The one secret. The meta.
I have been obsessed with secrets.
It started in college. I was a pretty bad Fifa player in my first year of college. I have been playing Fifa since Fifa 2000, so I had no idea why I kept getting crushed when I was playing vs other players in the college server. Then someone told me that the biggest flaw in my game was that everyone knew that the Fifa meta then was to do aerial balls and since I used to play the default defence settings, people would just do an aerial through, trigger run the forwards, and beat my defence. So I had to use defensive tactic for my defence.
This was 2010. In my 2nd year I started crushing everyone. People joked that maybe I paid for Fifa coaching during the summer vacations, but it was just one small change. I would have never known that a simple change would make me one of the best players in campus.
The secret. The meta. Whatever you want to call it is the difference between success and average outcome in whatever domain you want to focus on.
The key to crushing people on Fifa is to know the meta of the year.
The key to Poker is to know that you can never play with people who have an infinite bankroll compared to you. Because if you go into a lot of plays with them, they just need to be right just once to pull all your stack. The other secret is to know that you might play for 5 hours, but your final tally will depend on 3/4 hands for the night. So you need to be right in those hands and not lose your stack. Even if the play is EV +ve for one of those hands, you might lose your stack and have to rebuild again.
In the corporate world the obvious path is to work hard whenever you land a new role, bring energy, and show to your manager that they can trust you with bigger projects and charter. But the bigger secret is that you have to matter enough to the powers at top so that you don’t remain a tiny dot in some org tree, who can be moved around in a reorg.
How can you not be a tiny dot?
It is something that I share mostly with the people I mentor. A lot of things that work in real life are not found in product threads. Because to acknowledge them is to accept that the world is not a fair and rational place. And there is no upside to share things that must remain unsaid.