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Designing the Superior Man: 15 Powerful Qualities (Part 3)

Designing the Superior Man: 15 Powerful Qualities (Part 3)

This is Part Three (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).

Read Part Two here (Part 2).

The superior man is willing to take massive action, step out of have his comfort zone, and do whatever it takes to accomplish those things that have never been done before. Additionally, the superior man has the ability to separate how he feels from what he does, or even how he leads.

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Jim Collins describes how great leaders transform others in his best-selling book Good to Great. In his book, Collins discusses the Level 5 Leader.

Part Three is dedicated to those Level 5 Leaders in my life. To those who continue to inspire me to this day, even in death. I dedicate this post to those great men. These are the Level 5 Leaders and the key qualities they represent. They are truly superior men.

1. Puts things into perspective

“To lead people, walk behind them.” – Lao Tzu

Asking “did anyone die?” really puts things into perspective. A great leader in my life repeatedly solicits this question. It is amazing how this simple question completely puts things into proper perspective. This leader has the awesome ability to see through lesser men and is always able to put things into perspective.

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2. Lives the virtue of all virtues – humility

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis

Humility may just be the most difficult quality in life. Yet, it is one of the most discussed and pursued qualities. One of the most important leaders in my life lives this quality better than anyone I know. He is the role model for role models. This superior man is someone we should all strive to become.

3. Not afraid to run into danger

“People say everything happens for a reason, so when I reach over and smack you in the face, remember… there was a reason.”

The superior man is one who is not afraid to run into danger. He is a man who confronts those things normal people refuse to. He is a man who recognizes that, if he does not run toward the enemy, no one will.

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A good friend of mine was killed protecting those he loved. He was killed because he was not afraid to fight. He was the type of man who runs toward danger when everyone else runs away.

4. Not afraid to stand alone

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter

The superior man is one who is not afraid to take a stand, even if he must stand alone. He is a man who recognizes that standing alone does not mean being alone. It means he is strong enough to stand for things; things that are right and just; things other men know are right, yet are afraid to stand for.

5. Chooses to live on a higher level

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for eternity.” – Nelson Mandela

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You can immediately tell when someone is good. They live and breathe on a higher level. Just being around the person lifts you up and inspires you. I met one of the greatest leaders to ever enter my life a couple years ago. I was only around this man for one year, yet he was the ultimate superior man.

The first time my wife met him, she was inspired. As a military spouse, she has seen all types of leaders. She holds the ability to immediately identify who is a good person and who is a bad person. This leader was not just good, but great.

Colonel Eugene L. Montague died in May 2016. This three-part series of superior men is dedicated to him. He is the ultimate superior man and I want to personally thank him for providing me the inspiration to keep learning, dreaming, and to one day become a leader he would be proud of.

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Dr. Jamie Schwandt

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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