Tag Archives: Think

How and When To Criticize Correctly

It’s easy to give criticism. Watch a baseball game and you can even criticize a superstar star who hits two home runs because he struck out his other two times up. Look over a colleague’s shoulder for a day and you can tell him how to be better. Watch your kids closely and you’ll find ways to improve everything they do. But when you point out some of these failings, even if it’s “constructive criticism”, you will often find that you are just starting a fight, ending relations or creating ill will.

So the correct answer on when to give criticism is “Never”. If you still insist then follow these guidelines.

No one wants it

Let’s face it no one wants criticism. Even if they ask for feedback, the only feedback they want to hear is “great job”.  Think about it, would you like to get criticism on something you worked hard on?

Change your mindset, don’t criticize until you’ve evaluated the following steps.

No one is perfect

Realize that no one is perfect all the time. Sometimes just let it go.

Motive

Why are you criticizing? If you don’t have noble intentions it’s likely your advice will be resented. Even with noble intentions your advice may not leave a mark.

Will it help?

Evaluate whether your criticism will help. If you’re sure that it will be ignored (because you’ve said it in the past and it’s been ignored) then save your breath. You gain nothing and stand to lose positive feelings.

Will it be well received?

Sometimes giving advise may help the person improve but will it be well received? Maybe someone else is better of giving it. Try to involve the other person.

Offer a solution

Don’t just criticize. Of course we all know we shouldn’t make mistakes. Offer a fix to the problem.

Focus on one topic

Sometimes it’s difficult not to advise someone but if you’re not helping the best thing to do is to stay close until they give you the opening. If you get criticism,  read The Critical Success on how to deal with it. Realize it’s not always about you.

Getting Dreams Done Part 2: The SMART Way To Reach Your Dreams

Horizon of my LifeIn this series you will learn the steps needed to turn your dreams into reality. In the first part of this series we saw how to define your dreams. Dreams give you something to shoot for and strive for. In this part we’ll take dreams and turn them into goals. Without goals you wont know what needs to be done to achieve success.

SMART Goals
Let’s take the “standard” dream “I want to be rich and happy”. That’s actually touching two parts of your life (some would say one leads to another but that’s for a different post): financial and personal. We’ll take your financial goal first as that is easier to quantify. We need to turn rich into something we can quantify (not necessarily in terms of dollars but in terms of actions). Your gut reaction may be “I want a million dollars” (or even a billion if you’re “ambitious”) but is that really what you want? You probably want what that money can buy. I’m not talking about physical assets- a car, a boat, a house in Italy. I’m talking about a life style. When you take out the physical items what you really want is the independence, fun, excitement, prestige etc that goes with those objects. As you peel layers off your dream you find out what you really want. Then you can start defining your goals. Goals are the subset of results you want. In this case you may say: “I don’t necessarily need to be rich, but I want to be able to retire when I’m young and spend my time traveling- then life would be grand”. There’s a simple way to make the dream more realistic and aligned which what you can achieve. Let’s make the dream SMART- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely- then you’ll succeed.

Specific

Use the 6Ws (Who, what, where, when, why and which) and how to get as detailed as you can about what you really want. Here you will pick the lifestyle you want your dream to achieve. You may decide that retire doesn’t mean not working- what are you going to do if you don’t work? Retirement may mean working the hours you want at a job you want. You may decide you want to teach or freelance etc. Perhaps you’ll want to join the peace corp- you get to experience more of the world, fulfill your consious and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Measurable

What gets measured gets done.

How will you know when you reach your dream? I’m sure you’ve read about all these quotes from rich people. I just need a few more millions and I’m done. Then when they achieve it they keep trying until they work themselves into the grave. Usually this translates to a date and/or a number. What number is “young”? A 90 your old can consider himself young and a 26 year old can consider herself old. What age do you want to retire 30? 40? 50?

Achievable

Are you able to do this? Is it reasonable? Do you truly believe it can happen? Can you reach a billion dollars? You can’t assume that you’re salary will be increasing at 100% a year without some major changes.

Relevant

Is this something you can make an impact with? Is it important?

Timely

Give yourself a deadline. Nothing gets done without a deadline.

With a SMART goal you are more likely to know what to do to get it.

As far as your happiness goal. The more you succeed at achieving your dreams the happier we’ll be but I offer you this quote by Abraham Lincoln: “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

photo credit: krisdecurtis

How To Be A Winner and Thanks For Making Me One

As I mentioned, I recently entered a contest at ChangeThis– whose mission is to “spread important ideas and change minds“. My proposal “Stop Bring Productive, Start Being Successful” was selected to be voted on. The person with the most votes for their proposal gets their manifesto (long article) published. I was against 9 others with big ideas. Fortunately, with your help (Thank You) I won! The manifesto is coming soon. Here’s some of my take aways.

Think Like a Winner

Put your concerns aside and do your best. Confidence and determination are key. Think of a plan how to get success and do it.

Put Yourself in Position To Win

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”

Wayne Gretzky

If I had been intimidated by the other good ideas I wouldn’t have entered. As the lotto says- “you gotta be in it to win it” (not that I’m advocating playing the lotto). Take whatever cliche you want, the point is if you aren’t trying, you definitely wont win.

Look For Inspiration

By blog buddy Francis Wade of 2Time had entered a previous contest and won.

Ask for Help

You can’t win on your own. I asked Francis for some pointers. I asked my readers to vote. I asked my online buddies to vote. You all came through. Thanks.

Lessons for Leaders: New Projects

As you know I think it’s very important to “think“. Thinking can lead to ideas which can help your business succeed, lead to harmony at home or even change the world (E=MC2).

