How to be in the top 5 % in anything



the top 5

Source: Pixabay

Recently I’ve recommended that newsletters are a great resource to get your news from. One of these that I personally recommend is Seth Godin’s blog. He has written every day for several years now. Some day he just has a few sentences to share and other days its several hundred words. A post stuck out to me recently about how to be in the top 5 % and it got my wheels turning.

In his post he shares a lot of thoughts that really made me think. I’d highly recommend you take a look at this post. If you don’t want to there were a few parts of it that really stuck out to me.

The Top 5% Is Attainable

Here is the first quote:

the biggest prizes go to the once-in-a-generation superstar. But that’s largely out of reach. It turns out, though, that if you’re thoughtful and diligent, the top 5 % is attainable. – Seth Godin

Thats really something to think about, huh? Its good to be upfront about the point that being Lebron James or Bill Gates probably isn’t going to happen. Those are once in a lifetime situations when the right talents and timing came together to excel in their respective fields like no one else ever has.

You know what is possible? A lot more than you think.

You know that local businessman who has grown a business or two and now gets to spend his time doing whatever he wants? That could be you.

Or how about that couple that you read about online that stayed laser focused on their vision of retiring early by the age of 30? They had to make some sacrifices to achieve it but they definitely did it. That could be you.

The top 5 % is more about deciding what you want to be in the top 5 % for (its better to be more specific than less), putting together a plan and putting in the work.

You’re competing against yourself

Here is the second quote:

The thing is, you’re not competing with the other 19 people, not really. You’re competing with yourself, competing in a journey to determine how much you care about making an impact.

Isn’t that freeing? You don’t have to worry about your cousin that makes boatloads of cash or that friend from college. Worry about you.

The focus should be about getting better every day.

the top 5

How to be in the top 5 %

Like anything in life that’s worth achieving, being in the top 5 % in nearly any field will take time and effort. It seems that the simple recipe of time and focused effort is the key to just about anything. People get pretty bored after a little bit of time and don’t really want to put in the work.

Here are a few simple steps to get to the top 5% in nearly any field:

Step 1: Choose Your Field

An important first step is selecting what you want to be top 5% at. Again, I think Seth said it best

The approach is to pick the right set to be part of. Not, “top 5 % of all surgeons,” but perhaps, “top 5 % of thoracic surgeons in Minnesota.” Be specific. Find your niche and fill it. – Seth Godin

Choose your niche and stick with it. Specific to personal finance, maybe your goal is to be in the top 5 % of all households in the United States in terms of net worth. When I wrote that the first time I thought it would be some ridiculous number. It turns out having a net worth of a bit over 2 million and you are pretty much there.

You get the idea. Narrow your focus.

Step 2: Put together a plan

This doesn’t have to be super detailed but it does need some thought. You can’t start heading towards a goal with no sense of direction.

My best advice would be to choose someone that is ahead of you on your journey or maybe already achieved it and evaluate their life. How do they spend their time? What do they spend their money on? What skills do they have? I’ve done this in terms of learning and it helped me realize I need to be constantly learning and growing.

While looking at a single person may be a anomaly if you look at several people you’ll start to get an idea of what you need to do.

Step 3: Commit to 10 years

Does this scare you? Are you already thinking reaching the top 5 % isn’t worth it? If so, it may be best to top out now.

It may take 2 years or it may take 20. If you aren’t willing to stick with it for 10 years then you probably don’t want it bad enough. You’ve got to be willing to stick with it.

Step 4: Put in the work

I’ve written about the importance of work before but can’t stress it enough. You can do steps 1-3 better than anyone in the world and never amount to anything if you aren’t willing to put in the work. I’m writing this at 5:32am because I want to be wealthy and I know growing a side hustle is a key component of that.

What do you think?

Do you think you can actually be in the top 5%? What are you currently chasing and what does your plan look like? Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

Leave a Reply