Smart Thinking

Most of us can’t make decisions. We find it difficult for many different reasons.

We find it hard because we want to please people. We find it hard because there are lots of things we could do, that we would probably enjoy and gain value from.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that. It’s good to make other people happy. It’s good to try new things.

But we’ve only got so much time. We’ve only got so much energy. We’ve only got so much mental capacity.

We have to choose.

It is really easy to decide between something you really like doing, and something you hate doing. That’s simple. It’s a preference.

It’s far more difficult to choose what is best or more important between two things that you actually like doing, enjoy or get value from.

Deciding what’s most important is tough. How do you know what’s more important?

What makes things far easier in decision making is knowing very clearly what you want in life and business.

Clarity on your path and your vision really helps to decide what fits and what doesn’t.

There’s another factor at play, which is the fear of missing out, FOMO for short. I think this cripples most people when it comes to decision making.

In business you need to be able to say no to a lot of things, and yes to very few. You only know what to say no to when you know what you want to achieve and you have clarity on your vision. This is tough in itself.

Most people think there are two states in decision making – you can either decide yes or no. But there’s a third, and it’s the biggest waste of time, energy and focus – and that’s not making a decision at all.

All those unmade decisions build up and hang over you like a big black cloud.

Failure to decide has massive repercussions on all of us. All of these ‘things’ that haven’t been closed off begin to build up and consume our mental capacity.

So what can you do about it?

I don’t think there’s one answer here, and mostly you’ll have to figure it out for yourself.

Here’s what I’ve been doing to help with decision making, in case you’re interested:

  • I’m starting with no, and working up to a yes if it feels right and fits with what I want.
  • I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out what the most important things are in my life are  and in business.
  • I discuss and involve smart people in my thought process – it’s good to have smart people in your life

Disclaimer: I haven’t figured it out, but I’m working on it. Let’s be honest, who has really figured it all out!?

My goal here isn’t to present you with an answer, but to think more consciously about the decisions you are or aren’t making.

Maybe you are like me and it’s time for a clear out?

Is it time to make some solid decisions and draw a line in the s and?

DFTBA!

Chris.

Not the ‘S’ word again…!

The title of this blog probably irked you. You might be thinking ”what does Chris know about success?”, “Who is he to define success?”

The good news is, I’m not going to tell you how to become successful, because I can’t, and it’s none of my business.

The problem with success

The problem with success ( and I think we have to be completely honest with ourselves here and admit it) is that we mostly define what our own success should look like by what other people think and expect of us.

This could be our parents, our spouse, our children, our friends, our enemies, and in business, our competition.

Even more so it’s defined by ridiculous inc.com and entrepreneur.com articles that manage to break down success into a ‘h andy’ list for us to follow. We read these articles and maybe we feel motivated for a short time, but they just paint a false impression of what success is all about.

We are obsessed by what other people think

I think we need to give more thought, feeling and effort into why we are doing what we do, and define success for ourselves (also, what’s our obsession with trying to define everything?!).

Or maybe find a completely different word for success.

Success for most people is determined by:

  • The house you live in
  • The car you drive
  • The clothes you wear
  • How much money you have in the bank
  • The friends you have
  • The watch you wear

This is just stuff. It means nothing in the long term if you aren’t truly happy.

I have a few friends that now realise this, and they have taught me a lot about what matters the most. Living a good life, feeling good about yourself, loving your family and friends, etc.

Some learned this the hard way, and sometimes that’s what it takes to break the mould. But they’ve come out the other end stronger and wiser, and I hope I can continue to learn from them.

The more I think about ‘success’ I realise that it’s all based around judgement, vanity and perception, and it becomes a dumb ‘willy waving’ competition.

Nothing frustrates and annoys me more than listening to people judging and comparing themselves against other people – I’m guilty of it too and I need to stop it.

It’s up to each one of us to change the way we think.

Defining success

I don’t have a definition for success, but I have a few thoughts about what success means to me:

In business: To create something from nothing – to take an idea in your head, and make it a reality. Create something that makes people feel special and makes a difference.

In life: To wake up in the morning feeling happy and grateful. The ability to support my wife, family and friends, emotionally and with empathy.

In general: A tasty cup of coffee.

Disclaimer: I’m still figuring it out, as are all of us.

Your turn

  1. Do you feel successful?
  2. How do you define or determine success?
  3. Why do you do what you do?

Let me know what’s on your mind and join the conversation in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

Jim Rohn says that “Everything affects everything” and what he means by this is that if you slack on one of your goals, the likelihood is that you will slack on other things too. His advice is to start with the easy stuff and build it into your life over time. Mr Rohn is a very wise and intelligent man and I recommend The Art of Exceptional Living as a starting point.

Over the past 3 months I have been concentrating on building new habits into my life. My main reasons for this are to be: –

  • Healthier
  • More Productive
  • More Positive
  • More Intelligent
  • More Successful

I figured out what I want my life to look like, then I disaggregated that vision into what kind of person I need to be in order to achieve that lifestyle, and then topped that off by working towards becoming that person by introducing new habits and disciplines.

Building in a New Habit

What I have realised is that you cannot do everything at once. You can take a few approaches to make sure you are achieving your goals: –

  1. Either build many habits up slowly over time, increasing the exposure incrementally, OR
  2. Take one new habit and build it into your life, then once you have it nailed, move on to the next.

There is various advice out there on how long it takes to build up a daily habit. Darren Hardy in The Compound Effect says that it takes 21 days to build the foundations of a habit, but a further 300 positive reinforcements to secure it into your life.

