Human history goes back tens of thousands of years. And in almost all times the strong have always prevailed over the weak. They were taller, stronger, faster, and with these skills they surpassed their opponents.
But what is true strength today? Is it so important today to be physically strong in order to be successful?
Did you know that Usain Bolt holds the Olympic record for the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds? That’s undoubtedly amazing result, but how different is it from the statistical average? Not much! The average male runs that distance in 14 to 15 seconds. So the best runner on the planet does it only 1.56 times faster than the average guy! That’s not even twice as fast! Just think about it!
Where am I going with this? Humans’ physical capabilities are limited and almost fully explored, but their mental capabilities are not. And it’s not even about IQ, but the scale of thinking and knowledge.
Let me give you another example: the world champion programmers solve in 1.5 hours the problems that an average programmer can solve in a week, while an ordinary person will never solve in his life. Another example: Any chess grandmaster is 300,000 times stronger than the average person in the game!
So the conclusion is that we have nowhere to go in our physical development. Even with the best genes and a lifetime of training, you will be only 1.5 to 2 times faster, stronger, and more enduring than the average person. But in terms of mental development, the curve of potential soars to plus infinity.
Of course, sports are important and necessary for a healthy life, but:
- These workouts must be in moderation. There should be just enough to keep your body healthy and productive, as well as your body weight;
- If you are not a professional athlete, it is better to devote most of your time to your mental development instead of the many hours of daily workouts at the gym.
It’s the same with work. Unlike physical work, mental work is less monotonous and allows you to get maximum results with minimum effort.
Scientists also agree that intellectual abilities are more important than physical abilities. For example, scientists from Cambridge University argue that the development of the human brain is the main driver of modern evolution.
Today, mental capabilities largely determine who a person will become, what his profession will be, how successful he will be, what his income will be. And if in physical labor (we do not take into account professional sports) the income is almost always limited by the possibilities of the body, the income in intellectual labor is not limited by anything.
For example, the best book writers can get 1 million dollars and more for publishing a book, while beginners will get at best 1000 dollars (if they get anything at all). The path to the top is of course difficult and thorny. But the prospect of increasing your income by 1000 times is worth it. And it is much more interesting than doing physical work (where such profit is impossible in principle).
Why is there such an income gap? Why does this happen? There are several factors, but these two are main ones:
- Mental abilities are difficult to develop. They require huge diligence and time. Sometimes it’s long, long years, with no clear prospects (which most people aren’t prepared for);
- Supply and Demand. Physical work can be done by almost anyone. And as you know, any work that thousands of people can do will be valued (paid) less than work that only a few can do.
You might say: “Stop talking this drivel! There are tons of examples that this is not the case! Colin McGregor, for example, simply beats people with his hands and makes more money than a dozen scientists”.
You’re right! But you don’t take supply and demand into consideration. Colin McGregor is the only one on Earth. There are no other athletes like him. But there are hundreds of thousands of ordinary athletes and ordinary scientists (not the top ones) in the world. Who don’t discover anything significant, who don’t earn and don’t do some interesting as much as Colin, and who just want a steady paycheck. And the employer decides: “Why should they pay more?”.
Why are IT specialists and programmers in such high demand today? Why do biotechnologists and surgeons make so much money? Because they drive progress! In a couple of decades this will probably change and society will have other needs. But today these professions, which require great mental abilities, are more important than others. And accordingly they are much more generously paid.
Yes, all professions are important and all professions are needed. But no matter how unfortunate it would be for you to hear: today one clever computer programmer is worth a dozen cab drivers or cashiers. He conceives and creates when others are just doing monotonous work. It’s harder, it’s riskier, it’s more responsible, but it also pays several times more.
The market today is crowded with average professionals: managers, construction workers, drivers, couriers, clerks, salespeople, mailmen, etc. This causes them all to compete for jobs with each other. This allows employers to set their own salary bar. But if you are a unique professional, with unique ideas and intelligence, you can sell your labor and knowledge for much more than the average salary.
If you are not a professional athlete, my opinion is this: choosing a monotonous, routine or physically demanding job in the 21st century is not a good idea. First, it will be poorly paid and you will always be jealous to others. Secondly, the monotony of tasks will quickly wear you out and you will begin to hate the job.
There’s another problem: physical work forces people to retire earlier and with less money. But the same can’t be said for mental work, which people can do practically forever (our brain at age 70 is almost the same as a 25-year-old brain, which is not true of our body).
Our brain is the main tool of our self-development, which works forever without getting tired or complaining. It is your main resource, whose potential is unlimited.
You can’t become 100 times stronger than others, but you can be smarter than others by that amount. That’s why mental skills are more important than physical ones today.