The 10th Thing Successful People Do Differently

[bquote_right]“Give me the gist” he says. “And, if I’m still interested, I will get to the details later.” Then he never does. He is too busy, you see.[/bquote_right]

Conventional wisdom insists that people highly favor short bullet points, memorable visuals and succinct lists. Conference goers, workplace trainees, online readers, even academics in study mode are busy, busy, busy people.  In-depth analysis has taken a down and dirty back seat.  The Internet has cinched it. We are determined that whatever the message– no matter how profound or insightful– not get bogged down and “lost” in it’s own minutia detail. We educator types have long understood that human attention spans in general are notoriously, well, inattentive. That’s why the short and snappy blogs, tweet-sized news updates, at-a-glance previews and one-idea-per-slide PowerPoint presentations.  “Give me the gist” he says. “And, if I’m still interested, I will get to the details later.” Then he never does. He is too busy, you see.

[bquote]Scanning and skimming may feel efficient, but it’s not effective. It inhibits our concentration, contemplation and reflection.[/bquote]

That’s why many leader-readers no doubt appreciate pieces like the one I just zapped through on a Harvard Business Review Blog: Nine Things Successful People Do Differently. In fact, the author proudly boasts that this particular quick-read set the record at HRB.org for most page views ever. Nice. The “article” itself is classic Blog, squeezing simple practical ideas (nine of them don’t you know) in numerically assigned  summary statements.  I know, you don’t have time to read it right now, so I’ll just list the nine things.  Ready…

  1. Get specific
  2. Seize the moment to act on your goals
  3. Know exactly how far you have left to go
  4. Be a realistic optimist
  5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good (I like that one!)
  6. Have grit
  7. Build your willpower muscle
  8. Don’t tempt fate
  9. Focus on what you will do, not on what you won’t do.
There you have it.  Now you know the secrets to success. Next!

Well wait. I know it’s hard to wait, but just humor me.  It won’t take long.   Of course, you really don’t know anything more about success from reading this list, than you did before you read it.  See, you need to read more. And you should because it’s a pretty darn good list.  Yep, the author is a respected success guru who knows what she’s talking about.  Her name is Heidi Grant Halvorson, Phd. She blogs on motivation and leadership for Fast Company and Psychology Today. Her personal blog, the Science of Success, can be found at www.heidigranthalvorson.com.   I like what she has to say.  Especially the fine details. In fact-and here’s a unique perspective- I wish she would say more.

[bquote]They think about it. They assimilate insight, not information.  They seek wisdom, not data.  They don’t glance; they read.[/bquote]

Why more?  Because scanning and skimming may feel efficient, but it’s not effective. In fact, it inhibits our capacity for concentration, contemplation and reflection. It’s the 10th Thing Successful People Do Differently: Deep, contemplative thought. They pause, ponder, reflect and dig into the substance. They study, they analyze and they consider contrasting ideas.  They think about it. They assimilate insight, not information.  They seek wisdom, not data.  They don’t glance; they read.  They take the time to succeed.  You might want to try it.  Hurry up!

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