Once I came into my manager’s office and started my thoughts “I thought of a new project”. He cut me off and said “If you have time to think of new projects you don’t have enough work.” The last thing you want is for your boss to think you don’t have enough work. He’ll start doubting the validity of your effort and will overload you with more tasks. But I was undeterred.

I went on to explain “I thought of a new project for the intern.” I explained the project. It used the intern’s skills, required minimal training, would save a lot of time from a more senior member of the team and was strategic in nature. Basically, it was the perfect project for an intern, with a huge upside for our company. My boss agreed and the project worked out well.

The conversation left an impression on me and gave me a few lessons for my future:

  • Create an environment where people are free to give you new ideas.
  • Let people finish their thoughts.
  • Encourage thinking.

Would people come into your office with ideas? Do you allow your spouse or kids to give you ideas? Do you let people finish their thoughts? Do you take time to think?

Getting Dreams Done Part 1: Making Dreams Reality

What’s stopping you from achieving your dreams? For many people it’s simple, they haven’t verbalized their dreams. Without verbalization, dreams can’t happen. Others will fire back the usual dream, “I want to be rich and happy”. Having a dream is a step in the right direction but if you haven’t turned your dreams into actionable items and pursued it, that’s what it will remain- a dream but not reality. So how can you turn a dream into reality? There are 4 easy steps: verbalize the dream, set your goals, create a plan to turn that dream into reality and of course execute. In this part we will focus on verbalizing the dream.

Determining Your Dreams

One of the key points of the Success Making Machine (and how it enhances GTD) is that you are encouraged, dare I say required, to verbalize your dreams. In the dream phase you are picturing what success looks like. At this point, you can make them as unrealistic as you want or as generic as you want, even “I want to be rich and happy”. The more specific you are the more it will help you in the long run. One way to put some structure around your dreams is to verbalize dreams for each area of your life: career, financial, family, social, community, health etc .

Be Positive

When you are verbalizing your dreams- focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. For example, “I want to be rich” is more powerful than “I don’t want to be poor”.

Before you commit to a dream ask yourself if it’s really what you want. Picture your life with your dream achieved. You may find that it isn’t quite what you want. Growing up, many of us wanted to be sports/music or film stars. If you had the magic powers to have the talent for it would you still want it? Maybe you wanted the fun that went with being a baseball player but do you really want to play every single day for 10-20 years? Perhaps you may want it but do you want to keep up that rigorous travel schedule? How will this correspond with your goal of raising a family? So before you commit- think it through.

Buy into your dream

A dream should be something you truly want. Then set your energies to it. Your thoughts, beliefs and actions should be geared toward achieving this goal. You’ll need to believe this dream is possible. You don’t need to know all the details of how it will happen- just know that it will. As you continue to read through this series some of the next steps to success will crystallize. Some would call this the “Law of Attraction” (if you believe/act a certain way you will attract it). This site isn’t build on going into psychological tricks and unproven theories- it’s about logic and actions. Logic tells you if you believe something, invest yourself in it and your mind works toward achieving it, you will be more likely to succeed. You can call it karma- I’ll call it logic.

The Finale

Peter at I will change your life(which I recommend) has a well defined dream:

…to write a book that would help young people, or anyone really, find happiness and meaning in their life…

In the final part in this series I will outline how to use the lessons from this series to approach his dream.

What’s your dream?

Verbalize it and you’ll get closer to achieving it. Now that you’ve started to crystallize your dreams, in the next section we’ll talk about taking steps to achieve it. Subscribe to this feed to be notified when the next part of this series is posted.

The Best Productivity System For You Guaranteed

Everyone has their own way of doing what it takes to be successful. Is your system better than mine? Or is mine better than yours? Maybe David’s way is better than both of ours? The answer to all three of these questions is undoubtedly “Yes”.

For you, your way is better. For me, my way is better etc. Lets face it, we all do things differently. We do things different because we are in different situations. You may have a home office and need to set up barriers not to let work into your home life and I may have be overwhelmed with email and dealing with that burden is my primary goal.

No matter how well we do things our system is not perfect. This is why you’re reading and trying to get tips to improve yourself- to be more productive. I’m here to find common ground to see where we agree (or should agree)- there are certain fundamentals for success.

My goal on this site is to identify the fundamentals (roadmap and tools) to achieving success. Then you can choose how you want to implement it. You already perform many of the fundamentals yourself but we need to organize it so that we dont need to think about what’s next. Identifying a roadmap will give you a way to tackle any project. The tools will help you get there faster.

The key to any project is to start with basic building blocks: Think, Do, Enjoy. In short:

  • Think before you do something.
  • Do- Do it the best way you can.
  • Enjoy it- gives motivation and meaning to what needs to be done

There’s much more to each of those phases, but I’ve only introduced you to the basics, which you can already apply. The key is to start small- you can’t make a radical change overnight. Building your success machine will take time. You need to take on one task at a time execute it well and gradually take on more as you integrate this into your life. This process is called layering: you start with one success and build on it. Now you’ve just added a new tool to your success tool box (I’m sure you always had it but it never had a name). Next time you have a large project you’ll take the time to think first- how can I break this down into smaller parts. How can I get something done? Pretty soon you’ll be a pro at layering and your productivity will soar.

Should you use an outlook/palm combination or is it a gmail/remember the milk combination to track your to dos? That’s up to you. If i take you out of your comfort zone you wont listen to even the best system. The key to getting more productive and successful is taking it one step at a time.

The best system for you is the one that works for you. Look around here, read Getting Things Done, read other blogs take the best ideas and implement them in your life. Then you’re guaranteed to increase your chance for success.