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Brian Tracy! Positive thinking awakens potential! Thinking Flexibility vs. Thinking Rigid

7. Thinking Flexibility vs. Thinking Rigid

Those who want to climb

to the top of their careers must understand the power of habit.

He must urgently give up potentially harmful habits,

and quickly practice the things that once become habits

will help him achieve the success he desires.- J.PAUL GETTY

In an age of chaos and rapid change,

the ability to think flexibly,

consider all aspects of a situation

and then respond effectively to change,

can have a huge impact on business and your career.

In 1952, Albert Einstein taught at Princeton University.

One day, he was returning to his office with his teaching assistant,

who was holding a test book

that Einstein had given him

for an advanced physics class.

The teaching assistant,

somewhat hesitantly,

asked Dr. Einstein,

“Excuse my question,

but isn’t this the same exam you gave this physics class last year?”

Dr. Einstein replied,

“Yes, that was last year’s test.”

The tutor asked again,

even more hesitantly than before,

“But why do you assign those students

to take the same exam two years in a row?”

Einstein simply replied,

“Because the answer has changed.”

At that time,

in the physical world,

people were constantly making new advances,

new theories,

new discoveries all over the world.

Because of the emergence of new ideas

and breakthroughs in this field,

the answers that are correct this year will not be correct next year.

***************

Your answer has changed

So is your situation.

In so many areas of your life,

your answer has already changed.

What was reasonable and correct 1 year ago,

is now partially obsolete,

or completely no longer applicable.

Ideas that you hatched a year or two ago,

even a month ago,

no longer work

or have nothing to do with the current market turmoil.

In technology,

for example,

they say a product is obsolete

as soon as it hits the shelf.

As soon as it hits the market,

that product is gradually being replaced

by the company that developed it

or its competitors.

The time technology products stay on the shelves

is getting shorter and shorter.

The same goes for information

and competition.

Their rate of change is breathtaking.

**************

The most important quality

In 1995, the Menninger Institute in New York conducted a study

to identify the most important quality(s)

that are integral to business success in the twenty-first century.

Ultimately, the study concluded that the most important quality

for success was “flexibility.”

It will be the ability to react

and respond quickly

to the rapid pace of change in all areas.

Developing this flexible attitude,

accepting that “the answers have changed,”

gives an individual

or organization a huge advantage over more rigid

and less flexible competitors.

****************

Change is happening faster and faster

We live in the fastest,

most disruptive,

and most tumultuous time of change in human history,

not to mention tomorrow,

next week,

and next year.

In the mid-twentieth century,

it was common for a person to graduate from school,

join a company,

start a job,

and stick with it for life.

Today, up to 40% of adults are seasonal workers,

freelancers,

doing one job after another during their employment

as freelance contractors.

Many of them will never work for a company,

let alone seasonal.

*****************

Two million jobs disappeared

Every year in the US alone,

an average of 2 million jobs disappear.

The products and services

that companies are providing are no longer tailored

to the changing tastes of customers,

and the skills needed to produce those products

and services are no longer being used.

This is a major problem in employment today,

and it will only escalate in the coming years and months.

Fortunately, on average in the US,

more than 2.2 million jobs are created each year.

Up to 80% of new jobs are from new companies,

providing new products

and services to different customers in different markets.

Because of such a rapid pace of change,

many industries

and most companies today are operating on the basis

of business models that are no longer effective,

or not as effective as before,

for generating business flows stable revenue and profit.

**************

Your business model

A business model is defined as the complete,

end-to-end system from which a company produces

and sells a product/service

and makes a profit.

There are at least 55 different business models a company can use.

If you try to get results with the wrong business model

for your current market,

sales and profits will likely drop,

or even collapse.

In 2007, when Apple released the iPhone,

BlackBerry’s senior executives laughed at the iPhone as a toy

and thought it only appealed to young people

who wanted to communicate with friends.

Within 5 years, market share

BlackBerry’s share of phone companies fell from 49% to 0.4%,

and the company almost went bankrupt.

************

Outdated quickly

With the advent of the iPad,

and readers being able to download e-books quickly

and cheaply,

the entire book market has changed.

