Nobody is smarter than everybody.

Collective intelligence

Groupthink can be harmful, but collective intelligence can bring out the best in this world.

With the incredible amount of data now available at our fingertips, hoarding knowledge no longer holds much power. Being knowledgeable is has lost its association with being smart. In fact, if you’re not freely sharing your knowledge, it can be seen as holding society back.

There’s a great appreciation for diverse views that we can only get when people individually share their opinions. Collective intelligence comes from the consensus of these individuals, but consensus is not necessarily a majority vote, it’s about finding the best feasible solution.

The key here is to ensure that each person’s diverse view is taken into account. It can be inspired by, and build off other ideas, but must stay individual and unique.

Collective intelligence can be incredibly beneficial, but we need to be wary of its antithesis, groupthink, where a few people influence a group in such a way that instead of getting differing perspectives, we get irrational decision-making. Groupthink is often characterized by one big ego backed by the energy of many sheepish followers. Collective intelligence, on the other hand, benefits from a network of perspectives, and is known for solving the world’s biggest issues, such as eliminating disease.

Take action: Wikipedia is an excellent example of collective intelligence, but it can work on a small scale as well. Next time you need a second opinion, try getting a third, fourth or fifth opinion from people who will have different perspectives. Then make your decision based on the consensus, that is, the best workable solution for your situation.

:: Influenced by Rod Collins’ book, Wiki Management: A Revolutionary New Model for a Rapidly Changing and Collaborative World.

 


 

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Take proper care of the goose, to get the golden eggs.

For productivity, take care of the goose to get the golden egg

Aesop’s fable is a good lesson for us. In it, a farmer has a goose that lays a golden egg each day. Over time the farmer grows rich from selling the eggs, but also becomes greedy and impatient. He decides to kill the goose and cut it open, to get to the eggs faster. Of course in doing so, he loses both the goose and the future eggs.

It’s common for us to grow greedy and impatient with our own metaphorical geese – ourselves as well as our relationships.

For example, we may go through a sprint of high production and start to expect that we can maintain that pace, without taking care of what enables us to achieve. Or, it’s not unusual for marriages to start off strong. Then gradually, as we neglect our spouse’s needs, we wonder where all the loveliness went. Perhaps we can’t understand why our child doesn’t listen to us, but we haven’t put in the effort to understand her/him over the years.

The opposite can also be a problem. If we excessively pamper ourselves, or continually put other people’s wants ahead of our own needs, there will be laziness, disharmony, or disrespect, and no golden eggs being produced.

We need a balance of both, taking care of the goose and making sure the eggs are being laid.

Take action: Are you getting what you feel you should be getting from yourself, your family, and/or people you work with? Consider if you’re taking the time to balance and nurture yourself and your relationships properly. Are you achieving your personal goals? Is your child disobedient, or your spouse ignoring you, or do your co-workers seem lazy? Instead of thinking the world is against you, take a look at your input into your goals and your relationships.

:: Inspired by Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change.

 


 

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30% more productive

Quick video: Cut 2 things to be 30% more productive.

I love this productivity hack so much, I made a video to explain it. I’ve been doing it and cannot believe how much I’ve accomplished… 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA7NzFT-yQU

 

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Are you actually, really, truly open to learning?

Education is all around us, always.

Education is all around us, always. The most successful people seek out knowledge continuously, because they are humble enough to know they don’t know it all.

Many of us have a fear of exposing what we don’t know, wanting to appear smart. But asking questions, being curious, and digging into someone else’s perspective, is how we gain personal and specific knowledge. It’s how we go beyond what we can look up on Google.

Michael Jordan, for example, may seem far from humble on the outside, but he’s been known to say that his greatest skill is being teachable. His greatness comes from listening to what people tell him, taking what he learns and putting it into action.

Another extremely successful person, Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, was constantly scoping out his competitors to find out if they knew something he didn’t. Instead of thinking he knew the best approach already, he learned as much as he could and then experimented with it.

This openness sounds easy enough, but when someone less experienced than us gives us instruction, do we get defensive? How about someone with different political or religious views? We can only truly argue for our own beliefs when we fully understand the opposing view.

