Matthias Schlitte is probably a name that does not sit on the tip on anyone’s tongue. That is, unless you are a professional arm wrestler. Matthias did something most of us would find freakish. In the world of arm wrestling, the only thing that matters is arm strength. And since these people wrestle by weight class, the only thing that really matters is the strength in that one arm. His obsession made him a winner.
Most of us won’t follow the path of Matthias, but we can learn a great deal from his obsession. The level of success between those with talent and those with an obsession is huge. I recently sat with a physician who religiously studies every detail of every surgery he performs. He constantly strives to improve his skills. There is no “good enough” for him – he is obsessed. While other physicians and nurses poke fun at his “wasted” time, he quietly smiles knowing his waiting room is always full of patients who seek the fruits of his obsession.
The challenge with freakish talent is it deviates from the norm. And deviance is punished by society. Both Matthias and the doctor have to fight off everyone else’s desire to bring them back to normal. We all want Matthias to have a normal-looking body, but that does not win competitions.
Traditional financial planning pushes people toward normal. The constant bombardment of one-size-fits-all advice is a constant reminder to those that challenge the conventional wisdom and create their own path. I would argue the purpose of financial planning is to be hypersensitive to your freakish talents. We call these leverage points, and they begin every one of our financial plans. Your unique ability allows you to accomplish more with less resources. People can move mountains with the right leverage points, and the goal of our financial planning process is to help you strip every limitation to your strengths, setting them free and giving you the confidence to exploit them. Your freakish talent is what makes you special, and exploiting it will make you wealthy.