“Pain + Reflection = Progress”
– Ray Dalio
#1: Focus on ONE THING
“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” Zig Ziglar
- Founder of Cool Start-Up
- Co-Founder of Amazing Not-For-Profit
- Manager @ Big Impressive Corporate
- Designer of Something Digital
- Speaker on Some Cutting-Edge Topic
- Coach for High Performance
Elon Musk is an exception to the rule. He is NOT the rule.
My twenties have taught me that success and focus are directly correlated.
Exception #1: Experimentation to Discovery Your Interests
Exception #2: Working for an Organisation While You Build Your Business
What’s the ONE THING that you need to focus on in 2018?
#2 Stop Caring What Other People Think
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”– Dr. Seuss
I AM GOING TO DO ME.
I’m going to own what I love doing and commit to it 100%.
What are you NOT doing because you care about what other people think?
#3 Your Ego is Your Enemy
“With every ambition and goal we have—big or small—ego is there undermining us on the very journey we’ve put everything into pursuing.”
– Ryan Holiday
Your ego distorts how you see the world. It distorts reality and overinflates your importance in it.
“I’m am a dumb shit who doesn’t know much relative to what I need to know. Whatever success I’ve had in life has had more to do with knowing how to deal with my not knowing that anything I know.”
What is your ego holding you back from?
What is your ego telling you about yourself that may not be true?
#4 Play the Long Game
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”– Leo Tolstoy
So in my rush to create the vision in my head immediately, I’ve been actually been preventing myself from achieving the vision.
My mistake through my twenties was to think that everything had to be immediate and SIMULTANEOUS instead of SEQUENTIAL.
And this was because I wasn’t playing the long game.
Horizon 1: Build Your Foundation
Horizon 2: First Opportunity for Growth
Horizon 3: Future Possibilities
In your life or career, where do you need to play the long game?
#5 The Quality of Your Life is the Sum of Your Decisions
“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.”
—John C. Maxwell
The decision to start Uni Australia simultaneously as I ran Art of Smart Education.
The decision to start myEd simultaneously as I ran Art of Smart Education AND Genius Academy.
The decision to pivot myEd from a HSC video tutorial platform (an area of expertise) to a teaching and learning platform (an area without expertise).
The decision to try and build a platform for schools AND corporates AND universities simultaneously.
The decision to build a platform, content library and expand internationally simultaneously.
First and foremost I didn’t appreciate the impact of unconscious biases, limiting beliefs and emotional needs on my decision making.
- Confirmation bias.
- Optimism bias.
- Loss Aversion.
Secondly, given the importance that decisions have on your life, I’ve never had a process for making decisions or reflecting upon them.
Whenever you make a key decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the actual results with your expectations. I have been practicing this method for 15 to 20 years now, and every time I do it, I am surprised.
To identify the possible biases, beliefs and emotional needs that are sitting like a dark shadow driving the decision, so I can work consciously to consider and counter these if necessary.
To reflect on this decision afterwards and compare how it aligns with the expected outcomes I identified.
To ask myself, “What do I need to do differently next time?”
How do you make decisions?
Further Reading & Resources
- Read more about Elon Musk in the biography Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
- Read more about the impact of ego in ‘Ego is Your Enemy’ by Ryan Holiday.
- Read more about the 3 Horizon Growth Model in ‘The Alchemy of Growth’ by Mehrdad Baghai
- Read more about Peter Drucker’s process for making decisions in Managing Oneself’.
- Find out more about the work we do at Art of Smart Education here.
Hey, I’m Rowan. I’m the CEO of Art of Smart Education and I’m on a mission to help 1,000,000 young Australians answer the big question, “What am I going to do with my life when I finish school & how do I get there?”