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Why effort is a “huge competitive advantage” for success

Between his commercial success and his investments in hundreds of startups, Mark Cuban knows what it takes to be a hit.

There is one trait you must cultivate before all others if you want to be successful as well, he says.

“The only thing you can control in life is your effort,” Cuban, 64, said recently in a LinkedIn video post posted by entrepreneur and venture capitalist Randall Kaplan. “And the willingness to do that is a huge competitive advantage, because most people don’t.”

Putting in the effort, Cuban said, means going beyond what’s required to solve problems, even when you’re not asked—in addition to your regular job responsibilities. You take the initiative, and exhaust every possible option to find answers.

He added that this property is somewhat rare.

“There are some people, or employees, that if you tell them to do A, B, C, they will do A, B, C and don’t know that D, E, and F exist,” Cuban said. “there [are] Others who aren’t good at detail: If you tell them to do A, B, and C, all they want to do is talk about D, E, and F.”

His advice to anyone who doesn’t go any further: “Don’t apply for a job with me.”

Cuban’s comments come amid an ongoing “quiet resignation” movement, as employees across the United States fight back against overworking, underpaid wages and being given limited advancement opportunities. The phrase refers to the idea that people should do the work they get paid to do – and nothing more.

“Ultimately it’s an engagement issue, where we think about what employees are really looking for and set boundaries for themselves,” Lexi Clark, Payscale’s vice president of people for employee compensation, told reporters earlier this year. “You’re not going anywhere.”

However, Cuban isn’t the only boss who appreciates effort and problem-solving skills in the workplace.

Last year, 2.7 million job postings on ZipRecruiter listed “analytical thinking” as a required soft skill. And Payscale’s 2023 Compensation Best Practices Report found that 29% of executives worldwide believe employees who don’t go the extra mile won’t succeed and risk being fired.

For Cuban, it feels personal: He built his career by analyzing where he would get the most reward for his efforts, rather than following his passions and seeing where they led him.

“The things I ended up really good at were the things I found myself putting effort into,” Cuban said in the 2018 Amazon Insights for Entrepreneurs video. “A lot of people talk about passion, but that’s not what you really need to focus on. You really need to take stock and say, ‘Okay, where do I put my time?

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank,” which features Mark Cuban as a panelist.

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