Do you sometimes feel like things are moving too fast, that you’re always rushing and that you’re doing too much?
This video essay gives a stirring reminder of the need to slow down. It reminds us not to rush, but to take the time to do each task before us properly, slowly and deliberately.
The illustration is made of the space shuttle being loaded with the potential energy of rocket fuel, poised to achieve escape velocity. The important thing to remember is that space is not achieved in an instant, but in the powerful slow burn of the fuel accelerating the shuttle and launch craft, from the takeoff point and away from Earth into the atmosphere.
As the video essay progresses, it goes on to emphasize how birds do not instantaneously leap into the air, but must build up momentum from a resting position in order to achieve flight. Everything that will travel a greater distance or achieve a great height must first take it slow and prepare well. Archers draw back and hold their arrow, before releasing it on its flight path. A rifleman takes half a breath and holds it when he takes a shot.
After these illustrations are given, the essay addresses the viewers possible objections: how they may feel if they can’t slow down, or how their life does not allow them to take breaks, or that if they stop to think, then everything in their life will come crashing down.
This is followed by the quiet and confident reassurance that stepping back to catch your breath and assess your situation is not only healthy, but essential. It also goes on to posit the idea that no one should deceive themselves into believing that they can do more alone than they can with the help of others. If you are struggling to achieve something, slow down and find some friends, partners, or colleagues that can help you get where you are going.
In the end, the video reiterates its original point about going slowly and steadily to achieve great things. There are flashes and images of people achieving what they set out to do, moving over to the original advice of the video:
Be like the Tortoise, not like the Hare.
Take the time, make the time, or find the time.
Without taking the time to do things slowly and well, all you are accomplishing is losing the race.
The result of research has shown that negotiating is greatly affected by emotions.
If you are unable to read what the other person is feeling and are only able to hear what they are saying, it is very unlikely that you are going to accomplish everything that you could have through the negotiation.
Wheeling and dealing with an experienced negotiator may prove difficult because of his or her ability to mask emotions. Tone, words, expressions, and body language are all carefully chosen. She may seem impassive or natural to the average person observing. On the other hand, if she believes it will assist with advancing personal gain or interest, she may be able to fake emotions rather convincingly.
That being said, there is always a way to read the other person despite her best attempts to keep you from reading them.
According to Kasia Wezowski, from the Center for Body Language, The secret lies in paying attention to all of the spontaneous and involuntary micro expressions that every one of us demonstrates whenever intense emotion is involved. Once you are aware of exactly what it is you are looking for, you will have an automatic window to openly view the feelings of the other person.
You will be happy to hear that this secret isn’t necessarily something you either do or don’t have; it is a practice that you can learn and improve over time. The best way to test how you are progressing is through real life negotiating situations.
Here are some quick tips you may want to keep in mind, to ellicit and observe people’s micro expressions.
The other person’s face should be your focus.
The next time you have a reason to ask a question while involved in a negotiating scenario, spend at least four seconds studying the face of the other person instead of only listening to the words they are saying.
Share a story with the other person.
Negotiators find it easier to hide their emotions while they are doing the talking.
Spend time describing exactly what it is that you want or tell a story to illustrate your points, rather than asking questions that leave you with less to say.
This will provide you with a good window to observe the reactions of your counterpart.
Create several choices for the other person.
Provide them with a list of options.
Then observe their expressions/reactions to the different choices, to see what they do, or do not like.
To learn more about emotions, micro-expressions and consequent success in negotiation as well as other aspects of your career, take a look at this video.
Some would argue that bad decisions are a staple in our life.
The only sure thing, is that we will make mistakes; as the saying goes, “We are only human.”
Even research can prove that we make a lot of poor choices, due to various reasons such as cognitive biases. Three common areas that we often err in include our career choices, in our jobs, and in our personal lives.
So if there was a scientifically based protocol for making good decisions, wouldn’t you want to know it?
To start with, instead of gathering as much data or information about a problem, decide to define the problem first, so that you know what you are looking for in terms of a solution.
