Faster

Smarter Faster

All of us want to be Smarter Faster.
Here are five big ideas I’ve learnt over a decade on getting Smarter Faster.

 

Be the Boss
You are the only one in control of your life, act like the boss everyday. Take responsibility and accept that anything that you do will be your choice. 
 
Most of us do things because of other people. We do it cause our bosses asked us, because our parents asked us, because we feel like we have to.
 
How many of you do things because you want to?
If you choose your action, you will have control and will be more motivated

 

Check out this video by Charles Duhigg talk about how the US Marines changed boot camp to make sure new recruits knew how to break the rules and be in control.

 

 

Figure out why 
Once you are in control, knowing your why is critical to getting stuff done. A lot of us try to do things without understanding why, and then we are surprised when either a) the project doesn’t get done or b) it wasn’t the right thing to do.
 
At the beginning of any task, step back, decide what and why you want to do it: Write down your reason.
 
Now every time your motivation fades and it will. The reason will stare back at you and remind you why you need to do this.
 
 
Be a Mental Modeler
Mental models are rules and explanations about the world. It’s your reasoning for why things happen.
 
Build a model for your world. Have a model for how you think your interview should go, have a model for what you want your relationship with your wife or boss to be (helpful hint: make sure it’s not the same person).
 
Creating a model for reality is super powerful because it allows you to do the stuff that billionaire hedge fund managers and the Pentagon do all the time: Scenario Analysis.
 
Scenario Analysis is all about thinking about situations and decisions. It’s about knowing the answers before you know the questions. That’s a pretty powerful idea.
 
Let’s build a model for your life: If your life was working well, what should be happening.
If you were on the right course what would be the sign. What’s flashing red, what’s flashing green? What can you change?

 

Don’t stop at the Beginning
Getting Smarter Faster comes from solving big problems and coming up with new ideas. The ideas part is key, but most people stop at the first idea they come across.
Let me illustrate:
You are driving a car in the middle of a thunderstorm and you happen upon three people on the side of the road. One of them is a frail old woman, who looks on the verge of collapse. Another is a friend who once saved your life. The other is the romantic interest of your dreams, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet him or her. You have only one other seat in the car. Who do you pick up?

 

The old woman, of course.
Then, give the car keys to your friend, and stay behind with the romantic interest to wait for the bus!
But that’s probably not the first idea most of us thought of, and after we have the first idea its hard to move on to the next one. But the immediate can be wrong or incorrect.
Don’t be distracted by the immediate. 
Here’s how you prevent that – Write down 10 ideas a day
On what? On whatever problem you are thinking about, on whatever you want to improve.
 
Writing 10 ideas is hard, most of us will get stuck around 6 or 7. But getting the 10 down on paper, better yet get to 20. Just the act of not stopping at the first answer and letting your brain use its creative muscles is amazing.
 
It gets better, once you have the ideas, you can become an Idea Broker. Idea Brokers are the most essential people in any business. Their job is to bring people together around ideas, to exchange ideas, to make them grow into new things. So don’t just stop at the idea, then think about who do you know who can help you with it, who’s already an expert in it, who can you bring together?
 
 
Get a Mentor
Conventional thinking leads talented and driven people to believe that if they simply work hard, luck will eventually strike. Here’s a question?

Which is easier – making friends with a thousand people one by one or making friends with someone who already has a thousand friends? Which is faster – going door to door with a message or broadcasting the message to a million homes at once?

Or forget networking and just think about a skill, we can spend thousands of hours practicing until we master a skill, or we can convince a world-class practitioner to guide our practice and cut the time to mastery significantly.

Those who train with successful people who’ve “been there” tend to achieve success faster. The winning formula, it seems, is to seek out the world’s best and convince them to coach us.

So get a mentor.

 

Conclusion
Be the boss – make your own decisions, nothing is more motivating
Figure out your why – know why you are doing something upfront
Be a Model – have a model for your life, then run scenarios on it
Don’t stop at the beginning – don’t settle for the 1st idea, write down 10 new ideas a day
Get a Mentor – find people who have done what you want to do and figure out how to get them to help you 

 

If you’d like to read more about how to get Smarter, here’s what I recommend: 
Smart Cuts (Shane Snow)
Smarter Faster Better (Charles Duhigg)
 

Go ahead, see what you’ve been missing. 

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