- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
"We can accomplish almost anything within our ability if we but think we can."
—GEORGE MATTHEW ADAMS, COLUMNIST, AUTHOR, AND PUBLISHER
YOU ARE A REMARKABLE PERSON who has extraordinary qualities. You have more talent and abilities than you could use in 100 lifetimes. What you can do with your life from this day forward is limited only by your own imagination.
Your brain contains about 100 billion neurons, each of which is connected to as many as twenty thousand other cells in a complex network of ganglia and dendrites. This means that the possible thoughts and combinations of thoughts that you could think would be equal to the number one followed by eight pages of zeros; this number is greater than all the molecules in the known universe.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, a well-known author and speaker on the topic of self-development, says, "Each child comes into the world with 'secret orders'." This means that you were born with a unique destiny at a certain time and place, under certain circumstances, in a special situation. You are put on this earth to do something wonderful with your life, something that no one else but you can do.
You are unique in every sense. There is no one in the world, in all of human history, with the special combination of talents, abilities, knowledge, experience, insights, feelings, desires, ambitions, hopes, or dreams that you have. And there never will be.
Your greatest satisfaction and joy in life will come when you have the wonderful feeling that you are realizing your full potential and becoming everything you are capable of becoming. The only question is, "Are you an optimist or a pessimist?" Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?
THE HIGHEST-PAID WORK
What is the highest-paid, most important work in America? Some people think that the answer is sports, show business, Fortune 500 CEO, or something else. The fact is that the most important work of all is "thinking."
The better you think, the better decisions you make. The better decisions you make, the better actions you take. The better actions you take, the better results you get. In the long run, and in the short run, the quality of your thinking largely determines the quality of your life. All truly successful, happy people are good thinkers.
Consequences are one of the reasons that thinking is so important. Something is important when it has serious potential consequences, positive or negative. Something is unimportant when it has few or no consequences at all.
The quality of your thinking is largely measured by your ability to first think about the likely consequences of doing or not doing something and then to spend most of your time and effort on those activities with the most significant potential consequences.
A particular quality of future-oriented people is that they think long term. They project forward days, weeks, months, and even years and carefully consider the likely consequences of a particular course of action before they do anything.
The greater clarity you have with regard to where you want to end up sometime in the future, the better decisions you can make in the present and the more likely is it that you will achieve the kind of results that you really want.
Today, you are essentially a knowledge worker. The greater the quality and quantity of knowledge that you have acquired, the more tools you will have at your disposal to shape your thinking, hone your decisions, and ensure that you get better results. Fortunately, thinking critically is a learnable skill. You can get better at it by doing it more often.
THINKING SKILLS FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
There are a series of thinking skills that you must master in order to succeed in a world of turbulence and rapid change. I call them the Seven Rs.
1. Reevaluating. This occurs when you take a time-out to reexamine all the details of your life, especially when your life has changed dramatically. You'll know it is time to reevaluate when you experience stress, resistance, frustration, failure, disappointment, or difficulties of any kind. When you are chronically irritable, angry, or unhappy with your work or personal situation, it's a sign that it's time for you to stand back and reevaluate the situation based on the way it is today.
Jack Welch once said that the most important leadership principle is the "Reality Principle." He defined it as, "seeing the world as it is, not as you wish it would be." Jack Welch was famous for going into problem-solving meetings and asking immediately, "What's the reality?"
Strong people confront reality head-on. They are more concerned with what's right than who's right, or being right. They are adamant about finding out the truth of a situation and confronting the reality of their problems rather than avoiding them or hoping that they will go away. They continually reevaluate their situations based on the current reality.
2. Rethinking. The quality of your thinking is largely determined by the quantity of the information you have with which to work. In rethinking, you make every effort, as Harold Geneen of ITT said, to "get the facts." You ask as many questions as you possibly can about the person, problem, or situation so that you can make your decisions based on fact rather than emotions.
One of the best ways to remain calm and keep your mind clear is to ask questions. What exactly has happened? How did it happen? When did it happen? Who is involved? What is likely to happen as a result of this situation? What can be done immediately to address the situation or minimize the cost?
