Understanding Personal Velocity to Predict Outsize Success

Velocity and speed are different. Velocity is how fast you’re going in a particular direction. Speed is how fast you’re moving (in any direction). The direction aspect of velocity is important. People can move fast but in the wrong direction. If they measure speed, they think they’re doing well because they’re moving quickly. If they measure velocity, they think they’re doing well only if they’re moving in the right direction. I believe people who achieve outsize success focus on velocity, not speed.

People who achieve outsize success are usually adamant about learning. Whatever their method, they have a habit of learning. (Warren Buffett reads 500 pages a day to acquire and compound knowledge.) They also have a destination or at least a direction in mind. They know where they want to be and are working hard to get there.

I started thinking about ways to evaluate the likelihood of someone achieving outsize success. Various factors should be considered, but understanding where someone wants to be and how fast they’re bettering themselves (i.e., learning) to get there is key. I think of this as measuring their personal velocity. To my mind, if someone has a high or rapidly accelerating personal velocity, the probability of their achieving outsize success skyrockets. Warren Buffett, Koby Bryant, Tiger Woods, Jeff Bezos, and many other successful people have, or in their day had, high personal velocity. They were clear on what they wanted to accomplish and worked diligently to improve themselves so they could reach their destination as rapidly as possible.

I’m going to start thinking in terms of measuring individual personal velocity.