The plus-minus-equal formula describes the conditions that every person needs to develop and to improve. Whether you want to get better at boxing or in university, this concept is helpful in all of these situations.
The idea comes from Frank Shamrock and I read about it in Ryan Holiday's book, “Your Ego is Your Enemy.”
In addition to this concept, I recommend that you read my article “The Opportunities beyond the Comfort Zone.”
In order to become great, everyone needs to have three types of people around them to receive continuous feedback. Real progress is only possible through this honest feedback.
These types of people are…
Plus: Someone Who Is More Experienced Than You Are
The person who is better than you, serves as a role model and teacher. In addition, this person can help motivate you to keep going. The advanced person can be a source of inspiration from whom you can learn a lot if you observe and listen carefully.
Minus: Someone Who Is Less Experienced Than You Are
At the same time, it is important to have a person around you who is not as advanced as you are. You can teach this person.
Besides the advantage for the other person that he or she can learn, you reinforce your own skills through teaching and feel useful. Only when you can teach a concept to anyone you really understand it.
Equal: Someone Who Is Just as Experienced as You Are
Last but not least, you need an equal opponent. This person should not be your arch-enemy, but should be considered an ally. You motivate each other to keep going and to improve, while regularly testing your own skills.
Who “wins” or “beats” the other is not important; the process of testing your skills is what matters most. While the first two types of people help you learn and reinforce your skills, this person helps you actually apply your skills.
Look for these three types of people and you will make much faster and longer lasting progress.