Two Paths to Outsize Success: Hustling and Strategy

I spent time walking with a founder friend. One of the things we talked about were two paths to success that we’ve seen be successful. One was high activity spread across many paths, and the other was low activity focused on a single or limited number of paths.

The high-activity path is a hustler’s path. Hustlers are constantly working on a variety of things and doing lots of activities. This approach is highly iterative and reactive. There isn’t much deep reflection or many predefined goals at the outset. It’s more go where things take you. These folks are constantly evaluating what new paths to take based on the results of the last activity. They repeat the cycle until it ends (hopefully) in whatever the hustler defines as success.

The low-activity path is strategic. Strategists spend time deciding on a destination on the front end. Activities that align with the goal are taken on; those that don’t (even if promising) are declined. They reflect along the way to determine if the things they’re doing are having the desired results. They continually dissect failures and adjust. This approach focuses on a goal and tries to determine the best path to it.

We concluded that success can be achieved in various ways. These are just two we’ve seen up close that resulted in outsize success. In each instance, the person’s personality fit their approach. The extroverted and high-activity person we knew took the hustler’s path. The deep-thinking and reserved person took the strategic path.