Within a year,

Borders,

one of the world’s largest book retailers,

went bankrupt and closed 600 stores.

This phenomenon is happening to companies in almost every industry.

Because they are unable to adapt their business models

to new market conditions

due to the explosion of information,

technology and competition,

established companies quickly

disappear into the pages of business history.

Your personal business model,

the way you organize your life and career,

may also be partially

or completely obsolete.

And if it’s not obsolete today,

it will surely become unusable at some point in the future.

Business gets into trouble

when customer tastes and needs change.

Workers have problems in their careers as employers’ requirements,

in terms of talent,

skills,

and expertise,

also change.

To survive and thrive in this age,

you must go beyond,

as an individual or an organization,

the changes taking place around you.

******************

80/20 rule and income

Nowadays a lot of the skills that people have are obsolete,

being replaced by people with better

and more relevant skills,

skills that are more popular.

Gary Becker, a Nobel laureate economist,

spoke in the Wall Street Journal about a study

they did on income growth.

Research by Becker at the University of Chicago shows

that the average income of 80% of the population increases about 3% per year,

just at or slightly above inflation.

However, the incomes of the richest 20% increase by an average of 11% per year,

allowing them to double their income every 6 or 7 years

and move into the upper middle class

or even the affluent class over the course of time in their workflow.

What is the key difference between 20% and 80%?

It is a commitment to constantly learning and improving skills.

Those in the richest 20% buy all the books,

attend all the courses,

listen to all the radio programs,

and are constantly looking for ways to work more efficiently,

cheaper,

and faster.

************

Outdated surprise skill

Those in the remaining 80% are the complete opposite.

They rarely read a book,

attend a course,

do anything to improve their skills.

They spend their free time on stress-relieving activities,

not on goals.

So they fall further and further behind,

often without realizing it.

It is not until they lose their jobs

that they realize that the skills they have,

which are largely based on experience,

are not valued by current employers.

And because they don’t work hard to learn

and develop skills,

they just go home and watch TV.

As a result,

they are often unemployed for months and even years.

Many people today,

of all incomes and professions,

are unaware of the urgent need to continuously upgrade their skills.

But as Pat Riley,

the basketball coach,

once said,

“If you’re not improving,

you’re falling behind.”

****************

The race is on

No one stays in place for too long.

If you don’t work hard to improve your knowledge and skills,

you won’t be able to stand.

In fact, you are falling further and further behind,

while those who are eager

to learn are getting further and further ahead.

Nowadays most people are following the path,

and the only difference

between the path

and the grave is the depth.

As speaker Jim Rohn once said,

“If you’re following a rut,

I hope a wheel will come to push you out.”

**************

Three Enemies

We must fight the three enemies of change and flexibility.

The first and worst enemy is the “safe zone”.

People start doing something

and quickly become settled.

They then oppose any change,

even if positive change requires them

to do something new and different.

Instead of learning, growing,

and expanding their potential,

they are stubborn,

justify their own reluctance to change,

and often sabotage other people’s efforts to change.

In the book Leaders by Warren Bennis,

he describes people who excel in his research who resist the attraction

of comfort zones by setting ever larger and larger goals

for themselves

and for themselves organizations,

goals would not be possible

without major changes and improvements.

In Peter Diamandis’ 2015 book,

Bold (rough translation: Courage),

he urges those who break the mold and those

who move mountains to fill in the mountains,

in the coming years to set tenfold goals,

or 100 times current sales,

earnings, and profits.

Such a grand goal,

which can be overwhelming at first,

will soon spur open-mindedness and new ideas

to “go where no one has been” (from the movie Star Trek).

***************

Fear holds everyone back

The second major obstacle to flexibility,

to challenge and question the status quo,

are fears,

but especially the fear of failure.

***************

“What if we try new things and it doesn’t work out?”

According to the October 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review,

the major obstacles to business model innovation are fear and uncertainty.

80% of business executives place the importance

of business model innovation ahead

of the development of new products and services.

But they don’t know how,

so they procrastinate

and hope that the next generation of leaders will make the changes necessary

to survive and thrive.

