Serial entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg says that all the most successful people she’s met have been able to answer this question immediately:
What is your super power?
John Maeda, who led the MIT Media Lab and Rhode Island School of Design, responded with “curiosity.”
Maria Popova, who curates the popular Brain Pickings blog by reading 12-15 books a week, said “doggedness.”
Eisenberg’s own superpower? Enthusiasm.
Knowing your superpower means you know yourself well enough to have a focus, and that’s the same competitive advantage that makes you so great at what you do. It’s the quality you’re most proud of, the one thing that makes you stand out, and what gives you an edge over everyone else.
My wife claims that my super power is productivity, but what she really means is efficiency. I get a lot done, but it’s in large part because of the systems of managing work that I have developed.
It’s not magic, as much as some people may think. It’s not even hard work (although it does require hard work). It’s a combination of focus, determination, and a willingness to spend time and effort developing streamlined processes for my work.
But I would drill down even further and get even more specific. I think my real super power is my ability to rapidly and seamlessly shift between projects without a reduction in quality or loss of efficiency, which allows me to work on many things at one time.
On Monday, for example, I completed a re-write for a musical, finished writing the first chapter of a non-fiction book, wrote about 10 pages of my screenplay, worked on two different novels, worked on a story for a Moth event, and completed tasks for my DJ company and Speak Up.
I shifted between all of these projects quickly and without loss of productivity, and I didn’t require an artisanal latté, a communal table made from refurbished railroad timber, or any smooth jazz to do so. I worked in many different locales at times ranging from 4:00 AM to 10:30 PM.
That is my super power.
My wife’s super power, by the way, is her ability to endear herself to every person of every type almost instantly. People automatically love Elysha. It’s as if humanity’s default setting is almost instantaneous love for her.
I wonder if she would agree.
- What is your super power?
- Were you able to answer the question almost immediately?
- If you know me well, do you agree with the super power that I have proposed?