A Book Review
“Every man has become great, every successful man has succeeded, in proportion as he has confined his powers to one particular channel.” –ORISON SWETT MARDEN
I have been reading lately and as one of my 2018 goals I must say I’ve tried to achieve a certain mark with this goal.
Today I’ll be sharing an excerpt from this book by Brain Tracy, Enjoy!
THE MARK OF the superior thinker is his or her ability to accurately predict the consequences of doing or not doing something. The potential consequences of any task or activity are the key determinants of how important it really is to you and to your company. This way of evaluating the significance a task is how you determine what your next frog really is.
Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University, after more than fifty years of research, concluded that “long-time perspective” is the most accurate single predictor of upward social and economic mobility in America. Long-time perspective turns out to be more important than family background, education, race, intelligence, connections, or virtually any other single factor in determining your success in life and at work. Your attitude toward time, your “time horizon,” has an enormous impact on your behavior and your choices. People who take a long view of their lives and careers always seem to make much better decisions about their time and activities than people who give very little thought to the future.
Rule: Long-term thinking improves short-term decision making.
Successful people have a clear future orientation. They think five, ten, and twenty years out into the future. They analyze their choices and behaviors in the present to make sure that they are consistent with the long-term future that they desire. In your work, having a clear idea of what is really important to you in the long term makes it much easier for you to make better decisions about your priorities in the short term. By definition, something that is important has long-term potential consequences. Something that is unimportant has few or no long-term potential consequences. Before starting on anything, you should always ask yourself, “What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task?”
Rule: Future intent influences and often determines present actions.
The clearer you are about your future intentions, the greater influence that clarity will have on what you do in the moment. With a clear long-term vision, you are much more capable of evaluating an activity in the present and to ensure that it is consistent with where you truly want to end up. Successful people are those who are willing to delay gratification and make sacrifices in the short term so that they can enjoy far greater rewards in the long term. Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, think more about short-term pleasure and immediate gratification while giving little thought to the longterm future. Dennis Waitley, a motivational speaker, says, “Failures do what is tension relieving while winners do what is goal achieving.” For example, coming into work earlier, reading regularly in your field, taking courses to improve your skills, and focusing on high-value tasks in your work will all combine to have an enormous positive impact on your future.
On the other hand, coming into work at the last moment, reading the newspaper, drinking coffee, and socializing with your coworkers may seem fun and enjoyable in the short term, but it inevitably leads to lack of promotion, underachievement, and frustration in the long term. If a task or activity has great potential positive consequences, make it a top priority and get started on it immediately. If something can have large potential negative consequences if it is not done quickly and well, that should become a top priority as well. Whatever your frog is, resolve to gulp it down first thing. Motivation requires motive. The greater the positive potential impact that an action or behavior of yours can have on your life, once you define it clearly, the more motivated you will be to overcome procrastination and get it done quickly. Keep yourself focused and forward moving by continually starting and completing those tasks that can make a major difference to your company and to your future. The time is going to pass anyway. The only question is how you use it and where you are going to end up at the end of the weeks and months that pass. Andwhere you end up is largely a matter of the amount of consideration you give to the likely consequences of your actions in the short term. Thinking continually about the potential consequences of your choices, decisions, and behaviors is one of the very best ways to determine your true priorities in your work and personal life.
EAT THAT FROG!
Review your list of tasks, activities, and projects regularly. Continually ask yourself, “Which one project or activity, if I did it in an excellent and timely fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on my life?” Whatever it is that can help you the most, set it as a goal, make a plan to achieve it, and go to work on your plan immediately. Remember the wonderful words of Goethe, “just begin and the mind grows heated; continue, and the task will be completed!”
Excerpts from the book EAT THAT FROG by Brian Tracy.
This useful insight has shaped the way I set my daily and weekly goals, and I do hope it affects yours positively.