Another way to help you to rethink more clearly is for you to write down every detail of the situation on a piece of paper. Something wonderful seems to happen between the head and the hand. The more details you write, the more calm, clear, and effective you become. Very often, the right course of action will jump off the page at you.
3. Reorganizing. The purpose of organizing any personal or business situation is to ensure the smoothest possible functioning. As time, people, and situations change, especially in a turbulent world, you must carefully and continually examine your current ways of living, working, and doing business. Be prepared to organize and reorganize processes, procedures, and activities to increase the smoothness of operations and the efficiency of your work or personal life.
In times of transition, many people reorganize their lives completely. They move from the city to the country or vice versa. They move from a residential home to a condominium, or the other way around. They reorganize their businesses or their personal lives so that they operate better in the new reality.
4. Restructuring. Because there is never enough time or money for everything that you want to be, have, and do, you must economize. Restructuring involves moving time, money, and resources away from lower-value areas of activity to higher-value areas.
In business, you restructure by moving your best talents and resources to your areas of greatest opportunity. In your personal life, you restructure by spending more of your personal time on those activities that give you the greatest happiness and satisfaction. This may involve a resolution to focus on the top 20 percent of your work activities, those that account for most of your income, so you can free up more time to spend with your family or on personal activities.
5. Reengineering. This popular management tool is aimed at simplification, continually looking for ways to reduce the complexity or number of steps in any process.
You can reduce complexity by delegating low-value, no-value tasks and activities to other people who earn a lower hourly rate than you do or who can do it more cheaply or better than you.
You can reengineer your life by outsourcing all work that is not central to your business or your life and in which another company or individual specializes. Outsourcing low-value tasks to specialized companies is actually cheaper and yields better results than doing it yourself.
Another way to simplify your work is called "responsibility expansion by job consolidation." This means that you bring several jobs together and do them all yourself or make them the responsibility of a single person rather than having parts of the job done by a variety of individuals.
A final way to reengineer your life, to simplify your activities dramatically, is to simply eliminate certain activities and tasks altogether. There are many things that you do each day that may have been important at one time, but now, in comparison to other uses of time, they are of little or no value.
6. Reinventing. This is one of the most exciting and revolutionary ways of thinking you will ever learn. Reinventing yourself involves drawing a line under your past and imagining what you would or could do if you were starting over today, in any area, with a clean slate.
If your business burned to the ground overnight and you had to start it over again in new premises, what would you start up immediately, and what would you never start up again?
If your job, business, industry, or area of specialization disappeared, collapsed, or became illegal and you had to start your work life over again completely, what sort of work would you choose to do? Where would you choose to do it? What new skills or abilities would you choose to develop? If you could reinvent your life completely, how would it be different from today?
Practice zero-based thinking in every area of your life. Ask, "Is there anything that I am doing today that, knowing what I now know, I would not start up again today if I had to do it over?" This is one of the most effective reinvention tools. I call it a KWINK (Knowing What I Now Know) analysis.
Knowing what you now know, is there any relationship, personal or business, that you would not get into again today if you had it to do over? Knowing what you know now, is there any part of your business, any product or service, or any process, procedure, or expenditure, that you would not start up again today if you had it to do over?
Finally, is there any investment of time, money, or emotion in your life that, knowing what you now know, you wouldn't get into again? Imagine you could wave a magic wand and reinvent any part of your life from the beginning. What changes would you make? What would you do differently?
7. Regaining Control. When you experience a major change or a transition in your life, you may often feel like a small boat that has just hit a squall. You sometimes feel as if you are being pitched up and down physically and emotionally. In the midst of turmoil you will sometimes revert to the "fight or flight" reaction, alternately wanting to attack or withdraw. You will feel as if you are on an emotional roller coaster. It is at this time, more than at any other, that you must regain control of yourself, your feelings, and your actions.
Psychologists have developed what is called the "locus of control" theory. According to this theory, each person has either an internal or an external locus of control, or something in between. It varies from person to person. An internal locus of control means you feel that you are in charge of your life and in command of the situation. As a result, you feel more calm, clear, and positive when things go wrong.
