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13 Things Truly Great Leaders Do In Difficult Times

13 Things Truly Great Leaders Do In Difficult Times

From Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, great leaders have walked and ruled this planet throughout human history. These days, boardrooms have replaced most battlefields, and great leaders are more likely to flex corporate muscle than wield an actual sword. The Internet gives us all a chance to be great leaders; these are the skills they embody.

1. Great leaders manage fear

As Franklin D. Roosevelt put it in his inaugural speech, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Superman has superpowers, but he’s no hero. Superman is invincible and therefore has nothing to fear. A real hero acts in the presence of fear.

2. Great leaders put the mission first

You have a job to do, and, whether you like it or not, you have to put that job first. Great leaders recognize that completing the objective is the most important part of the mission and let nothing stop them from accomplishing it. Everything else is just extra perks.

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3. Great leaders are well-prepared

No matter what situation they find themselves in, great leaders are always prepared. They may not immediately have the tools available or the right answer, but they know where to find it. Thinking on their feet is important, but a great plan can’t be beat.

4. Great leaders are tough, but fair

Great leaders inspire greatness in their followers as well. They do this by holding them to the same high standards they hold themselves to. They understand everyone is human, though, and don’t expect the impossible.

5. Great leaders encourage others

Nobody wants to work for that boss who bosses everyone around and has no idea what he or she is talking about. Instead of constantly criticizing people, great leaders believe in positive reinforcement and are loved by their followers.

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6. Great leaders effectively communicate

The reason you have an Apple product is because Steve Jobs knew how to communicate to you exactly why you need one. The ability to communicate is essential in convincing people to do what you want, and that’s how a leader gains followers.

7. Great leaders use resources wisely

Are you broke? If you are, it’s because you live a lifestyle that leads to being broke – you waste your current resources and are too busy fighting to replenish them to ever get ahead. Great leaders use exactly the resources they need.

8. Great leaders imitate other leaders

Thomas Edison idolized Leonardo da Vinci, and nearly every military leader in the world to this day follows the strategies of Alexander the Great. To be the best, you have to beat the best. If they’re already dead, emulate them.

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9. Great leaders are great followers

Behind every great leader is an even greater leader. As Derek Sivers, CEO of CD Baby, explains, the first follower is the most important part of a movement. A leader without a follower is just a lone nut.

10. Great leaders remain open to change

Even the best plans have issues as soon as they’re applied to the real world. A truly great leader accepts this and is able to change at a moment’s notice. While all the losers complain about a new change and wait for instructions, a great leader takes the lead.

11. Great leaders never give up

Every winner loses, but not every loser wins. Great leaders accept losses and learn from them. Then they get back up, dust themselves off, and try again.

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12. Great leaders accept responsibility

When something goes wrong, a coward will blame others. It’s not uncommon for stuff to roll downhill in an organization, as every level passes the buck to the next level beneath them. To be a great leader, it’s essential to accept responsibility for mistakes and correct them.

13. Great leaders are quirky

All great leaders stick out in some way. If they acted like everyone else, they’d end up following like everyone else. Instead, they listen to themselves, trust their abilities, and rise to the top.

Anyone can be a leader, but what makes a leader truly great are their followers. If you live as though you’re already a leader, you’ll be well on your way to becoming one. You’ll be an outcast for a period, and people will mock you for being different, but stick to your guns. Soon enough you’ll have the power to hire or fire your detractors, and there’ll be nothing they can do about it, because you’re a great leader… and they’re just a shlub.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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