There is more to decision making than simply having more information about the choices at hand. Quality trumps quantity, as in you need to have the right info rather than simply more. For example, if a doctor is attempting to diagnose a patient, he has to look at gathering the correct scans and data rather than just inventorying the whole human body. In fact, all that extra information can just get in the way of making an accurate and prompt diagnosis.
Dan Pink, author of several best selling books, comments on this matter, saying that one of the great advances in art and science, is spending more time defining a clear problem. People who focus more on the problem than the solution, are more successful and go further in their careers.
After you have properly understood the problem and gathered the necessary information, the next step is a surprising one.
You’d think that the best thing would be to take all the emotion out of your decision and simply be objective, logical, and rational. However, that is not always correct.
Stanford professor Baba Shiv says that feelings are a part of making choices. You should be calm when trying to make a good decision, but other than that, feelings can help steer you in the right direction. Moreover, engaging your emotions while mulling over your choices will often lead to making better decisions.
Empathy can be yet another tool when making sound decisions, which is particularly true for professionals that care for or help others. Adam Grant (Professor at Wharton), mentions a study which describes what happens when a radiologist sees a photo of their patient along with their x-rays – they end up writing longer, more detailed reports and have significantly better diagnostic accuracy.
So ideally, you should use objectivity and emotions/feelings when making decisions.
But, how do you know when to be objective and when to be subjective when it comes to your decision-making process?
A good rule of thumb to consider, is that when faced with simple decisions without too many variables and factors, it’s better to be rational.
However, when the choice is one of greater value and complexity, trust your gut as well.
To improve your decision making over time, track your results.
Whenever you have to make a major decision, write down what results you anticipate. Later on in time, compare your expectations with the actual results. After a while, you will be able to identify, what works for you and what you are good at, and can use that information to fine-tune your approach in order to make better decisions.
Also remember, you have to know when to finally act on a choice. Chances are whatever option you finally land at will not be 100% ideal, but you cannot let the fear of not being perfect stop you from making your choice. Usually, good enough will be your best option. Waiting too long to make the best decision may cause you to miss some great opportunities. Try to avoid over thinking and accept the fact that the search for perfection is a fool’s errand.
In you are still stuck in a stalemate of selections, then try to think about the outside perspective; what kind of advice would you give to someone in your shoes?
And now armed with weapons to defend yourself from indecision and bad choices, go forth brave Padawan and watch how your improved decisions make your career and life even better.
Ever wonder why some people get so much more done?
Now you can understand and learn to apply the same principles to your own life.
This book draws from behavioral economics, neuroscience, psychology, and the experiences of CEOs, four-star generals, educational reformers, airplane pilots, FBI agents, and Broadway songwriters to show the difference between the busy and the genuinely productive.
Grant explores how to buck the trend and create new policies, ideas, and practices without risking everything.
How to speak up and not be silenced; how to build allies and choose the time to act; how to battle self-doubt and fear; how leaders can build a culture which welcomes dissenting opinions; and how to help your children to find their originality.
Teams are created to do all sorts of everyday tasks, in almost every career field.
A team of chefs or cooks may be assembled to operate a restaurant. A corporation may assemble a team of executives to handle a major project. Or a team of volunteers may work together to organize a charity event.
Regardless of the goal being aimed for, the success of a team cannot happen just by getting smart individuals together. You need to build a smart team, in order to be more successful the the average team out there.
Communication is a huge ingredient in any team. Smooth operations happen with clear and distributed communication.
Each member of the team needs to have a role and be involved, as far as communicating is concerned. Studies show that a team is much less effective, when team conversations/communications are dominated by one or two members.
There is nothing wrong with having a leader or dominant people in a team. However, a people need to recognize when they need to be listening to other members. Everyone needs to be involved and giving their full attention, as well as making a contribution vocally.
This applies to both physical and virtual communication.
Although a team leader may be necessary, studies have shown that a team accomplishes more without having one or two stand out superstars. Collective intelligence always produces more than individual intelligence.
A single person trying to accomplish more than their share or stepping out of their role can produce a negative effect throughout the rest of the team. When everyone is involved and the team is working together, they are more likely to accomplish more with less time and effort.
Gender diversity is important. Teams that have at least 50% women perform better.
