Jim Rohn had a knack for creating short, thought-provoking quotes. One of his classics is “Success leaves clues.” How right he was.
It’s not rocket science. If you want to learn how to give a good presentation, study individuals like Steve Jobs and Tony Robbins. If you want to learn how to write an ad, study the work of Claude Hopkins or perhaps pick up a copy of The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman.
You can find clues to be successful in any field in any number of places. You just to keep your eyes posted and your ears open. I’ve found them in all the usual suspects; books, audio lectures, and Ted Talks. But I’ve come across some powerful ideas in TV shows, comic books and, of all places, cartoons.
However, it’s important keep in mind that it isn’t a one-size-fit-all sort of thing. Success comes in all shapes and sizes. What works for one person might not work for the next.
Still, you should always play the odds.
There are many people that just shoot blindly. Take it from me, it’s no fun. Early on, my own arrogance cost me many sleepless nights and at one point, my entire savings.
Successful people might not have all the answers, but they do have some.
One of the most common questions I get asked as a time management consultant is “What’s the best way I can increase my productivity?”
My answer is always the same, “It depends.”
For some people, organizing their calendar is the answer. I know one time-management program devoted to doing just that. For others, it’s learning to say no, because they overload their schedule leaving no space for emergencies which inevitably appear.
Let me share a short story with you.
Back in my school days I studied Spanish. Things started off ok, but when I got into Junior High, I really started to struggle. I fell behind my classmates and found myself lost in class. My parents had studied French in school and also failed miserably so I figured it was in my genes. The Shepherds simply weren’t cut out for languages.
Later I learned that wasn’t the case.
At age 19, I told my father I wanted to come to Japan. He thought I was crazy.
What happened surprised both of us – I actually learned Japanese, and it taught me a valuable lesson and one that has stuck with me.
Mastering a language requires hard work. It’s especially hard to learn Japanese if your mother tongue is English. The structure is completely the other way around, and it’s as much about wrapping your mind around a new culture as it is about learning new vocabulary.
However, the lesson I learned is this – experiment.
That’s what kids do when they are around two-years old. Most of them can’t really speak yet, so they just say whatever and see what happens. What works, they keep.
Ever seen a six-year-old kicking and screaming? It’s no mystery why. Chances are high that they’re the result of bad parenting. The kid did it once and their parents gave them what they wanted, so they kept doing it. That’s how we all learn.
It’s the same with time management. I developed the One-Bite Time Management system with this concept in mind. What works for one person, might not work for the next. It all depends on our character, our circumstances and our mindset.
I am constantly testing new ideas, always on the lookout for new and better ideas. When I take a new client, rather than telling them what to do, I find out as much about their personal situation as I can.
Step 1: Diagnose the problem
More often than not, people aren’t as productive as they could be due to the systems they have in place. That’s where I start – looking for the flaws in their system.
Step 2: Prescribe the solution.
I like to tackle the weakest links first. I want my clients to build momentum fast
One by one we implement a new idea, keeping those that worked and discarding those that don’t.
Experience has shown me that many people make the same mistakes, but the solution isn’t always the same.
That’s why you do what kids do; try and see.
Learning Japanese changed my life forever, because it taught me that all it takes to is the willingness to try new ideas. And if you want to speed up the learning process seek out mentors and teachers.
So whether you want to graduate cum laude, master negotiation techniques, boost productivity or become a master sales person, the process is the same – trial and error.
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