"If I was more effective, what would be I doing right now?"
"If I was more intelligent, how would I approach this problem?"
Sometimes I ask myself these questions, and oftentimes I get good answers.
"If I achieve everything I set out to achieve, what would I have done? How would I have done it? What would I have done right now at this moment?"
I like that last one. Very very useful sometimes.
Also, this one is a favorite of mine when talking to talented people who underestimate themselves -
Me: So, what's (xyz thing) in your field like?
Talented person: I don't know.
Me: Okay, but if you did know, what might it be?
Talented person: (very full and thorough answer)
I don't know exactly why that works. Do we suppress some of our potential? Maybe yes. Why? I don't know... to keep some in reserve for emergencies? To not set the bar too high? To not risk alienating people by performing too well? Fear of failure? Fear of success?
"If I was certain this was going to work, what would I be doing right now?"
Careful with that last one. It makes for a lack of contingency plans. But I've gotten some mileage out of that one too.
There are many different types of intelligence tests. They vary a lot from what most people think of, which is the simple IQ test. That has actually been pretty outdated for awhile now. What you're really talking about is positive psychology. It is a real thing, it really works. It's like playing an instrument. The more you do it, the better you get at it, but you have to tell yourself I'm going to sit down with this instrument and be able to play it. You don't have to literally say that but it is essentially what you are saying every time you practice. So, being intelligent is exactly that. It is taking everything you do and investing enough into it so that you have enough mastery to manipulate it in ways that are useful to you.
I'll tell you what it is. I believe intelligence is a process, not an absolute thing. What I want to say is that even if your iq is 160 (congrats if it is), it doesn't mean that you always perform at that level of intelligence.
So, when you ask that question, specifically "What would I have done right now at this moment", you get to use all your different intelligences (strategic, planning, etc) to get the right answer. In that specific moment you'll be likely to perform at the top of your potential, and because intelligence can be exercised, you can theoretically become more intelligent by asking yourself how you can be more intelligent.
Practical example: If I would be more intelligent right now, I would write down this note, and constantly ask myself "How would I do this if I were more intelligent", probably a variation of that question.
I'm sure that by *constantly* asking ourselves these questions, and thus incrementing the times that we think at the top of our abilities, we can achieve life changing effects.
I'm curious to hear your thoughts about this.
One of the things that's been really cool for me here at the blog is watching the crowd that hangs out here develop.
The big thing I set out to do with the site was create a place I'd want to hang out online. I hang out at some pretty good places, but I wasn't able to find anywhere that was unabashedly pro-victory, pro-winning, very expansive, practical, pragmatic, and says it like it is. There's plenty of places with good people online, but not too many where people are willing to take the heat for saying it like it is. I try to do that - say it like it is, even though you sometimes suffer for it.
The community's really responded - I think there's a lot of people who've been looking for something like this. I know I searched for it, couldn't find it, and that's why I started building. So it's been thrilling having all sorts of smart people write great letters and emails to me, great comments, great stuff happening.
I love it, I feel so blessed. The site's my site - it's got my name on it. But the community can transcend that, and that's why I'm so thrilled that I can feature great comments and letters.
One such talented person is Jess, our resident merchant marine. She's left a number of really insightful comments, and it's a joy to read her thoughts. She's talented writer and talented thinker. Here's some of her latest insights from a letter, reposted with permission -
NOTE: Work in this case means anything that is done for money, not necessarily explicitly for money, but done with money in mind, as a component, or as a tool in. Of course work has many definitions and I don't even completely agree with the one stated above, but I needed a word that would articulate what I wanted to represent without being verbose.
After spending the last few years reading just about every major hack-the-system, be productive, quirky blog out there that tells you to start your own business, or become location independent I've realized that a lot of them resonate with me, but aren't really what I want. Take for example Tynan. I love his blog, the fact he finds innovative, different, quirky ways to solve problems. The gear he picks is some of the most niche, and effective gear for getting the results he wants and fit very well into his ecosystem. He has cool stories and spends a lot of his time (especially as of late) becoming extremely productive and getting a lot done. But lately I've been noticing a trend in many bloggers focusing on creating things bigger than themselves, leaving a legacy, and so on and so forth. They work because they want to solve a problem in the world, or they want to leave something behind, or they want to create something greater than themselves. I have nothing against this personally, and maybe I am still too shortsighted to see the benefits of it, or maybe I'm missing something, but that isn't why I work.
Ultimately I've realized I work because I want to be able to afford not to work.
The truth is while I don't hate work, I hate not being able to afford not to work. Its funny cause, this very characteristic is what drives many, if not almost all top performers. Top athletes can't afford not to exercise and train, top programmers can't afford to spend long amounts of time not coding. Sometimes it isn't because of the money, many top athletes could very well stop training and exercising and be able to live very comfortable lives. Sometimes its that "I don't know what to do" factor. I mean if you think about it, if you spent years after years having the goal of becoming best or very good at X and you finally reached that goal, after expending vast amounts of time, energy and attention reaching it, it would be incredibly hard to separate your identity from it, and in some cases you would even feel guilty or have a sort of mid-life crisis giving it up, as happens to many top sports-stars.