One reason for this, is that women have more social perceptiveness.
Hundreds of teams that were tested, demonstrated more intelligence as a group when the team was more socially perceptive.
These teams show the ability to pick up on non-verbal communicating such as facial expressions and body posture.
The teams that are able to read each other’s minds through their eyes, demonstrated more collective intelligence and accomplished more.
It is also needed to note that as a whole, the collective intelligence of any given team is always driven by its lowest scoring member.
While a single person cannot make an entire team by themselves, any individual does have the ability of slowing a team down.
So individuals who may drag the team down, such as overly negative or dominant people, should be avoided. If such people must be included in the team, then they should be actively managed.
On the other hand, negative body language can make you seem standoffish, arrogant, and unwilling to listen, which tends to spoil the mood of all those around you (and your mood as well).
Wrap up and further reading
Traditionally, we have viewed body language as an outward display of how we feel inside.
While this can be true, this evidence shows that if we consciously act like in a positive way, our body releases hormones to make it a reality.
In other words – You can fake it, till you feel it.
To be more successful at work, in relationships, and at life in general, practice positive body language. Here are some tips to practice this.
You can also utilize the effects of body language by using a power pose when you communicate with others, to give off the vibe of being successful. People notice this, and will want to do more business with you.
In the first experiment they conducted, over 200 adults completed a brain teaser.
A group of them was then asked to immediately complete a second and third brain teaser, while a different group was asked to reflect for five minutes on the first brain teaser. A third group was asked to reflect and then write down their thoughts about the best strategy for completing the brain teaser, as if they were showing someone else how to do it.
The results showed that those who spent time reflecting after the first task did significantly better than the group who did not. It didn’t matter if they wrote down their strategies or not — simply thinking about the work they did, helped them to perform better, rather than just powering through the next task.
This same test was repeated on an entirely different batch of people. This time, the experiment was conducted with students and had very similar results.
After concluding these experiments, the researchers took this experiment into the business world. They found a tech support company in India that agreed to let them look at their new employee training methods.
The researchers split the trainees into three groups titled Control, Reflection, and Sharing. They then let the new employees proceed as they would normally, except for one thing. The Reflection and Sharing groups got to walk out of training for the last 15 minutes every day to sit and think about they had learned. The Sharing group got to write in a journal as if they were teaching someone what they just learned.
At the end of the entire training program, the employees in the Reflection and Sharing groups scored 22.8 percent higher than the Control group that did not get a chance to reflect. Also, there wasn’t much of a difference between the Reflection and Sharing groups.
The psychologists wrote, “Individuals perform significantly better on subsequent tasks when they think about what they learned from the task they completed.”
The take away is simple – taking time to think about your experiences increases learning and supports subsequent performance.
What does this mean for us?
It means that often we wrongly equate working long hours with productivity. However, constantly working is hard work, not smart work.
You now know one quick way to work smarter and better.
The time that we spend to just sit and think is very scarce.
But, science is telling us, that just a few minutes of time to think about what we’re doing will largely increase our performance and our work abilities.
If you just put aside a short 15-20 minutes a day for reflection after some tasks, meetings, deadlines and at the end of each day, you will get a lot more done and do it better, than if you just kept going and going throughout the whole day.
Working smarter isn’t that hard — we just need to change our routines to create some space.
A network is a set of relationships that you depend on to get things done and to get ahead in your career.
Networks are the crucial part of your work life since they allow you to generate new ideas, gather information and obtain the support that you need to expand your influence.
In spite of its importance, professionals hardly invest enough time in creating an effective network.
One of the biggest challenges that people face is investing time in creating and maintaining networks, since it is a long-term process and may not yield results immediately.
The other thing that holds us back is that we just don’t know how to do it.
In this video, Herminia Ibarra (Professor at INSEAD), provides some insights on how to build an effective network, common misconceptions about networking, types of networks and more. Watch the video or read on for the highlights.
Here Are Two Common Misconceptions About Networking:
We believe that relationships should be developed spontaneously. If it requires strategic effort, it makes us feel calculative and sleazy. But, our spontaneous networks do not give us the diversity of ideas, inputs, information or sources that we need to be effective.