However, it’s also important to learn from the right people, figure out who has been successful by putting their knowledge into action, and be a sponge with them. Be careful of those that just talk without experience.

Take action: What’s your learning score? Out of 10, how much effort do you put into learning from books? And, spend time with mentors? Learn from your competitors? Attend seminars? How much money do you put into learning? Feel free to add other approaches. The average of these ratings is your learning score. Can you improve it in the next 3 months?

:: Inspired by Tai Lopez’s 67 Steps. (Yes, he’s that annoying guy with the Lambo’s, but like this tip says, if we stay open, we can learn a great deal.)

 


 

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Gratitude is extremely powerful.

Gratitude is extremely powerful.

It’s common to overlook the importance of a heartfelt “thank you.” Even though we like being on the receiving end of gratitude, we often forget how important it is to give it to others. This tip is not only a reminder to give thanks to people around us, but to also take daily moments to appreciate ourselves, and our accomplishments so far.

Ever have trouble falling asleep at night because you’re focused on how things could be better? Bedtime is a great moment to switch our thinking to gratitude for something we achieved that day, even if it’s a small thing. These thankful thoughts will calm our minds and put us in a pleasant state, while setting up our subconscious to move towards positivity.

One caveat, this attitude should not imply that we should lower our standards and just be thankful for what we have. Gratitude is not about settling for less than we’re capable of. In fact, acknowledging things we’ve done well can actually get the ball rolling to do more things well.

Some great things to reflect on are: small accomplishments you’ve performed through the day; or a good state of mind you achieved during a less than ideal situation; a connection you made with another person that helps grow your relationship; or something you learned or realized that will enhance your life.

Gratitude can make a very significant change in our life. It helps us focus on the good stuff. If we have a positive state of mind, we have a better ability to make solid decisions, which lead to beneficial outcomes, and then make it easier to focus on the good stuff again. It’s like an upward spiral.

Take action: Having a gratitude jar is a great way to remind yourself of what to be thankful for. Step 1: Reflect on a moment, and pull out something about it that you are thankful for. It doesn’t have to be a good moment, in fact a good challenge is to pull gratitude from a difficult situation. Step 2: Write the appreciation on a piece of paper and pop it in a jar. Repeat this regularly and review the contents of the jar frequently. And don’t forget to express this gratitude to others involved.

:: Inspired by Kristin Wong’s Lifehacker article, Why Gratitude Makes You a Happier Person.

 


 

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To be truly great at something, we need grit.

Elite tennis player who have grit: Basic (left) vs Djokovic

Grit, or perseverance, is not the only factor for greatness in one area, but success doesn’t “just” happen. We have to make it happen, one small step at a time, with years of dedication.

We may compare ourselves and think that others are just naturally talented, or were given numerous good breaks, or were born super smart. We don’t see the effort they’ve put in, the failures they’ve learned from, and the insecurities they’ve endured on their road to greatness.

If we decide we want that level of success, how do we know what to be gritty about? Psychologist Angela Duckworth says we should look at an intersection of three things

  1. Our interests. Generally, what we liked to do when we were about 12-13 years old, when we were gaining our own way of thinking.
  2. We need to have purpose. What we do needs to be meaningful for us to stick with it.
  3. Reality. Not everything we want to do has opportunity, and persevering in the wrong area can be gut wrenching.

Even when we have these three elements, grit still does not supply a direct line to greatness, nor offer any guarantees. But, we can only get there if we keep taking steps toward it. If we do find a passion that has meaning and is realistic, it may be worth persevering.

Take action: If you find the thing you want to be great at, consider what level of greatness will fit the lifestyle you want. That will give you a better idea of how much grit you’ll need. That is, how many hours per day and for how many years.

:: Inspired by Angela Duckworth’s Talks at Google, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

 


 

Receive weekly mindset strategies to your inbox, and get the useful nuggets of wisdom from 3 top productivity books. Save tons of reading time while creating a smarter, more meaningful life.

 

 

 

Control our thoughts by designing what we think.

Design our thoughts.

We’re the only one who can truly control our thoughts so it makes sense to put some planning into how we want to think.

Want to think more positively? Or maybe be more present in the moment? Or how about a stronger appreciation for what we have? It’s important to first know what we want our thoughts to be and why, then we’ll have a goal to focus on.

