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Designing the Superior Man: 15 Powerful Qualities (Part 2)

Designing the Superior Man: 15 Powerful Qualities (Part 2)

This is Part Two (of Three) describing 15 qualities of superior men. Each part will discuss 5 key qualities to embrace in order to design the superior man.

Read Part One here (Part 1).

To become an elite and powerful man, you must disregard trying to be in the top 1%. Instead, strive to join the 0.000001%.

We have been taught that it is a sin to achieve wealth. When we think about a man with a large amount of money, we think he must surely be evil. We have been brainwashed to believe that the highest virtue is to live for other people and to give, to relieve other people’s suffering. It is noble to assist others; however, we must be able to have something to give.

“Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created.” – Ayn Rand.

The best way to give and help others is to teach them to use their own mind. The superior man knows that he cannot think for another and that man must learn to think for himself. This is the only way to give and assist others in relieving suffering. What are we teaching another person by doing their work for them? What lessons can be taught by providing handouts without effort to earn or produce something?

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Continuing from Part One, we will use more examples from The Fountainhead and similar books with the goal of identifying key traits of superior men. Here is Part Two of the qualities of the ideal man.

1. Activate Your Mind

“To know and not to do, is not yet to know.” – Roger Hamilton

Superior men choose to activate their mind. Ayn Rand provides us a brilliant example of a simple choice we all have in life – “To think or not.” What a simple choice, yet it seems that everyone makes it so difficult. The ideal man chooses to activate his mind; he chooses to choose. The alternative is to wish for something. These men do not activate their mind, but only wish something to happen without taking the steps to achieve it.

Men who use and activate their mind move the world forward. In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark explains the following, “Man cannot survive except through his mind. His brain is his only weapon. Through the process of thought, from the simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man – the function of his reasoning mind.”

2. Ask Better Questions

“Minds are of three kinds: one is capable of thinking for itself; another is able to understand the thinking of others; and a third can neither think for itself nor understand the thinking of others. The first is of the highest excellence, the second is excellent, and the third is worthless.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

High performing men have found a secret in life. They found clarity in visioning a life where they are producing and living on a higher level (more on this in Part Three). In Roger Hamilton’s inspirational book Wink and Grow Rich, we are provided with phenomenal, yet simple advice. The main character is a little boy by the name of Richard. He receives the following wisdom, “Choose the level you want to play at. What you see is always what you get. Learn to see better and you will get better.” In order to see better, Richard must learn to live at a different level of clarity. In order to live on this new level, he needs to ask better questions.

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Superior men have figured this one out. If we are able to ask better questions, we can literally get anything we want. The key to asking a better question is to listen to people with full attention. By doing this, you will discover who the person is and what they are looking for. You can discover an unlimited amount of information about a person just by simply paying full attention. Another trick is to use the “5 Why” technique. Use this technique to get to the root cause of any issue. Simply keep asking “why” and ask it a minimum of 5 times. Such a simple technique, yet, for some reason we stop using it when we turn ten years of age.

Try this the next time you are in a job interview or seeking a promotion, where you are asked this type of typical, yet pointless question, “Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work and how you dealt with it.” Respond with, “You don’t want to ask me that question. The question you want to ask me is – How will you make this company more money? That is the real question you want to ask, and here is how I will make you more money…” – Dr. Jamie Schwandt

3. Money is Not Evil

“If you’re born poor, it’s not your mistake. But if you die poor, it’s your mistake.” – Bill Gates

I grew up extremely poor. I was always told that money is evil and people with money are evil. Guess who told me this – poor people! Money is not evil, evil people with money are evil. The key here is the use of the word “evil” because evil people are also poor.

My childhood was spent bouncing around between my biological parents, grandparents, and foster parents. I grew up in a world of drugs, alcohol, suicide, depression, and handouts. My father committed suicide when I was eighteen years old. He attempted suicide before I was born and his mother committed suicide. His first suicide attempt was during his time in the U.S. Navy. Afterwards, he was placed on full disability and received welfare checks for the remainder of his life. My mother, who attempted suicide on multiple occasions, also received handouts, and I am sure she still does.

My younger brother now lives in a world of handouts. His only interaction with me is when he is in need of money. However, I will never provide him money, only advice. He will never learn to think for himself by way of handouts. Additionally, he is addicted to drugs, so if he asks for $20… where do you think my money will go?

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Superior men achieve wealth because they do not care to ask someone’s permission for it. They do not care what you think of their integrity or moral compass. They understand that time is limited, once wasted, it is gone forever. We have a limited amount of time on this planet and we all need resources to succeed. Remember this – money is infinite, time is finite.

“There is no shortage of money, only a shortage of people thinking big enough.” – Grant Cardone

4. Obsessed

“Be the type of person that when your feet touch the floor in the morning, the devil says, Aww Sh*t… they’re up.” – Dwayne Johnson

Superior men are crazy, different, and 100% completely obsessed with success. These men understand that what they obsess about will get better. If you obsess about creating wealth, you will create wealth. If you obsess about writing a book, you will write a book. However, if you obsess about pleasing everyone, you will make yourself go crazy trying to create a better life for other people while your life is falling apart.

Superior men are obsessed with success. They do not mull over ideas for hours without action. They do not just think, they do. If they think about writing a book, they write the book. If they think about starting a business, they start the business. They just do it.

“Commit first, figure the rest out later.” – Grant Cardone

5. Be a Creator

“When Paris Hilton can top the bestsellers’ list, we are one more Connect Four move closer to Armageddon.” – Corey Taylor

Listen, if Paris Hilton can create her own success, then you can too. We are all capable of creating a life of success. The key is to be crazy and different. Do you know what a genius is called before they are called a genius? Crazy!

The world of quantum physics is crazy and mind-bending. Quantum physics has demonstrated that we have little understanding of the world we live in. However, it has also provided us a playground for our mind. The Double Slit Experiment (I encourage you to look it up) demonstrates that electrons exist in a state of pure potential when they are not being observed. The act of simply observing is the act of creating.

We can create our own world, our own reality through our thoughts and actions. Superior men have figured this out… so has Paris Hilton! Remember this quote:

“Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.” – Niels Bohr.

Featured photo credit: elonmusk.com via cnbc.com

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Published on July 29, 2020

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

Step 2: Make a List of Experts

Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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Step 3: Anticipate the Future

After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

Conclusion

A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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