask people. Ask experienced people in your industry what employers look for. It could be a certification when you thought it was experience. It could be experience in a certain coding language when you assumed they cared about another.
Then, present only the best stuff on your resume. Nowadays, employers give resumes less than two seconds. You really think stuffing in everything (even the minor details) is as useful as just highlighting the top points so it’s clear as day?
If you stuff in everything, they will glance at it, see a bunch of experience they’re not looking for, and miss the high impact points you want them to see.
4. Improve Your Social Skills for Interviewing and Negotiating
Another important factor that I often forget is understanding the psychology and evolutionary biology of humans.
We’re social creatures.
You could have all the requirements, certifications, test scores, and numbers to prove you are a fit.
But if you don’t win them over as people, you lose. Interviews are not there for them to just verify the data. They are there to assess you as a communicator and human being.
Here are some common social skill tips to get you started:
- If you smile, others will smile back. People like happy people. It shows that they have good mental health.
- They have a better feeling about if you make them feel good. This might mean complimenting them a bit or making them laugh (but don’t go overboard. It’s still a professional environment.)
- Add some energy and enthusiasm to your words. Enthusiasm is contagious, shows that you care about what you are doing, and shows you are a highly motivated person.
5. Work on Improving Your Network
Understand the importance of networking.
I used to think this was a sleazy word.
But that was because of the people who were really bad at networking that I would meet at networking events. These were the people who only cared about themselves and were only talking to you to get something out of you.
And you could sense it immediately.
Good networkers give as much as they can without any expectation in return. They build their relationships so that they have a lot of connections to fall back on or reach out to for help when the time comes.
They build before the storm occurs.
I did not think networking was that important until I talked to hundreds of people after cold outreach through LinkedIn. After a lot of informational interviews, I was surprised to learn that:
- 30% of them said they got their jobs through someone they knew.
- 80% said that networking is important to get a job.
We like to think that the world is a meritocracy and that the numbers behind our skills will prove ourselves on their own. But that is not the real world.
The real world still has favoritism in it. Plus, it’s still less efficient than you think it is (even in this day and age).
A lot of people I have met (even those who have never taken any career advice) have complained that internet job boards are a black hole. And they are. It’s so easy to apply that employers are spammed. Even if you are the perfect candidate, you can get lost in the pile.
The better way is to develop a relationship with someone at the company and eventually ask for an introduction.
Rather than complain about the “unfair” state of the world, a successful person applies the same work ethic he used to get his skills to improving his network.
Now that you have realized this, you can use it as a hidden advantage that most people are unaware of. Use it to build your resources in an area most people overlook.
In addition to LinkedIn, try in person meet up groups or form your own. Meetup.com is a great resource to find existing developer, IT, or engineering groups nearby.
Successful people know that they are the average of the people they hang around most. By hanging around those better than you in your industry, you can:
- Get a sense of the real industry salary range to avoid getting underpaid and ask for what you deserve.
- Get access to new job opportunities you would have missed.
- Improve your own skills with a computer from feedback of people smarter than you.
When I discovered the world of personal development, my life changed forever.
I realized that I was like Neo in the Matrix.
My destiny was in my own control. Before that, I was kind of like everyone else: walking through life like a zombie, assuming that how much I earn and how much I can accomplish was set in stone and you just landed where you landed.
After seeing so many successful people go from low income to high income, I know that it is possible for anyone, even people without a degree or any experience (look at John Paul Dejoria, Brian Tracy, or Tony Robbins)
Use these tips to skyrocket your success, and once you have mastered them, I am excited to let you know that there is a lot more you can do to earn even more.
Thanks for reading and sharing this article.
If you want the best insights I have learned over my years studying the field, join my email newsletter by visiting my site and I will send you those insights as a free gift.