How To Succeed Faster – Thinking Big and Small
- Use Numbers To Define Your Result
- Look at Each Task As A Test
- Document and Review Progress
- Come Up With New Ideas And Analyzing Old Ones
- First Principles Thinking
- Inversion Theory
- One Thing Thinking
- 10x Faster Thinking
1. Use Numbers to Clearly Define Your Result(s)
Very rarely when I speak to people do they have clearly defined metrics for success.
“What’s your New Years resolution!?” People ask, “lose weight” others say! That’s a horrible answer…the worst is obviously “I don’t know” since you’re given no direction and this person has most likely not even started. Lets be a bit more math driven shall we? How much weight do you wanna lose? Over what period of time? When will you review progress? How will you measure it? When will you begin? When will you exercise? How many calories will you eat on a daily basis and how does that change over time? Which people will help you get results faster? How will you insure that the weight stays off?
Notice that out of the sequence of questions above, only a few of them are actually not clearly driven by numbers. Why?
People don’t like to think things through in a math driven way…can we do it? YES! I think everyone has answered one of my questions above before, yet we’re not taught to look at the numbers, they’re scary! The problem is societal.
I think this is a world wide cultural issue…Math it seems in our global culture especially American culture, has been greatly eschewed due to the fact that, people think its harder to make it practical than it is. If you understand complex math you’re a genius, but if you don’t know calculus you’re an idiot. That’s like saying if you don’t know the definition of “eschewed” (it means abstained or avoided) ur dumb. So most don’t try, afraid of what their peers will think or perhaps secretly and even more importantly themselves.
So why do people not make progress quickly? Why do we fall into the trap of not using numbers to define results on a regular basis? Because it takes brain power! It will make you smarter 🙂 It’s actually more difficult to think about how you can improve systems than the stasis of keeping them the same and following the comfortable well trodden path you have been. Thinking can be hard! The best way is to have 1 clearly defined goal in my opinion and sub goals below it. Below those subgoals you should have actions and you can measure them or think of better ones to succeed.
2. Look at Each Task As a Test
Lets pretend you clearly defined your end goal, I like to use OKR’s with clearly written initiatives under each key result in a simple checklist. Now comes the part of testing aka executing your recipe for success!
Doing a task may sound easy at first. “Just do it” Nike says, however starting things can be hard. We’re distracted by an infinite universe so how do you go about completing this task? Well I say don’t call it a task, call it a test!
I like the concept of testing vs. calling it executing a task because sometimes “just do it”, isn’t good enough. If your goal to lose weight for example is to exercise by wrestling everyday some of you will do amazing, others may hate wrestling (not my favorite sport) and quickly fail. “I failed to execute” you may think to yourself and you’ll stop exercising altogether. The mindset of testing means that what you’re doing, the actions your changing today can change and improve.
The easy way I like to start a test is to think of the easiest first step to start. Once you do that first step take the next and the next until you’re complete with whatever tasks you needed to do to finish the test. Once you do all your small tasks and complete the test you’re done! You can smile, and go on to the next.
This is where will power and psychology come into play. I personally like to “breathe into the task”, it sounds weird, but to stay focused I breathe and dedicate each breath on executing in the moment until it’s automatic. If I find myself getting distracted I’ll focus back on breathing and the task, when I do it right execution becomes like meditation for me. I know very woo, woo stuff, but it works for me and helps me try it and let me know!
3. Document and Review Progress
Now that you’ve completed your task know that you’re ahead of 80% of people who did nothing! In fact, if all you did for our exercise example was exercise daily and eat right you’d lose weight. However, things don’t always go according to plan 😉 I just had gelato yesterday, which my body probably won’t thank me for, but I found delicious. This is precisely where reviewing progress comes into place!
Measuring the speed of every action will help you compare it to others no matter how trivial it may seem and if 80% of people never start than you can say 90% never review progress or at least properly. So how do we do that? You may ask.