People with an external locus of control feel that they are largely controlled by people, circumstances, and events outside of themselves. They feel "out of control" and as a result, experience stress, negativity, and often psychosomatic illnesses.
SIX STAGES OF REGAINING CONTROL
Psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified several stages a person goes through when grieving the death of a loved one, especially a spouse or child. But people also go through several similar stages when they experience an unexpected setback or reversal in their work or personal life.
1. The first of these stages is denial. "I don't believe it! This can't be happening!" is a common reaction in this stage. Denial—the refusal to face the inevitable and unavoidable reality of the situation—causes much mental anguish and unhappiness.
2. The second stage of dealing with a death or setback is anger. Once it is clear that the event has occurred, the person reacts with anger toward the person or situation he considers responsible for what has happened.
3. Closely following anger is the third stage, blame. The individual who has suffered a traumatic event or a loss of some kind immediately blames someone or something else for what has happened. His conversation with himself and others becomes an explanation of why and how he is innocent and why and how someone else is to blame for his unhappiness.
It is hardly possible for someone in a state of denial, anger, or blame to deal calmly and rationally with a situation or to move forward. These negative emotions are paralyzing and can keep you locked in place, as though your feet were in a bucket of hardened cement. No progress is possible.
4. Once you have gone through denial, anger, and blame, the next stage in dealing with death or traumatic events is guilt. You begin to feel that you did or failed to do something that led to or contributed to the problem. Feelings of guilt soon turn into feelings of negativity, inferiority, and depression. You may feel like giving up or feel sorry for yourself. It becomes easy to slip into self-pity and self-reproach.
5. The true antidote to denial, anger, and blame is accepting responsibility. It is only when you accept responsibility for your situation and for the way you respond to what has happened to you that you can deal with the problem and take control of the situation.
There is a direct relationship between the acceptance of responsibility and a sense of control. Furthermore, there is a direct relationship between a sense of control and positive emotions. The more that you accept responsibility for yourself and your situation, the greater sense of control you will have and the happier and more positive you will become.
What amazed me many years ago in my studies was the discovery of the power of those simple words: "I am responsible!" It is impossible to remain angry or to blame other people for problems in your life when you are saying, "I am responsible." The more you repeat the words "I am responsible" to yourself, the more you short-circuit or switch off the negative emotions that are clouding your judgment and making you unhappy.
At this point, you may feel like arguing by pointing out all the things that the other person or persons did to hurt you and why you are completely justified in feeling angry toward them. But it's important to remember an excellent question psychologist Jerald Jampolsky once asked: "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"
In almost any negative situation or reversal in your personal or business life, you are at least partially responsible. Sometimes you are totally responsible, which will make you angrier than in any other situation. You did or failed to do certain things that led to the unexpected and undesirable event. You failed to do certain things or to make note of certain signs that indicated that something was wrong. In fact, the more responsible you realize you were for what happened, the greater will be your tendency initially to lash out and blame other people for your situation.
But this will not do. Accepting responsibility is a purely selfish act. You accept responsibility for one reason: to enable you to regain a sense of calmness, clarity, and personal control. Instead of feeling angry, unhappy, and frustrated, you accept responsibility and immediately feel calm and relaxed.
There are certainly situations when you are completely innocent, when what happened had nothing to do with you at all. As in a drive-by shooting, you were the victim of circumstances over which you had no control. But you are still responsible for your responses. Remember, it is not what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you that determines whether you are happy or unhappy. As Shakespeare wrote, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
6. One of the most powerful tools that you can use to regain control of your mind is called reframing. The way you feel about any situation is largely determined by your explanatory style—by how you interpret the event to yourself, in either a positive or negative way.
In reframing, you interpret the event in a positive way. You change your language. Instead of defining it as a problem, you reframe it as a situation. A problem is something that is upsetting and stressful. A situation is something that you simply deal with.
Excerpted from Reinvention by BRIAN TRACY Copyright © 2009 by Brian Tracy. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted February 4, 2012
No text was provided for this review.
Posted December 30, 2009
No text was provided for this review.