What is working for me is nailing one habit and then moving on to build in another. You then repeat this cycle until you have built in all the habits you need, in order to be the person you need to become. If you take the 21 days principle, by the end of one year you will have changed your life completely and built in approximately 17 habits! That’s pretty amazing for just making one change per day for a year.

I’ve had a few challenges along the way. For example, I tried to do too many things at once and ended up feeling a little disappointed with my progress. I then realised that if I just concentrate on only one or two at a time it was far easier to achieve my goals, which made me feel a little better about my progress.

Monitoring your Habits

One of the main things for me was having the ability to record my daily routine. I wanted to have a note of my habits, the targets to meet every week and the ability to record my progress on a daily basis. I’m quite anal this way…I like to have lists and spreadsheets! If you are anything like me then here are three methods that I use to record my progress, that you will probably like too: –

  1. Using the Achievement Management System in Darren Hardy’s Living Your Best Year Ever – This works very well and I use this everyday, week and month to review my targets. I have been using this method for approximately 3 months and it is by far the most complete personal goal setting programme I have ever used.
  2. Commit application for the iPhone (£1.99) – This is a great way to keep on top of your commitments. It allows you to track your daily progress and adds up how many days in a row you have done something. If you miss a day, then the counter will resent to zero, which gives you the motivation to make sure you complete the task and tick the box.
  3. Lift application for the iPhone (£FREE) – This is a fantastic application that allows you to enter in your daily disciplines and then monitor your activity each day. The advantage that this app has over the other two methods is that you can leave a comment on each activity everyday, allowing you take further notes regarding your activity and progress.

Commit

Commit

Lift

Lift

Goals

Living Your Best Year Ever


The iPhone applications are great because you can do things on the move, and the book I have mentioned above is very much worth looking into if you would like a complete programme to follow.

Action

If you feel strongly enough about changing your life, your habits or routines then please look at the books and audio I have recommended in this blog. You will find them very informative and helpful.

Also, please feel free to contact me if you want to chat about things. Email me me or use the multitude of social media platforms to get in touch.

Comments

As normal, comments and feedback are very much welcomed.

There are 2 main ways to comment. Either using the Facebook application below or scroll down further to comment directly on the website.

All the best,

Chris.

Stay Consistent!

If you want to make changes in your life, read the The Compound Effect: Multiplying Your Success One Simple Step at a Time by Darren Hardy  and implement the concepts in the book.

This is the basic concept:

You make small smart choices, you apply consistency (i.e. you stick with these changes for a long period of time – creating a habit) and over a long period of time you will eventually notice radical results.

It makes complete sense to me and I am already making changes, which I know in time will have a positive impact upon my life.

What changes do you think you could make in your life to make it better, happier or more fulfilling?

I know that small businesses owners in the Fife area get frustrated when they don’t see significant changes taking place over short periods of time. My advice is to stick with the above formula, keep doing what you are doing. Continue to improve and don’t get frustrated and upset when success and money don’t appear after the first few months/years.

Have a great day!

Chris.

An ‘Ah-Ha’ Moment

Over the past 5 or 6 years I have invested a lot of my time into reading personal development books.

Lately a fire has been lit under my bum, which in turn has led me to read A LOT more than what I used to. It safe to say that in the past year I have learned a lot and also changed personally.

I like to think that I am a positive person, and this was true up until the point I read Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude: How to Find, Build and Keep a Yes! Attitude for a Lifetime of Success by Jeffrey Gitomer…I had a few changes to make… and I still do.

Here is a story about something that happened in my life recently. The great thing about this is that I quickly realised what I did wrong, and if I wasn’t proactively changing my attitude there is a good chance I would not have ‘consciously thought’ about what just happened. My objective is to get into a conscious thought process 100% of the time and not be at the mercy of my own conditioned reactions.

At The Book Store

I bought a book for around £55, which is quite pricey, but it was required for my studies. I quickly realised that the book was available online and therefore the book was no longer required and I attempted to return it. Unfortunately, I was past the 10 day return threshold and I had also ‘opened’ the book and therefore I could not get a full refund. The gentleman (manager?) at the service desk was quite rude and had no intention of attempting to solve my dilemma. At this point I felt myself beginning to get frustrated; poor customer service really gets my palms sweaty!

Long story short…I had to ask about the second had trade in rates and was told it would be 40% of the book RRP, which is around £22. I thanked him for his help (sarcastically) and then I walked out.

Here is the learning process for me…

Although the Manager clearly needed customer service training, this is not my problem, this is his problem. Also, £22 is more than £0… and also, someone else gets to benefit from a discounted book price at some point.

I haven’t been back to return my book for £22, but I will. And I have accepted that the Manager’s issues are nothing to do with me.

Upon reflection I failed to ‘consciously think’ and was at the mercy of my own conditioned reactions. Lesson learned… and in future I have to think more clearly and consciously.

Reflection

Take 5 minutes to reflect upon a time when you acted or behaved in a certain way that you would like to change in the future. Please share your story as a comment below.

I have another story to share with you, which I will leave for next week.

Have a great day!

Chris.

I  like anything that teaches us to think smartly and more creatively.

I l anded on these videos a few days ago and really liked them, so I thought I should put them all in one place and let the people I know enjoy them too.

You can watch them all 6 parts in around 15 minutes, so watch them while you are doing the dishes or eating breakfast or something like that.

I thought they were quite informative and succinct, what are your thoughts?

Leave your comments below, I am interested to know what you make of them.

Part 1 – A Valuable Argument
Part 2 – Broken Logic
Part 3 – The Man Who Was Made
Part 4 – Getting Personal
Part 5 – The Gambler’s Fallacy
Part 6 – A Precautionary Tale