Next, make a plan for how we’ll achieve it. For some, meditation will work. For others it will be a matter of consciously checking in with our thoughts at scheduled times of the day, or a small reward for when we find ourselves thinking in line with our goal.

We may need someone close to us to help monitor our actions, body language and words, since those things are telling signs of what’s happening in our mind.

Who we are, stems from our thoughts – our thoughts lead to actions, which can form habits, and evolve into who we become – so it’s more than worthwhile to put some effort into designing what we think.

Take action: At various times through today, note what kind of personal thoughts you have, write them down and before you go to sleep, review what thoughts you like, and those you want to change. Then figure out what you want to change them to, and why.

:: This SmartLife tip is inspired by Carrie Green’s TEDx Talk: Programming Your Mind for Success.

 


 

Receive weekly mindset strategies to your inbox, and get the useful nuggets of wisdom from 3 top productivity books. Save tons of reading time while creating a smarter, more meaningful life.

 

 

 

Make online interactions more meaningful.

The internet: Time water or tool for good?

We live in a time where we can connect with millions of people and make a positive impact. Yet, many of us spend a great deal of our online moments watching cat videos or judging other people’s lives. We can do better.

Since the internet never forgets, there’s a lot of pressure to be exceptional when we post a meaningful comment, story, or video. This fear of judgement can stop us from starting. But, if we never start, we’ll never become good at it, and we’ll deny people of the impact we could make in their lives.

We all have meaningful thoughts that we can contribute to the world. Sure, at first our ideas may not get the same number of likes as cat videos. There’s no need to compete for likes. Even if no one reads our post, it still starts our habit of sharing meaningful thoughts.

Let go of the desire to be perfect and the fear of judgement. If we can say interesting things, as we all do many times a day, then we can post interesting things. Our thoughts are fascinating, and we can learn to recognize their contributions the more we write and share them. If we do it for ourselves, we’ll get better at it. Then others will eventually follow and be impacted by what we share.

What is meaningful for us, will resonate with someone else, and can help people struggling in similar situations. Cat videos are fun, but it’s time to also contribute more meaning.

Take action: If you’re worried about being judged for your ideas, you can start a blog or social account under an alias until you’ve crafted your contributory skills. Don’t let fear stop you from sharing meaningful thoughts. Your ideas can make a positive impact.

:: Inspired by Marie Forleo’s interview with Seth Godin. MarieForleo.com

 


 

Receive weekly mindset strategies to your inbox, and get the useful nuggets of wisdom from 3 top productivity books. Save tons of reading time while creating a smarter, more meaningful life.

 

 

 

Less mess means less stress.

Less mess means less stress

When we enjoy something, it’s often our tendency to want to own a piece of it. It could be a souvenir from a vacation, some sports gear from something we tried once, or even comic books that have been collected over years. Or maybe we got drawn in to a great sale, for something we don’t use.

Material possessions don’t satisfy us. After a short time the appeal wears off and instead of stuff giving us a full life, it actually eats away at our freedom. It weighs us down and can cause anxiety over the organization, maintenance, and storage of it.

An over abundance of possessions can distract us from doing what we really care about. If we’ve ever had to clean out the garage, attic, basement, storage locker or pack/unpack a move, we’ve probably felt like stuff is an anchor, keeping us from spending time doing more important things.

There are great benefits to consuming less: our money goes further; it allows for more space in our homes; and it frees us to be able to pick up and go with fewer worries. Plus, it’s calming to be in a clear space.

The thought of going minimal can be hard, but it’s not restrictive. It allows for greater choice. For example, we can purchase fewer, but better quality items. If we rent something instead of buy it, we don’t need to worry about maintenance. Without an anchor of payments, we can be more selective in our careers. Ultimately, owning less gives us more time, energy, money, options, and choice.

Take action: Get rid of 100 things. Here’s a tougher challenge, let a loved one choose 5 of your items to let go. Try selling expensive items, find charities that can use the practical stuff, and toss or recycle the junk.

:: Inspired by Joshua Becker’s book, The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own

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How to rewrite our self sabotaging stories.

