How to Succeed – Lessons from Sim City

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I loved playing Sim City growing up.  The game allows anyone to build the coolest city in the world.  Hate traffic?  No problem, build extra highways instantly. Love sports?  Perfect, a new stadium on every block. In Sim City, you make the rules and in the end your creation happens plus you get rich!  Although it’s just a simulation game, Sim City is a great tutorial on how you can succeed at any endeavor; it just speeds things up a bit.  If you reflect back on what helps people dominate at Sim City – small steps, delegation, and strong standards – you know what it takes to be extremely successful.

One Step At a Time

In Sim City you don’t create a massive metropolis just by wanting it; you take time to build on small successes.  It’s easy to imagine your ideal city, but odds are it never turns out exactly like you originally thought.  Your ability to react to unexpected problems and the needs of your people determines your true success.  Then as you gain more money and power you can start driving closer to your goals, but remember each small win is what brings you to success.

  • Have a plan but don’t over do the details.
  • Focus on solving the current problems and reacting well to unexpected situations.
  • Continuously check if your steps are moving you in the right direction.

Delegate Often

Timothy Ferriss is the current king on life delegation with his book The 4-Hour Workweek.  He outsources nearly every step in his life that he believes is not his to worry about it.  Similarly when you’re building your dream city you set the layout and provide infrastructure and let your Sims figure out the rest.  They decide how the buildings look, what industries to create, and how they live.  You do what only you can do and the Sims do the rest.  All your endeavors should be viewed this way.  There’s plenty of people out there who can help, and the more you can pass on, the more you can focus on what you are truly best at.

  • Outsource work when you can be doing something more important.
  • Take time to train others so that you have more time to do what only you can do.
  • Delegation helps others who need work and frees you up to do better work.

Strong Standards

A strong city builds itself but relies on the infrastructure created by the leader.  In the city this may be appropriate taxes, proper zoning, and efficient means of transportation.  When you delegate out work you are allowing others to succeed and help you succeed, but this will only move in the direction you want it to if you have strong standards for others to build upon.  This may be the most intangible factor to your success, but also the most critical.  Consider your goals, your standards of success, and your ethics and then decide how to communicate them to the people supporting you.

  • What are your goals, standards, and ethics?
  • How do you plan to use them to influence others?

Success is easier than most people imagine.  By focusing on the next step instead of getting lost in huge plans, by passing off all the work that you are not meant to do, and by developing an infrastructure for others to follow you, you can achieve your dreams.  Take some time to figure out what this means for you and start achieving one step at a time.

What’s a goal that you realized was easier than first thought?  Got any games that help put things in perspective?  Let others know in the comments.

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