************

Feeling unchangeable

The third reason people fear

and refuse to change is “training despair.”

Responsible people know that change is necessary,

but they feel powerless,

accustomed to the intricacies of the current situation,

and unable to change.

Training-induced despair is expressed in the words “I can’t” or “We can’t.”

What follows is a flurry of excuses like not enough time,

not enough money,

no talent, and explanations

for why change cannot be,

including lots of external pressures and internal limitations.

But in the words of Winston Churchill,

“If you don’t fight when there is a chance to win,

you will soon have to fight

when there is no chance at all.”

The principle is to change when you can,

not when you have to

or have no other choice.

They should have told the management of Blockbuster,

the company that dominated the video rental market.

When Netflix appeared,

Blockbuster people laughed,

saying it was just a small company

that could never challenge Blockbuster’s dominant position

in the national market.

But customer tastes have changed,

and within a few years,

Netflix has become the largest provider of movies,

both by mail and online,

and Blockbuster is bankrupt.

****************

Open mind

There are many powerful

and practical thinking tools that you can use to unleash your creativity,

expand your thinking,

and get yourself out of your comfort zone.

The all-round champion tool that helps you change your perspective

and increase your level of flexibility is “mind zero (zero)”.

Foundational thinking is not derived from foundational accounting no.

In zero-based accounting,

you weigh every expense

before each accounting cycle.

You are not questioning whether to increase

or decrease spending on a particular item,

but whether to spend on that item.

In fundamental thinking,

do you ask the straightforward question:

“If we knew this was the case,

would we choose to start doing this?”

******************

Do the KWINK analysis

Apply KWINK (Knowing What I Now Know) analysis

to every aspect of your business and personal life.

Is there something you would choose not to get involved with,

if you were to start over?

How do you know if you’re dealing with a fundamental thinking situation?

Simple – the answer is stress!

If there is something in your life that you don’t want to experience again,

you will constantly experience stress,

anxiety,

frustration,

disappointment,

and dissatisfaction in that area or with someone.

This negative situation often interferes

with your conversations,

distracts you throughout the day,

and makes it impossible to get a good night’s sleep.

**************

Start with relationships

In the no-fundamental mindset,

start with all of your relationships.

Is there anyone in your business

or personal life that,

if you were to start over,

you wouldn’t associate with?

Is there anyone in the company that you wouldn’t hire,

assign,

appoint, promote,

or even be at the company today,

if you knew what you know?

If there’s someone you won’t get involved with again,

the only question is,

“How do you end this,

and how long?”

Can you guess how many

of your decisions will go wrong when the time comes?

According to the American Management Association,

up to 70% of decisions made at work,

and possibly in personal life,

turn out to be mistakes in the end.

Those decisions can be a little bit wrong,

very wrong,

or completely wrong.

To develop flexibility,

to perform at your best,

you must be prepared to make three statements from senior leaders.

*****************

Admit that you’re not perfect

“I’m wrong.”

Take a look at yourself where you are,

especially in areas that cause you stress,

dissatisfaction,

or suffering,

and be ready to admit that you were wrong.

When you make a decision

or get into a situation,

it seems to be the right thing to do.

Based on the information you had at the time,

it was quite reasonable.

But “the answer has changed”.

You have discovered things that you did not know,

the situation and the requirements that arise have also changed.

Decisions that once seemed right turn out to be wrong.

As soon as you admit you were wrong

and start working on fixing the situation,

your stress will melt away.

Sometimes people think that admitting a mistake is revealing a flaw.

They think other people won’t respect them if they admit

that the decisions they’ve made

and protect them defending in the past is a mistake.

But it’s the complete opposite.

In an age of chaos and rapid change,

having the courage to admit you’re wrong,

when everyone around you has already seen your mistake,

in fact makes them even more impressed

and ready to listen to you.

******************

Future.

On the other hand,

no one is weaker and more foolish than someone

who is clearly wrong but refuses to admit it.

There is an interesting point here.

Once you identify a situation that you won’t be in again,

if you know this,

it’s too late to save the situation,

or a person.

It’s over.

