I recently re-listened to Naval’s ‘How to Get Rich (Without Getting Lucky): Every Episode‘. It’s a 3.5-hour podcast where Naval and Nivi discuss every tweet from the original How to Get Rich (Without Getting Lucky) tweetstorm.
There’s a section where Naval discusses his 3-part checklist that he will not compromise on when it comes to working with people. And that’s what this article is going to be about. I will start each part with a quote from Naval himself and then discuss each of them.
“You need someone who’s smart or they’re heading in the wrong direction and you’re not gonna end up in the right place.”
High intelligence can manifest itself in many ways. A million people can all be uniquely smart and I think recognizing this variability is important. Just because you don’t think and act like a particular really smart person doesn’t mean that you aren’t really smart in your own way.
But having ‘high potential’ or being ‘highly capable’ isn’t enough. It’s just one part of the equation. Because capability and potential can only be realized through action.
You’re looking for people who have high intelligence and demonstrate the ability to learn, pivot, and adapt. Because intelligence is only one part of being a great builder.
“You need someone high energy because the world is full of smart, lazy people. We all know people in our lives who are really smart but can’t get out of bed or lift a finger.”
This Naval quote made me stop and think. One of the most important differentiating factors for whether intelligence translates to success is high energy. This has always been my bottleneck and it’s something I’m improving at.
High energy is part mindset, part action bias, and part personality. There is a direct correlation between high energy and getting things done. It enables hard-work and will often be the deciding factor in the level of one’s success.
“And we also know people who are really high energy but not that smart. So they work hard, but they’re working in the wrong direction.”
So you’re looking for high enough intelligence to learn, adapt, and grow. Then, they also need high energy so that they can work hard, build things, and make stuff happen. High intelligence combined with high energy makes for a driven and very capable individual.
“Then high integrity is the most important. Because otherwise if you’ve got the other two, what is you have is a smart and hardworking crook who’s eventually going to cheat you.”
As Naval says, high integrity is the most important trait on this list. This is because the potential downside of a smart and hard-working crook can have devastating consequences. You don’t have to worry about this with high-intelligence/energy or high-energy/integrity people.
How to Spot High Integrity
High integrity is very important. So how do we spot it? Naval says we can through signals.
“So you have to figure out if the person’s high-integrity. The way you do that is through signals. Signals are the things that they do, not the things they say. It’s all the non-verbal stuff people do when they think nobody’s looking.”
So, take note of how they treat people. Pay attention to how much they talk about people behind their backs. Watch for discrepancies between the things they say and the things they do.
“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
It’s important to remember though that just because people aren’t always consistent with their words and actions, it’s not always malicious. Sure, there will be people out there who are intentionally trying to deceive you; and we should be wary of that.
But often, the reason that people struggle to keep their word or stick to their commitments is discipline. They say that they want to because they do want to. They just can’t stay disciplined enough to actually do it. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad person or doing it to spite you.
However, discipline, social consistency, and honoring your word are all key factors for integrity.
“Pick people to work with who have high intelligence, high energy, and high integrity.”
This is the goal. You want to work with people who are high intelligence, energy, and integrity because they will make your life easier.
High intelligence means that they can learn, adapt, and function autonomously.
High energy means that they’re willing to work. You’re not going to have to nag them to take action, it’s in their very nature.
Then, of course, high integrity is what ties everything together. If they’re high integrity, you can trust them. Trust is crucial in any relationship. It is the foundation upon which everything else is built.
Again, I’ll reiterate that I took the majority of these quotes from a small section of Naval’s (link): How to Get Rich (Without Getting Lucky): Every Episode. It’s a 3.5-hour collection of thoughts, tips, and advice. I would definitely consider checking it out.
There you have it!
If you enjoyed this piece, I wrote another piece that was inspired by Naval called ‘Why Doing The Right Thing Is Always The Best Option.’
What do you think about this list? Are there any other key characteristics that you would add? Let me know what you think in the comments!
As always, thanks for reading!