Quentin Hafner

Are you a boring one-trick pony kind of guy?

Are you one of those boring one-trick pony kind of men?

Most men equate success with financial growth. The prevailing mindset among most men is that more financial gain, more sales, and increasing revenues are the ultimate markers of a thriving life. Most men will deny they think this way because, after all, it’s quite shallow. But the truth is, when you look at the lives of most men and measure behavior as a reflection of their values, this is the reality.

Most men are boring one-trick ponies.

There is nothing wrong with financial gain. In fact, I think people should pursue it passionately when it aligns with their life’s mission. But it does become problematic when your sole expression is the value you ascribe to yourself related to your finances.

This is how you become a one-trick pony.

I had a phone call this week with an entrepreneur friend who I hadn’t talked to in a while. During our call, the first question he asked me was, “So… how is your business growing?”

What a strange question, I initially thought.

My answer was simple: “It’s not.”

His assumption that I must be considering growth reflects a common assumption among men that success is measured by how much our businesses expand. Society and cultural norms pressure men to continuously chase more and bigger, most often at the expense of personal well-being and a more robust way of living.

It can be an obsession.

But do you know why you obsess about this?

Here’s the answer: Because your value and intrinsic self-worth as a man has been directly linked with your financial success. That is called achievement-based self-worth, and that’s what makes you a boring one-trick pony. As long as your value as a man is connected here, you will continue to obsess with more.

I’m not obsessing about growing my business right now, but I will tell you what I am obsessing about:

  1. I’m obsessing about planning a father-son week-long trip to Florida with my oldest son Levi, so we can go snorkeling together.
  2. I’m obsessing about how to love my wife more deeply in a way that mimics God’s love for her as His daughter.
  3. I’m obsessing about a dinner party I’m hosting at our house for the men at my church.
  4. I’m obsessing about planning a week-long trip with my youngest son, Samuel, to Colorado in July.
  5. I’m obsessing about getting my body fat percentage to 8% and being in the best physical health since I was 20.
  6. I’m obsessing about teaching more classes at my Brazilian jiu-jitsu school as a way to give back and pay forward all that’s been given to me through jiu-jitsu.
  7. I’m obsessing about how to live every day more fearlessly and trust more deeply in God’s presence in my life.
  8. I’m obsessing about where to give more money away to people and organizations less privileged than me.
  9. I’m obsessing about breaking personal records in my CrossFit workouts.
  10. I’m obsessing about watching my son play flag football for the first time and never missing a game, in the name of busyness at work.

The opposite of being a boring one-trick pony is to be a multi-dimensional man. This is the kind of man who has friends, hobbies, passions, and interests that extend past work and financial gain. Multi-dimensional men often have great businesses and are financially secure, but they have more going on, too.

Read here: The Single Biggest Predictor of Success in Life

I’m not any better than you…trust me, I’ve been the boring one-trick pony in my life, too. It’s a miserable way to live and I can remember how bad life felt when all I cared about was making more money.

I recall a time when I was so focused on growing my business that I neglected my physical health and my most important relationships. The constant hustle left me exhausted and disconnected from the things that mattered the most. I felt anxious, depressed, and all-around horrible. The pursuit of more had regretful hidden costs that I’ll never get back.

Never again.

Cultivating a multi-dimensional way of living doesn’t mean giving up on ambition; it means having enough self-awareness to know when things are out of balance and knowing when we’re leaning on the side of boring one-trick ponies.

It’s crucial to understand that more financial growth and expansion will not, under any circumstances, make you happier. That’s a hard Truth for many to grasp, especially if your self-worth is deeply intertwined with performance and achievement.

Happiness only comes from within and is linked to pursuing your calling, living out your mission, and having great relationships. If you’re pursuing financial growth to find happiness, feel valued, or be accepted by others, you will be painfully disappointed.

More in this department is rarely better. We have to redefine growth to more robust things outside of financial gain. We have to be more multi-dimensional. This is how you will get out of the boring one-trick-pony trap and become a more interesting multi-dimensional man.

Remember, your value as a human has nothing to do with your performance or achievements, and until you truly grasp that fact, you’ll be too afraid to risk being anything more than a one-trick pony.


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