The only question now is,

how much time,

money,

and pain will it take you to go

through before admitting your mistake

and doing anything to fix the situation?

*****************

Admit you made a mistake

“I made a mistake.”

Because of their self-esteem,

many people find it difficult to admit they’ve made a mistake,

even though they’ve clearly made it,

and everyone around them knows it.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Because you will be wrong and

make mistakes 70% of the time,

don’t wait for anyone to find out.

Instead, go ahead and immediately admit,

“I was wrong.

I made a mistake.”

Then fix the situation as quickly as possible.

******************

Change your mind

“I think again.”

Again, changing your mind

when new information is available shows courage,

character,

and flexibility,

not weakness.

Whether you’ve spent 18 months developing a new business

or product strategy,

if you glean new information

that contradicts your final conclusion,

be prepared to change your mind,

give up the battle outdated strategies to do things that are new,

different,

and more relevant to the current situation.

The more willing you are to say the words,

“I was wrong,

I made a mistake,

I think again,”

the better ideas you will come up with

and the more respect you will gain from the people around you.

**********************

Re-evaluate your business and career

The second area where you must apply fundamental thinking

is not every aspect of your business and career,

including,

and especially,

your business model.

Is there a product/service that if you knew it would be like this,

you wouldn’t have brought it to market?

Is there a process,

method,

or expense in your business that if you knew it was going to be like this,

you wouldn’t have used it?

Is there anything in your current strategy

that if you knew it would be like this,

you wouldn’t have started?

Is there a part of your career,

the work you are doing,

the activities you are doing,

if you knew it would be like this,

would you be involved?

Remember,

it is common for people to have different jobs,

in different companies and industries,

using different skills,

throughout their lives.

As the economy shifts,

many people decide to start a new field

and learn a whole new skill set.

Does this apply to you?

If the answer is yes, the next question is,

“How did you get out of this situation

or give it up,

and for how long?”

***************

Investment Reviews

The third area that uses fundamental thinking is not investments,

especially investments in time,

money,

and emotions.

In the accounting industry,

there is an item called “sunk costs”.

This is money one go no return.

This amount cannot be recovered.

Like throwing an anvil

from a ship in the middle of the ocean;

you can never get it back.

It’s gone.

This is called a “sunk cost”.

1 A block of iron or steel used

as a permanent forging platform on which metal

is placed and struck with a hammer.

It is surprising how many businesses

and individuals are confused in this area.

They are constantly trying to recover sunk costs.

This is called “water to pour potato leaves”

or “throwing money through the window”.

A one-way investment doesn’t come back

Refusing to accept the truth about sunk costs

is especially true when it comes to time.

Is there an area of your life

where you invest a large amount of time in a project,

service, person,

or even developing a skill that is no longer useful or necessary?

Be prepared to admit that a past investment

of time has now become a “sunk cost”.

Please accept.

Let’s step forward.

And don’t invest any more time in areas that,

deep down,

you know aren’t worth the time and effort.

The second area with sunk costs is investments.

Is there a financial investment that you would not have made

if you knew it was going to happen?

If so, the next question is,

“How do I give up this investment,

and for how long?”

It’s sad to see so many people

and companies putting money into areas that,

if given a choice,

they wouldn’t invest in.

****************

Imagine being able to start over today

The third area uses basic thinking that is not emotion.

According to psychologists,

people hate losing their time,

money,

or affection.

They often have a mental block on their losses,

refusing to acknowledge them

and trying to recover them in some way.

Throughout your life,

you will invest a great deal of affection in other people,

projects and situations

You will put your whole heart into pushing a situation

or a relationship forward.

But in the end,

you’ll have to admit that you didn’t succeed.

Your emotional investment is gone.

It will never come back.

Cannot be retrieved or revoked.

It is a sunk cost.

It takes great courage to face the fact that a situation

or relationship has broken down

and admit that you were wrong,

that you made a mistake,

and that you changed your mind.

But the more often you apply the zero-fundamental thinking,

the more flexible you become.

***********************

Great reward

The good news:

When you finally have the courage

to put an end to a fundamental thinking situation,

you’ll have the same reaction

as people around the world.

