If someone were to drop me in an Olympic pool tomorrow and tell me that if I could swim for two miles nonstop, they will give me $20K, I am fairly confident I could make it. But if someone dropped me in the ocean tomorrow and told me that I either swim two miles to shore or drown beneath the waves, then I am completely confident I would make it. Humans are capable of amazing things when there is no possibility of retreat.
Throughout my career I have hired upwards of 5K people, and as any business owner or boss knows, hiring the right person can be incredibly profitable. Hiring the wrong person, however, can be insanely costly. I have spent 20 years honing my ability to predict which people will become an asset, and which will become an albatross. Throughout my trial and error I have found that when I bet on the people who have no safety net, it always nets positive results. When someone is relying entirely on their own prowess, they can accomplish much more than their counterparts who know that going backwards is an option.
History buffs may know the story of Captain Cortés. In 1519, upon landing in Veracruz, he ordered his men to burn their ships. Without ships, there was no chance of return, and they were forced to push forward. It is a harsh tale, and in our modern world we needn’t look for anyone in such dire circumstances, but I absolutely recommend betting on the person without a ship.
If someone has never had to fight to survive, or to grow and progress, then what makes you think that they will fight for you? When things get tough, it is human nature to retreat to the safety of home and the familiar, but when success graduates from being a want to being need, amazing things happen.
Look for the person with the need.