Why You Need to be Boring
December 29, 2014
-George Carlin was obsessed about not repeating the same joke
-Jerry Seinfeld practiced his first Tonight Show bit 200 times
-Nelson Mandela loved his 5 a.m. walks
-Tony Robbins engages in a writing session for 3 hours every day
-Al Gore interrupts his work day at 3 p.m. to go for a run
They are grinding it out in their office while others are at the bars. They are up early creating new material while others enjoy their lazy mornings. They are building their personal platforms while others are marathoning their favorite television shows.
The best presenters are boring people. And, you can be great as well if you decide to be boring. Here’s my personal example:
Back in the summer of 2012, I embarked on a ridiculous training schedule that peaked at 25 hours of physical training on top of a 50-60 hour workweek. The end result: I can now call myself an Ironman – a title only 1-2% of the world can claim. Did I do it again? Heck yeah! The adventure repeated itself again in 2013.
What did it take to achieve both of those goals?
An absolutely boring life.
My life over that 2-year span was boring. I was predictable. I was habitual. Outside of work and everyday responsibilities, I only lived and breathed triathlon. My schedule was boring. My life was boring. But, this “boring: life enabled me to accomplish something amazing. And, here’s how you can do the same with your goal to become a better presenter:
1. Say “No” More Often
My triathlon life was built on this word. “No” to this. “No” to that. It was a life built around sacrifice and saying “no.” “No” to bad food. “No” to lazy friends. “No” to late nights out. “No” to just about anything not related to the sport of triathlon. This is how I got to the finish line.
2. There is Beauty in Compounding
Good habits compounded over a long, predictable, boring cycle produce magnificent results. Routine always wins. So, if you want to be a better presenter by next month or next year, let those good habits start to work for you right now. The longer you can let them compound, the greater the end result.
3. Embrace the Pain
This is probably the most important lesson. Being boring isn’t fun. It sucks, and it’s painful. But it works. No one ever said being a great presenter or creating great presentations was easy. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It requires stepping outside your comfort zone. It requires massive amounts of constructive criticism. Simply, it requires gold old-fashioned hard work.
At the end of the day, remember this: The most boring people are usually the most interesting people. So, if you want to be a great presenter, it’s now time to start being boring.
EXTRA DOSE OF INSPIRATION
Check out this deck my team created on this topic:
Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.