Objective and independent thinking is increasingly important to investing and trading success, particularly in the current and prospective economic and financial market times. How do you score yourself against the 15 ‘successful people traits’ outlined below?
So asks Aimee Groth (businessinsider.com) in an article* regarding how successful people think as put forth in John C. Maxwell’s New York Times bestselling book, How Successful People Think.
Lorimer Wilson, editor of www.munKNEE.com (Your Key to Making Money!), has further edited ([ ]), abridged (…) and reformatted the article below for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. The author’s views and conclusions are unaltered and no personal comments have been included so as to maintain the integrity of the original article. Please note that this paragraph must be included in any article re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.
Groth goes on to say, in part:
- Thinking is a discipline – work at it. Consider developing a thinking schedule…[setting] aside a half day every two weeks, a whole day every month, and two or three full days every year.
- Figure out where you need to focus your energy, and then use the 80/20 rule. Devote 80% of your energy to the most important 20% of your activities. Remember that you can’t be everywhere, know everyone, and do everything… Avoid multitasking: it can cost you 40% efficiency.
- Expose yourself to different ideas and types of people. [Be] selective about spending most of your time with people who challenge you.
- If you have an idea then follow through. “Ideas have a short shelf life. You must act on them before the expiration date.”
- Thoughts need time to develop. Don’t just settle on the first thing that comes to mind. Remember the last time you had a brilliant idea at 2 a.m., but it sounded sort of ridiculous when you woke up the next morning? Thoughts need to be “shaped until they have substance” and need to stand the test of “clarity and questioning”.
- Collaborate with other smart people. Thinking with others yields higher returns. It’s like giving yourself a shortcut. That’s why brainstorming sessions are so effective.
- Reject popular thinking (which often means not thinking at all). Too many people act, hoping that others have thought things through first. To reject popular thinking you must be OK with feeling uncomfortable. Also remember that right now, there are a bunch of other people out there deciding to think for themselves — and they are the ones who are successful.
- Plan ahead, while leaving room for some spontaneity. When you’re strategic, you reduce your margin of error. Simply having vague ideas of where you are and what you want to accomplish will get you no where. The keys to being strategic are: 1. break the issue down, 2. ask why the problem needs to be solved, 3. identify the key issues, 4. review your resources, 5. put the right people in place. [As] Henry Ford once said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into smaller parts.
- To think differently, do different things. Try new routes to work, meet new people, read books you might even consider boring. The key is exposure to new ideas and ways of life.
- To appreciate others’ ideas, you need to value other ideas. You can’t think you’re always right. Give other concepts a chance. Have an agenda — for the day, and when you meet with people.
- Take time to plan out your weeks, months, and long-term goals — and then they follow through…Don’t walk into meetings, parties and coffee dates blind…Decide what you want to learn from people before walking through the door.
- [Undertake] reflective thinking to give you perspective and confidence in your decision-making skills. If you’re not reflecting, it’s holding you back more than you think. As Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
- Get over negative self talk. Winners think in terms of “I will” and “I can.” Smart people don’t see limitations, they see possibilities. Former baseball star Sam Ewing once said that “nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done.”
- Creative people are dedicated to ideas. They embrace ambiguity, don’t fear failure, and hang out with other creative people.
- Naturally optimistic people find it hard to be realistic thinkers. A realistic perspective allows you to get close enough to a problem in order to tackle it. Facing potential consequences also helps you be more efficient, and it gives you credibility. To become a more realistic thinker, you must:
- appreciate the truth,
- do your homework and get the facts,
- think through the pros and cons,
- consider the worst-case scenario, and
- align your thinking with your resources.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember we can all change the way we think. Learning how to master the process of thinking well leads you to productive thinking. If you can develop the discipline of good thinking and turn it into a lifetime habit, then you will be successful and productive all of your life.
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