At times we are so invested in our beliefs that when we hear a rumor or get an unconfirmed report that matches our thinking we want to take the new intelligence as fact. In these moments we must fight that urge and question our confirmation bias. Always get the facts. Challenge the source and make sure you remain open minded.
The times when I have miscalculated the error could easily have been avoided if I had not wanted the story to be true and therefore I allowed the story to be true.
No matter where you are in your career questioning your confirmation bias is paramount. My thought of the Week is practice this skill in your daily life.
- Original posting on LinkedIn
The best are the best for a reason. The most wealthy, most ambitious, most successful entrepreneurs in the world—Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, Sara Blakely from Spanx, Mark Pincus from Zynga, Kevin Plank from Under Armour—have all oriented their perception in order to be as successful as possible. They have changed their very way of thinking; they have developed The Entrepreneur Mind.
The author, Kevin D. Johnson, of The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs has boiled down these characteristics to their very essence in his insightful landmark novel. After running his own multi-million dollar corporation, Johnson Media Inc. in addition to founding and investing in a host of other entrepreneurial ventures, Kevin Johnson has developed the wherewithal, the resilience, and the motivation that has driven the planet’s most successful capitalists over the course of history.
Written specifically for both emerging and established entrepreneurs, the book concisely articulates one hundred key lessons that aid the new and the experienced alike. Restricted to seven categories, Strategy, Education, People, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Leadership, and Motivation, this valuable advice makes the bumpy road to true fiscal freedom a smooth path free from hiccups. Relying on his own experience, Johnson delves into detail on several particular points in his life, potentially the most captivating of which is a life-changing visit to Harvard Business School.
Yet, these life experiences merely support his main points and illustrate how to change, and the value of changing, your perception of the contemporary economic climate. Some of his tremendous tidbits of advice include but are not limited to: learning to think big, understanding who makes the best business partners, knowing what captivates investors, comprehending when to let go of an idea, and figuring out where to avoid opening a business bank account. Perhaps one of his most engaging ideas is his belief that too much formal education can actually hinder your entrepreneurial growth, a seemingly paradoxical idea that, in reality, largely rings true.
For those looking to dip their toes in the water of entrepreneurial instability, The Entrepreneur Mind is a wonderful introduction to the groundwork of capitalism.
Inspiring others, stoking a fire of passion in others, is an art that cannot be understated. To inspire others to follow you, embrace your dream as their own, and work towards making that dream come true, is a phenomenal though poorly understood concept that paradoxically remains of the utmost significance in the professional world, yet fails to be taught. How does an entrepreneur teach others to be the best of themselves? How does a leader cultivate ambition while retaining top talent? How does a CEO gain the loyalty of his/her workers and not encourage stagnancy?
Such are but a few of the many questions that Max Depree’s Leadership is an Art explores with versatile accuracy. Acknowledging the multitude of prevailing beliefs that currently characterize the ‘right way’ to lead, Depree concisely but comprehensively answers many of the questions that plague modern leadership. He teaches many lessons, and so I have chosen to list a few of my favorite just below:
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say ‘Thank you.’ In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.”
In developing any capitalistic enterprise, the leader must understand expectation and articulate what is considered success and what is failure. In achieving such, the leader must do whatever they can to produce what he or she said would be produced, be that a product or service. Yet, even when acting as a “servant,” the leader must understand they are always doing so for a price, thus acting as a “debtor.”
“Leaders don’t inflict pain; they bear pain.”
The harsh reality of running a business is that there is sacrifice. There is burden. There is pain. However, even in the face of difficulty, a leader cannot bend to the stress. To bend to the stress, to take your stress and displace it onto others, namely other employees, is to discourage those you’re supposed to encourage. In order to secure the best possible productivity from your workers, you must set a stellar example they can model. While it is hard to not internalize stress, leaders must strive to remain relaxed. Otherwise, said internalized stress will manifest in other ways, hurtful ways.
“Participative management is not democratic. Having a say differs from having a vote.”
An important though subjective distinction, it is significant to let your employees know they have a voice in the organization and where it’s going. However, an effective leader must also realize that, ultimately, the final decision is up to him or her. Moreover, employees themselves must realize this. They must understand that while their input is appreciated, it is not necessarily, or by any means really, the end all be all. Depree delves into detail on this vague idea and provides insightful advice on how to approach and implement this philosophy.
The truth is that leadership is a dynamic skill, changing with the tides and altering with the current state of the company. What leadership requires a year ago may be different today. What leadership requires at one company may differ considerably from what leadership requires at a different company. Leadership is malleable, flexible, but strong. It is an art top business executives must learn and must always continue to learn; and Depree helps do just that.
While creative thinking and problem solving are both key concepts that are interconnected with the notion of business, entrepreneurship, there comes a time when these strongly ingrained ideas can hinder any sort of innovative process moving forward in your brand.
The inspirational book titled ‘Winning the Brain Game; Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking,” by Matthew May provides readers useful insight to tackle managing and developing your creative side once challenges in your business seem out of your reach.
Known as a very prolific author, May has crafted a myriad of books that include “The Elegant Solution”, “In Pursuit of Elegance”, “The Shibumi Strategy” and “The Law of Subtraction” that all collectively examine different strategies from design thinking to lean thinking. In terms of “Winning the Brain Game,” May gives advice to his readers so they can utilize their minds in ways to more effectively produce complex solutions to issues or problems that you previously felt were impossible to successfully approach.
Although May discusses business related issues when it comes to approaching a new business plan, he also takes a step back to access how the various flaws of our educational system. He finds the root of our incapability to brainstorm from the ingrained mentality from school to never question or create new ways to approach a problem, but rather find the correct answer through a standardized exam.