Watch the video for his insights, or read on for highlights of the main points he makes.
Originals are Late to the Party
They may work on ideas for a longer period and often they are not the first to market.
They will look at the world around them and see ways to make a product or an idea better than previous ones.
Though they don’t get the initial recognition, they can fix any issues with the original idea.
Originals Have Balance Between Procrastinating and Finishing Quickly
This balance allows them to make sure their ideas are solid and creative.
If they rush into a project and complete it quickly, the creative process breaks down. If they procrastinate too much, someone else may take their idea before they have a chance to start it.
Time to Consider New Ideas
Procrastinating within a reasonable time frame allows creative thinkers to form new ideas.
You can work on a project for a little bit, do something else, and come back to make your idea even better.
Procrastinating a task has a virtue for creativity because it makes you think about how an idea can be better. You can think outside the box and see what is wrong with certain ideas.
First Movers Have a Higher Failure Rate Than Improvers
To be the first one to have an original idea is a great feeling, but this can lend itself to failure.
The reason why first movers fail is because of the lack of experience with certain ideas. They don’t know how the market will respond and don’t think of every little detail to make their ideas successful.
Easier to Improve on Ideas Than Create New Ones
Original thinkers don’t have to come up with a new idea to be successful.
They take what they have and look at it from a different angle to improve upon the idea.
Apple has grown significantly because of their ability to look at something and improve upon the idea. They may not have made the first cell phone, but they have evolved the design and technology.
They are Willing to be Different and Better
Original thinkers have an innate ability to take a stand to start their new ideas.
They take risks and chances that others would be hesitant to make because of a variety of reasons.
Original thinkers don’t know if they will fail or not, but they give it a go. They want things to be better.
Originals Have Doubts and Fears
Everyone has doubts and fears that may hold them back from going after something they want.
It is true that originals have them, but they don’t let those things hold them back. They know how important it is to stand up and say or do something, even if they’re ridiculed.
They Manage Doubt Better
When doubt clouds the mind, many people choose not to speak up.
Original thinkers can take their doubts and fears and use them to relay their messages. They aren’t afraid to give their opinion and carry out their ideas. Their process makes them easy to listen to and to learn from their ideas.
Self-Doubt is Paralyzing
When someone has any self-doubt, they tend to bottle up and won’t speak up when they should.
It could be because they’re afraid of the ridicule or of failing to deliver their message. Original thinkers don’t let their self-doubt get in the way of their ideas, even though they may fail.
Idea Doubt is Energizing
While self-doubt is detrimental to creativity, idea doubt lends itself to become a better version of the original idea.
It gives the sensation that an idea will work because of belief in the notion. Original thinkers get excited when they have a new idea and how they can improve upon it, giving them the energy to accomplish their goals.
They Take Initiative to Make a Better Option
Working on a new idea and getting started gives the original thinker the ability to understand why something is wrong.
If your cell phone only gives you cat wallpaper instead of dogs and cats, they will take the steps to make sure all cell phones can download both options.
Afraid of Failing to Try
Being afraid of failure is one of the biggest reasons why people don’t experiment with their ideas.
Original thinkers take that failure and seek to understand why something may fail and learn from those mistakes.
They See Things as too Important Not to Try
Even if they know that something may fail, the idea is too important not to give it an attempt.
Not trying at anything won’t lend itself to any answers and it prevents any progress.
They Don’t Feel Judgment on Bad Ideas And Are Not Afraid of Embarrassment
Original thinkers know they will be judged, but that won’t stop them from trying something.
Originals don’t let any feelings of embarrassment prevent them from achieving their dreams.
Need to Generate More Ideas to Create More
It is the duty of an original thinker to put in a lot of work.
They will have a lot of terrible ideas, but with each bad idea, there is bound to be a new and better one.
They never give up quickly, especially when they have some obstacles to conquer.
Succeed with Patience and Practice
Original thinkers use patience and practice.
They will toil away at a certain project until the original idea is only a small makeup of their perfect end result.
A single idea can morph into something that doesn’t look like the original idea, but the new and improved idea is much better. They will work endlessly on a single idea until it is perfect and a reality.