Reviewing progress, daily, weekly and monthly can really help you see how todays performance will impact the week, which impacts the month where you can see inspiring progress for most things.
This is one of the hardest things for most to do in my humble opinion since to truly review your progress you need to be brutally honest and basically kill your ego. Much easier said than done. If you review your progress and you failed for example if I didn’t exercise today, then you may even fall into the trap of shaming yourself.
So just remember to love the process, the process is progress! 🙂
Reviewing what happened, analyzing what you need to succeed is where the magic happens. So you didn’t wrestle today. I ate gelato! OH NO lol. That’s ok lets just document, write benchmark our results and improve. You should always have a clear time where you document your results, so you can improve them. I like to use a weekly tracker, but if we tracked our output daily and measured faster, then we could improve faster so this is definitely something I should do.
Why do you think you struggled? What was so hard? The moment is the best time to analyze the cause of failure.
4. Come Up With New Ideas – Analyzing Old Ones
Lets pretend I documented and said ok tomorrow I’m just gonna eat healthy through will power. Then I document the next day and I find that still I haven’t eaten healthy the next day so that solution didn’t work out.
This is where coming up with ideas especially those around speed can really help! Once you come up with ideas to overcome obstacles you can get back on the saddle and try again. In the next step I’ll talk about how to frame your ideas as well as your initial ideas on how you can quickly accomplish your goals. The key thing to also do here is also predict your results.
Predicting results is big because the more you do it the better you’ll get. Why do you think this idea will or won’t work. Look over the previous ones and try to find flaws in your thinking. This will make you better at predicting the future and how to accomplish things, what a useful skill indeed! 🙂
You can say this step is much like step one so in essence: Create a clear goal, execute, analyze. Rinse and repeat.
Noting what you learn can motivate you to speed up your results. For those that have gotten past the basics above, framing and using logic for with clear thinking can really help. Here are great questions and methodologies you should study up on to set better goals from the start to save time:
1. First Principles Thinking
This is really useful for setting the goal and then also being able to reflect on whether you missed key factors after pursuing it. This is the best place to start, but arguably very difficult since you need to break things down into their most fundamental.
Example: To lose weight I need to burn calories. By maximally burning calories every day I’ll lose weight the fastest.
2. Inversion Theory
If you were to completely fail, what would you do? In the weight loss example ask yourself the opposite. What would I have to do to gain a ton of weight? Things such as eating unhealthy, never exercising, hanging around those that have a horrible relationship with food. You can quickly come up with things to reduce as well as reverse. So: Exercising regularly, hanging around those who have your ideal healthcare lifestyle, eating healthily. Those all help.
3. One Thing Thinking
If you haven’t read the book One Thing by Gary Keller you should definitely check it out. It clearly helps you focus. “What’s the one thing I can do so that it makes everything else easier or unnecessary?”. This is one of the best questions you can ask yourself and answering it will quickly get you to your goal faster especially the “unnecessary” part. Example: For losing weight diet actually plays a much more critical role than we think. If we simply preplan all our meals everyday doing everything else becomes secondary.
4. 10X Faster Thinking
After you write out your goal ask yourself: If I had 1/10th the time how could I get the same result? Example (although super unhealthy). Is it possible to lose 30 pounds in 9 days vs. 90? Can I reach my goal in 45 days if not 9? With food it’s obviously super dangerous to lose too much weight too fast, but the underlying principle of speeding everything up can be very beneficial. It’s not just about accomplishing your goal 10x faster either and losing weight fast. It’s also about analyzing each part of your process and thinking about how to speed it up all the small things as well.
Example: If you layout all of your exercise clothes in one part of your closet every week it can make choosing an outfit the night before much easier and faster. Simplicity helps you not only get to your goal faster, but also speeds up execution, which in turn speeds up results. Not just your big objective can be done faster, also the sub goals and individual tasks.
As you know nothing in this world is “perfect” so as long as you’re keeping track of metrics and have the right mindset you can continuously improve them.