In turn, May notes the fact that this does not only obstruct the problem solving process from an early age, but also conditions us to think very narrow-mindedly in a stage of our lives when innovation should be maximized in every way possible. Throughout the book, the author makes it clear that to advance the creative side of your brain, the first step is to come up with various questions as a means to address the problem instead of forming solutions.
The logic is that these questions have the potential to initiate new ideas or ways to approach the problem instead of immediately conjuring up solutions with a limited originality.
As doubt is one of the many fundamental hindrances that negatively affect the creative process, May makes it known that censoring this is essential not only for your sanity, but also in terms of bettering yourself in your respective field. He then claims that in order to muster up the courage or bravery to improve creatively, we need to return to a mental state similar to how children act upon their curiosity or desire to experiment without concern of the outcome.
Also, he finds that this “ideacide” is rooted from fear, which allows us to engage in self-censoring to a point when we become completely incapable of producing anything that challenges normalcy or the situation’s conformed state. Thus, May argues that among all of the fatal flaws, self-doubt is by far the most dangerous any form of innovation.
To better respond to the self-doubt fatal-thinking flaw, the author makes an interesting point to undertake new scenarios or situations with a mindful framework as a means to better approach the matter at hand with active thinking, instead of indifference or perhaps rejection. The act of questioning or taking other perspectives into account is highly important when it comes to any sort of professional, personal or academic growth as you move forward in your path.
Think and Grow Rich is written as straightforward as its title, designating it as an easy to understand and comprehensive guide on how to best attain, retain, and maintain your personal finances. What’s more however, is the lessons of rugged individualism, enlightening wisdom, and inspirational motivation that saturate Mr. Napoleon Hill’s pristine prose.
By depicting the experience of more than 500 innovative and fiscally successful individuals, Hill constructs an enthusiastic script that encapsulates an irreproachable entrepreneurial spirit. The foundation of each man’s wealth in this piece is the idea that they all had nothing to start with except for their ambition and their plan. With meticulous attention to detail, the guts to pursue their dream, and the intelligence to recognize the next step before them, these men are each in their own right the flesh embodiment of the American dream.
Dive into this easy to read classic that describes with simplistic effectiveness “what to do” and “how to do it.” Utilize the system of self-objectivity readily contained between the covers to truly understand what steps you should take next in order to secure a future of wealth. By fusing the famed Andrew Carnegie’s formula for success with real-life experiences, Napoleon Hill has effectively authored not only an inspirational book, but also a step-by-step manual to ascend to fiscal stardom.
Examine Hills’s thirteen steps to success in order to fully understand exactly what composes a winning philosophy. Each step is simplified to the point of clarity, yet elaborated upon just enough so that they each rightfully remain their own distinct entity. By articulating seemingly abstract principles with precise, comprehensive prose, the author has written a book of truly legendary proportions. Although written in 1937, Think and Grow Rich’s lessons remain to this day as relevant as ever.
Hill also explores the necessity of developing a definite purpose, composing a positive mental attitude, and channeling the power of the subconscious mind, especially in regards to overcoming adversity. These moments of self-reflection are beneficial even for those who decide not to apply the lessons contained herein Think and Grow Rich. Merely by opening your mind to objectively reviewing your own philosophies, you are taking a massive step towards refining your attitude and honing your ambition, towards optimizing your skills and thinking ahead.
You should do yourself a true service and thumb through a copy of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Take advantage of the wisdom that brought success to so many others.
Written by David Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big is a motivational self-help book that proposes a carefully designed program that can help you get the most out of your professional and personal endeavors. Schwartz emphasizes that you don’t have to be the smartest, most talented, or the most connected person in order to succeed in life. The key to success according to this book is spelled out in its own title: the magic of thinking big. When you create a habit of thinking big you will automatically motivate yourself to improve in different aspects of your life such as having a better work life, earning more money, creating better, more satisfying relationships, etc.
The Magic of Thinking Big emphasizes four key points that further prove his thesis about thinking big:
“Think positively toward oneself”
The first thing Schwartz explains is that one of the main factors that tend to hold people back is that they think too small. In order to succeed it is important that you think positively towards yourself. He uses a story of a salesman who sells significantly more products than his colleagues and he is in fact not smarter, more educated, or better than them. He simply sells more because he expects himself to sell more.
“See what can be, not just what is”
Schwartz also stresses the importance of visualization. Thinking big is not just about thoughts and ideas. You actually need to train yourself to see not just the present, but the future possibilities that lie ahead.
“Broadcast good news”
Another great point that the book explains is how transmitting good news is a win/win situation, not only for the people surrounding you, but also for yourself. When you broadcast good news, you and the people around you will feel better, lighter, and more motivated to conquer bigger things.
“Make your attitudes your allies”
Lastly, Schwartz makes a valid point about attitude. Similar to point number three, your overall attitude about things will affect your emotions, your productivity, and your overall stamina. Make it a habit to make your attitudes your allies; have these feelings work for you and not against you. If you maintain a bad attitude about your job, for example, your success will become stagnant.
Aside from these four key points, The Magic of Thinking Big also describes three failure “diseases”: excuse-itis, detail-itis and procrastination. These are very common factors that will not help you succeed and will definitely not allow you to think big. For example, having excuses for everything will not help you grow and succeed, micromanaging will exhaust you and you will lose vision of the big picture, and procrastination prevents you from being productive, hence getting one step closer to success.
All in all, The Magic of Thinking Big is a very useful book that undoubtedly resonates with many of us, as we all have individual goals we would like to achieve in life. It helped me refocus on the big picture vision I have for myself, and I guarantee it can help you too.