At first, you will feel extremely relieved,

even happy and free.

You will feel as if a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

Second,

you’ll ask yourself,

“Why didn’t I do this a long time ago?”

The thinking skills of fundamental thinking aren’t all

that important if you want

to realize your full potential in work and life.

And the more you practice,

the better you do.

Before long,

you’ll be able to say,

“If I had to choose again,

I still wouldn’t want to change

or get out of any situation in my life.”

******************

Seven Steps of High Thinking

The key is to always be prepared that no matter what you’re doing,

you can be completely wrong.

There can be a completely different

and better way to do most things,

and there has always been one.

Sometimes the simplest ideas can shake your mind

and make you look at a situation in a completely different way.

********************

Here are seven tools you can use

to increase mental flexibility and alertness:

1. Rethink:

This requires you to stop,

rest your hands,

and stand back to look at the situation objectively.

Ask yourself three questions:

• What am I trying to do?

• How am I trying to do that?

• Could there be a better way?

Whenever you feel frustrated

or don’t want to work on your goals,

step back and ask yourself these three questions.

Often you will realize that what you are doing is not the right thing,

or that it is not as important as it once was.

You may find that the way you’re doing it won’t work.

And when you wonder if there’s a better way,

you’ll burst into endless possibilities,

because there’s almost always a better way.

********************

2. Re-evaluate:

Apply grounding thinking,

and consider completely different possibilities for doing the job.

Anytime you’re unhappy with the way a situation is going,

ask yourself,

“If I weren’t in this situation right now,

knowing what it would be like,

would I be involved?”

If the answer is no,

how do you get rid of it,

and how long does it take?

********************

3. Reorganization:

Look for ways to improve operational efficiency

by shifting people and resources,

and by implementing other ways.

• Right now,

what are your most important goals at work?

Have they changed?

• Who are the most important,

valuable and productive people?

• How can you reorganize your work,

focusing your best and most productive people on your most important goals

and greatest opportunities?

********************
4. Reengineering:

This means putting human

and material resources into 20% of the activities

that determine 80% of your results.

• What is 20% of the results

that determine 80% of your business’s income and profits?

• What are the 20% most important activities

that determine 80% of your final results?

• Who are the most important 20% of the people

that bring about 80% of the final results?

In business,

generating revenue should be your primary concern.

Put the best people in the areas

where they have the greatest positive impact

on increasing revenue for your company.

********************

5. Restructuring:

Constantly looking for ways to simplify your work

and life by delegating,

outsourcing,

downsizing or eliminating certain activities.

• What activities/processes can you simplify and reorganize

to complete faster,

saving you money and time?

• What activities can you delegate to others

or hire specialized firms?

• What activities can you eliminate completely

without causing significant loss in productivity,

sales or profits?

Each time you ask yourself one of these questions,

you will spark your creativity

and get answers that you can use to reorganize your business

and achieve great results better,

faster

and cheaper.

********************

6. Regeneration:

Always imagine what you would do differently

if you were to start over today.

• Imagine starting your business or field again today.

What would you do differently?

• What more would you do?

• What would you do less of?

• What will you start doing that you are not currently doing?

• What will you stop doing?

Each time you ask yourself,

these questions will give you ideas and insight.

What will you do more,

less,

start or stop?

********************

7. Get the Take control:

This requires you to take concrete action

at work based on the answers to the six steps above.

• Regarding personal work,

what would you do immediately?

• In terms of personnel,

what will you do immediately?

• Regarding the business itself,

what would you do immediately?

In each case, imagine that you have no limits at all.

Imagine that you have all the money and time,

all the abilities and gifts,

all the friends and contacts,

and all the resources you need to do anything at work

or at home in private life.

Your main task is to understand clearly what is right,

the best to do,

and to give your full attention to the new course of action.

***************

Practical exercises

1. Consider your individual and company’s business model.

Ask yourself if there is a better way to generate revenue,

profit and personal income.

2. Apply KWINK analysis to all areas of your business and personal life.

“Knowing it would be like this,

if I had to start over,

would I choose to give up on anything?”

3. What should you do more,

less,

start or stop doing to get different and better results?

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