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Lessons From Candy Crush

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Lessons From Candy Crush

I will admit the fact candy crush has impacted my life positively, and am now addicted to it that I cannot get through days of the week without playing a little Candy Crush. In my defense, it’s one of the simplest ways to make long subway rides in Manhattan bearable! The other day, though, I was quite amazed on what Candy Crush taught me about succeeding in business.

As I keep on playing the level, I noticed my mindset swing into the belief that I was going to win the round, and I eventually I did! As I thought about what happened, here are the business success tips that came into my mind as I played the game:

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1. Always formulate Goals.

The first thing is that each level of Candy Crush has a goal. You must do things like make striped candies, create color bombs, or drop fruit down to to the screen. You must have a goal to accomplish to move to the next level. Do you get that? As an entrepreneur, you need to formulate goals for yourself. And, when you might have achieved those goals, you get to move on to the next challenge that is ahead. That new challenge will help you to set new goals. Those new targets may have something in common with the old ones, or they may be entirely different. Always know which “game” you are playing, and the rules to win that game, and stay with them.

2. The focus is the Only Way to Success.

On some Candy Crush levels, as of this article, I am only on level 230. I have found this helpful as to how simple it is to make striped candies and color bombs, and I get caught up in seeking out these combinations or avoiding a bomb. Then, I realize I have gotten completely distracted from the goal of the level I’m on. In fact, I don’t need striped candies, or the bomb has more turns to explode than moves I have left in the round, so exploring them doesn’t matter to the goal. In your business, once you have set a goal, you need to focus on it. Activities you do on a daily basis need to align with that goal. You need to quickly call yourself out when you are doing anything that distracts you from that goal (unless, of course, you are taking a break to allow yourself to recharge).

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3. Believe You Can Succeed, and Don’t Quit.

I have played some levels of Candy Crush for what seems so long I go to the walkthrough cheats. Often, I learn that the strategy I am using is the right one; it’s just not paying off for me. I return to the level, frustrated, and wondering if I will be able to make it this time. If I have the mindset that the level is just not winnable, I usually lose. The other day, though, I stared at the game board, and I realized I CAN win. Candy crush. I just knew with absolute certainty that this was a challenge I was prepared to meet. It was uncanny; everything came into focus – the goal of the level, where I was on the success meter, and what I needed to do to meet the target. I mentally knew I was going to win, and I did! There was some logic, some luck, and a core belief in my capabilities.

All of these things are vital to your success as a business owner. First, the going gets tough. There will be days, as a “business-on-the-side” owner that you debate whether you will ever be able to do your business full time. Full-time business owners, you will have ups and downs, and in a down moment, you have to make the decision to stay in the game. All of this takes a strong belief in yourself.

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4. Accepting Help is OK.

Every day I turn the Candy Crush Booster Wheel and get an excellent treat I can use to make a level simpler or to help me win a level versus repeat it. I often talk myself out of using these boosters because I feel I should be able to do this by myself. It’s just a principle thing – like I’m saying I am less capable if I use one of these boosters. Well, what about your business? Just where are you turning down help? It could be due to cost, but make sure it’s not because you believe you have to do everything yourself. That’s just nonsense, and will guarantee failure, because there aren’t enough hours in a day for you to do it all yourself AND make money. Help is within your reach, and it’s OK to use it.

5. Believe in Abundance.

The other reason I have caught myself avoiding to use a booster is I might run out. Isn’t it ironic? Every day we get a new booster, and I’m worried that I’m going to run out. At any moment in our businesses, we may have a small financial crisis. If you look around, although, money could be everywhere. The fact that it is not in your bank account now does not mean it will not be there. You have to believe in the flow of money and that there is always more out there that you can attract.

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Featured photo credit: Game Revolution via media.gamerevolution.com

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Published on November 23, 2020

How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

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How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

What can we learn from this historical lesson?

1. Focus on the Consequences

Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

So was Moscow not an important target after all?

Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

  • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
  • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
  • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

  • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
  • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
  • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
  • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

3. Ask for Advice

Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

4. Beware of Biased Advice

Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

  • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
  • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
  • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
  • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
  • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

However, most purchases are unnecessary.

Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

After all,

  • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
  • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
  • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
  • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
  • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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Bottom Line

It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

More Tips on Thinking Clearly

Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
[2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
[3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
[4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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