I simplistically divide people into two broad top-level categories: boring people — not very thoughtful, interesting, smart, talented, etc, and fascinating people — very smart, insightful, knowledgeable, talented, etc. The latter category has a very special sub-category that I am truly enthralled by: the high-leverage people.
I define them as people who act on their big ideas. They are capable of articulating a theory of how the world works today and how it should change, and then proceed to actually change the world, or at least attempt to. They are the people that can describe big changes that impact major swaths of humanity (we will privatize space flight! we will sequence the human genome! we will find safe alternative to oil! etc), and then actually proceed to replace “we” with “I” through their actions, be it entrepreneurship or investing or volunteering. Lecturing the world about how it will become a better place is the domain of big thinkers: brilliant, influential, but ultimately theoretical. Those that bring the big ideas into hard, unpredictable reality are the practitioners, the high-leverage ones, and I admire them almost without reservation.
One key ingredient of being this kind of a person is an almost irrational lack of fear of failure and irrational optimism, but there is a more tactical side there too: they manage to not get caught up in all the little details,.. while being remarkably aware of the really important ones.
There must be many more essential ingredients to being high-leverage. I’d love to understand this type of person better…. so I can maximize my own leverage.
Have any tips?