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The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Your Intelligence, Part 2 Of 2

The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Your Intelligence, Part 2 Of 2

In the first post of this mini-series, we briefly covered why intelligence is so highly prized in a global market, and 10 steps on how to increase one’s intelligence. That post included tips on why reading and writing matter, zeroing in on your habits, learning from the mistakes of others and polishing your identity.

In part two of this series, we’ll look even closer at what the best of the best do to become smarter. Increasing your intelligence doesn’t have to feel like lifting a freight train – It can be quite straightforward with the right battle plan!

9. Use Your Existing Leadership Skills

As most children go through primary school and possibly higher education, the number of people who gradually influence them reaches the tens of thousands. Parents, teachers and peers alike often ask questions about what an individual will pursue after education; what kind of life they hope to live; what their financial goals are and even more. What few people afford attention to early on, however, is the art and science of becoming a leader.

Leadership is a paramount objective throughout the entire world. Leaders help solve problems faster, more efficiently, produce better results and assign people more fluidly to their ideal roles. Sometimes people work towards leadership-oriented titles; other times people find themselves chosen to run a group. No matter what situation you’ve found yourself in, one fact is sure: High quality leadership training materials still aren’t widely distributed enough.

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In order to become the best leader you can be, it requires learning from the greats at some point. However, what most people continually overlook is the fact that every day, individuals already exhibit leadership actions. Leadership is defined as anyone who holds influence. So yes, it’s true: Not everyone is a fantastic leader (at least not today), but everyone can sharpen leadership skills with the right mindset.

Leadership forces you to be better at solving problems because you’re required to take responsibility. Leadership invariably means you’ll be on the front lines, calling the shots for the betterment of your group. Leadership – often synonymous with sacrifice – builds a more intelligent person from the inside out.

8. Pick Sides

Yes, yes, I know; this can sound like a way to start a fight rather than how to become more intelligent. But what we rarely give attention to is the fact that picking a side on an issue forces us to think critically about a situation.

As one example, while picking a political movement to side with is often the cause of many arguments, this exercise can truly help you think in the bigger picture about an issue. Should recreational drugs be decriminalized or generally remain as they are? It can seem like a fairly innocuous question, but when picking a side and defending it, you force yourself to research information that will either support or detract from your stance.

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In other words, picking a side on a topic requires that you increase your level of knowledge about the topic in the first place. Life is too short to live it with purely uneducated opinions, so discovering new info on a passionate topic can literally alter your knowledge – and intelligence – about the subject.

7. Seek Out The Opposite Of What Most Others Do

This is another observation that may sound rather ridiculous on the surface, but holds incredible wisdom at second glance. It’s no secret that many of the greatest names in personal development and financial success often preach unorthodox methods. Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Robert Kiyosaki, Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Gary Vaynerchuck, Og Mandino and hundreds of others have all spoken on this point at one time or another: Master the art of non-conformity.

The reason nearly half of Americans cannot come up with a few hundred dollars for an emergency expense shows one thing for sure: Doing what most people do is a surefire way to end up in mediocrity. Such a sad truth can act as fuel for victory when used in the proper context.

From now on, every time you’re presented with a common problem, ask yourself: “What would most people do in this situation?” Then, consider the opposite. For example, many people find themselves in the doctor’s office year after year because their weight problems have slowly caused other problems. Americans especially seem to still have fairly high reliance on doctors, and with current food consumption patterns, this will not be going away any time soon.

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Instead of merely going to your doctor and following the same path as everyone else, what if you took a few minutes a day to do your own research? Life is rarely chunked into disparate boxes, meaning the cause of one problem might be related to another. Taking the time to examine the cause of a specific problem, rather than simply going through the motions that everyone else does, can yield incredible problem-solving rewards you may have never experienced before.

6. Apply Grant Cardone’s 10X Rule

Sales expert and author Grant Cardone published The 10X Rule in 2011, and this book went on to become one of the most popular books for entrepreneurs in recent memory. In essence, Cardone shares – through many of his own prior struggles and pitfalls – that success requires 10 times more effort than most people anticipate. Intelligence grows when you use desire to apply far more effort than you initially dreamed possible!

5. Increase The Agility Of Your Unconscious Thought

Every day we spend time in conscious thought. Yet what most don’t realize is the vast majority of your thoughts are unconscious! As explained by Charles Duhigg in The Power Of Habit, your body works efficiently on your habits so as to minimize effort in all scenarios.

This means that in order to maximize one’s intelligence, you should apply effort towards increasing the agility of your unconscious thought. How is this done? Don’t block emotionally challenging thoughts, and don’t run away from obstacles in general. Overcoming a problem with your conscious thought is a sign you’ll be able to do it more effectively in the future.

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4. Hone Your Emotional Intelligence

As a particularly prominent buzzphrase of the past decade, “emotional intelligence” really does matter. Despite it only being a recent label for a set of characteristics that’s been around for much longer, EI, or EQ, is often the sole make-or-break factor in whether or not someone will become successful.

Fostering and growing emotional intelligence is typically grueling, but essential. Being aware of and managing your own emotions requires great focus and a boatload of patience, but it does pay off. Practicing delayed gratification is perhaps the single greatest method for increasing your emotional intelligence.

3. Become Skilled At List Making

Even in addition to the science, list making remains one of the most practical things you can do to boost your memory, keep track of all your valuable ideas and stay productive – even during bad days. Always, always, always remain stocked up on pens and notepads – These are cheap materials anyways and it’s worth it!

2. Master The Abstract

Being able to see people, events and concepts for what they are is a valuable skill, but being able to master the abstract is an entirely different skill set. Richard Branson recommends listening – and doing so with great intent – as the number one way to master the abstract sides of life. He views it as a way to gather elements of a conversation, presentation or event you’d otherwise be oblivious to.

1. Remember To Enjoy Life And Take Breaks

Finally, remember that taking it easy now and then is one of the best ways to increase your intelligence! We are emotional, pleasure-driven creatures at the end of the day. We can’t work optimally unless we are able to balance work with rest. Hundreds of studies already illustrate how upholding sleep and rest is essential for your body to work properly. Enjoy the breaks you take, because it’s what allows you to focus that much more intensely when you are working!

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Brad Johnson

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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