“I can’t…, I could never…, I always…, I suck at…” are words that are pretty common and start the sentences that become our limiting beliefs. We have these thoughts, then say these words, and end up avoiding experiences that could enhance our lives. These excuses enable us to stay in our safe cocoons where we feel comfortable.

Even though we may want more in life, we avoid vulnerability by internalizing personal characteristics that we’ve either made up, or that have been told to us. And worse, we sometimes don’t realize that we are holding ourselves back. We’re our own worst enemy. In fact, we may even enjoy the attention that comes with receiving sympathy, or playing the victim.

For example, have you heard a single friend say “All the good men/women are taken,” and given them sympathy? Or have you said it yourself? Or how about, “I can’t quit my job, I have a family to support.” Heard this one: “You’re so lucky you’re good public speaking, wish I was.” If not one of those, we’re likely guilty of claiming other falsehoods that protect us from self awareness.

But here’s some inspiration: singer Ray Charles grew up broke, blind and a minority, yet gained great success regardless. He didn’t limit himself with sabotaging stories, and we can let go of our own limiting beliefs too.

Pay attention to your false stories, rethink them, and find opportunities to develop in that area. If you’ve grown up with these stories, then it won’t be easy. Start by eliminating the phrases at the start of this tip and replacing them with “I can figure it out,” “I’ll learn to be better at…,” or use the word “yet,” implying future growth, such as, “I’m not good at this skill, yet.”

Take action: Self awareness can be difficult, but definitely achievable. Here are some questions to help: What is a skill you’re not good at yet? Do you have a phobia? What success have you not achieved yet? Do you think you’re too old/young for something? Now figure out why, what stories do you tell yourself that limits you. Rewrite those stories to a belief that you can achieve greatness, and find opportunities to practice.

:: Inspired by Jen Sincero’s book, You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.

Want to save tons of reading time? Get the useful nuggets of wisdom from 3 top productivity books. And receive weekly mindset tips to create a smarter life, in a shorter amount of time.

 

Getting the most from a team.

Taking team lessons from the field.
Taking team lessons from the field.

We have different goals for different teams, at different times. This tip is for getting a high level of productivity from a team we are leading. Maybe, a group at work trying to hit defined targets, or in a community trying to achieve a certain level of excellence, or even a family team working together towards a specific achievement.

 

In most teams there will be high performers who we rely on to make things happen, the middle level contributors, and low performers who are not achieving their potential.

When working towards a specific team goal, our tendency is often to focus on the low performers and try to increase their contributions, as in the saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Unfortunately, the squeaky wheels suck up our time and energy, and bring the rest of the team down. In many workplaces, systems are set up for these low performers. These lesser producers are often given extra support in the form of training, more of our time, and a minor workload. The given support is great, unless it’s at the expense of the rest of the team. The problem is, it often results in providing fewer resources to the high performers.

Our key people are usually the ones that complete tasks successfully without a lot of attention, so we tend to ignore them and just let them do their thing. However, it’s these people that we should be focusing on if we want the team to be more productive. The top-notch workers need to feel appreciated, valued, and respected, even though they don’t ask for accolades. They still need appropriate guidance to grow.

If we redistribute some of our top performers’ less challenging tasks, they won’t relax, they’ll fill the gap with whatever needs to get done next.

Instead of trying to fix the low performers, we should be putting our resources into the superstars. There will likely be complaints from those just coasting along, but the team will reach targets and goals. If we put our energy into the low performers, our team will underachieve, and there will still be complaints.

Take action: What should you do with a low performer? Everyone has a place and fit and often people who are dragging themselves, do so because they haven’t found how they excel and what they really enjoy. While redistributing tasks from the high performers, try to find something that will be a better fit for someone else.

:: Inspired by Ron Clark’s book, Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life.

Want to save tons of reading time? Get the useful nuggets of wisdom from 3 top productivity books. And receive weekly mindset tips to create a smarter life, in a shorter amount of time.

 

 

 


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30% more productive

Quick video: Cut 2 things to be 30% more productive.

I love this productivity hack so much, I made a video to explain it. I’ve doing it and cannot believe how much I’ve accomplished… 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA7NzFT-yQU

 

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