Are You An Amateur or a Professional?

Today, I read a post by Shane Parrish on his Farnam Street blog and couldnt resist sharing this with you. He tries to explain why some people are ultra successful and some are not, despite having similar knowledge or experience.

He goes on to share that one of the defining aspect that can explain this difference – Mindset.

How we see ourselves matters Click To Tweet

If we consider ourselves professionals, our chances of success goes up significantly. So, what makes one an amateur or a professional. Below is his take on the difference between amateurs and professionals.

Most of us are just amateurs.

Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.

Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process.

Amateurs think they are good at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence.

Amateurs see feedback and coaching as someone criticizing them as a person. Professionals know they have weak spots and seek out thoughtful criticism.

Amateurs value isolated performance. Think about the receiver who catches the ball once on a difficult throw. Professionals value consistency. Can I catch the ball in the same situation 9 times out of 10?

Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures. Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.

Amateurs don’t have any idea what improves the odds of achieving good outcomes. Professionals do.

Amateurs show up to practice to have fun. Professionals realize that what happens in practice happens in games.

Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak.

Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice.

Amateurs focus on being right. Professionals focus on getting the best outcome.

Amateurs focus on first-level thinking. Professionals focus on second-level thinking.

Amateurs think good outcomes are the result of their brilliance. Professionals understand when outcomes are the result of luck.

Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long term.

Amateurs focus on tearing other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.

Amateurs make decisions in committees so there is no one person responsible if things go wrong. Professionals make decisions as individuals and accept responsibility.

Amateurs blame others. Professionals accept responsibility.

Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day.

There are a host of other differences, but they can effectively be boiled down to two things: fear and reality.

Amateurs believe that the world should work the way they want it to. Professionals realize that they have to work with the world as they find it. Amateurs are scared — scared to be vulnerable and honest with themselves. Professionals feel like they are capable of handling almost anything.

Questions we need to ask is the following:

In which area of our lives are we acting like a professional and where do we act as amateurs? Which areas of our lives do need to become a professional in?

Here is the original blog:

The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals

This is one blog that I recommend everyone of us to read and follow. IF you do nothing but read everything that is written on this blog, you will end up much smarter than you start with.


PBTO18: In Conversation with Howard Moskowitz and Stephen Rappaport

Who is on the show today:

In today’s episode, we host Dr. Howard Moskowitz and Stephen Rappaport.

Dr. Howard is a market researcher and psychophysicist. He is best known for the detailed study he made of the types of spaghetti sauce and horizontal segmentation. He is CEO of i-Novation Inc & has written/edited sixteen books, and has published more than 300 articles.


Stephen Rappaport

Steve consults and writes about brand growth through consumer insight, digital strategy and measurement.  He is the author of 3 books The Online Advertising Playbook, Listen First! and his latest one being The Digital Metrics Field Guide:

Why are they on the show

In his 40-year career span, Howard has literally helped create billion dollar product line in the food industry. He has also won numerous awards for outstanding research including The Market Research Council Hall of Fame Award. Malcolm Gladwell did an entire TED Talk focusing on Howard’s work.

Both of them research and write about comprehending people using the science of mind genomics in a specialized area called cognitive economics.

What are we talking about

In this free wheeling conversation, we talk about mind genomics, cognitive economics and how it is much more effective to segment the market based on, what they call Vignettes and/or mindsets rather than the usual demographic, psychographic or behavioral segmentation and how can businesses understand their customers best by their behavior and preferences.

Most important learnings from the conversation:

  • Market Segmentation: 
    • It is critical for brands to understand the fact that there is no perfect product but a set of perfect products, i.e, an opportunity for horizontal segmentation.
    • Once brands understand the mindsets of their customers and tailor their messaging accordingly, the conversion rates can at times even double.

You can find more information about their work and connect with them on their email ID’s: (Howard & Stephen). You can follow Steve on twitter @steverappaport.

PS: The TED Talk that Malcolm Gladwell delivered based on Dr. Howards work is here: