The Attractor Factor
Bill Whittle spent about 4 hours talking about the things necessary to enable a person to be successful. He set out his plan in four parts, using the metaphor of football plays, each one for a down. I didn't really get the football metaphor very well, but his third play really caught my attention. In 12 points, he laid out the character traits necessary if you want to be a successful leader, mainly by attracting capable people. I was struck by how similar many of these traits were to some of the values in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior and Choice Theory, and my own notions of what it takes to be a Warrior. Here they are:
The Attractor Factor:
- Winning attitude: an optimistic believe that tomorrow can be better than today
- Excitement, enthusiasm, energy: always be excited to be where you are, doing what you are doing. If you're not, why would those who follow you? In fact, if you're not excited about what you're doing, why would anyone else even bother following you?
- Intensity, tenacity, toughness: Never show weakness or doubt. Never, never, never. Not to anyone who relies on you. Appear practically superhuman. Make people wonder how anyone can do as much as you do, try as hard as you do, take as much beating as you do, and keep getting up.
- Commitment to excellence, desire to be your best in all areas of life
- Strength, stability, durability: He mentioned a recent poll that demonstrated people considered strength and reliability in a leader more important than honesty.
- Caring, compassion, love, empowering others, genuine
- Compentance, skills, knowledge: This goes back to the idea that intentions are great, but you have to have the skills and the knowledge to effect change in the world. If you want to make a difference, train yourself and gain the necessary abilities.
- Work ethic, action-oriented, doer
- Fun, happy: Don't be so intense that you become tense. Have fun, appreciate life, take joy in whatever you do, even as you do your best.
- Confidant, bold: Bill cited a professional basketball player he knew who, after making a 3-point shot that was needed to win the game, turned and walked away without even waiting to see if it went in the basket, so sure was he of his ability. You need to be so certain that you will win it doesn't even cross your mind that you won't. If you do, it should be shocking and surprising enough to move you to improve.
- Competitive, resolute will, unyielding desire to win: The example of the boxer who didn't even hear the count until '8' then though to himself, "champions aren't on the mat" and just got up. Always get up.
- Character, integrity, honesty: People need to know you will do what you say, or you will try really, really, really hard to keep your word.
Bill asked everyone there to rate themselves on each of these factors, 1-10, and said, if you were being honest with yourself, you couldn't have scored more than 5 on anything, probably lower. If you did score higher, you would already be more successful. I think he's right to an extent. The degree of intensity, energy, commitment to excellence that he is demanding here is pretty ridiculous, the stuff of legend. Something along the lines of Leonides knowing approximately 300 Spartans could hold an army of Persians, and committing himself to do it, and having the skills and competence to do it right (for a while). So, yeah, it counts as something to work towards if you want to be crazy awesome heroic in any area of life. Bill Whittle seemed pretty heroic up there. He had the air of a man who could walk through hell and come out smiling. Nothing could faze him. And he has certainly fought his own battles against the injustices of the financial services industry, against the financial woes of the middle class and his own financial troubles. I'd call him a Warrior.