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7 Ways To Be One of the Supersmart People Who Always Succeed

7 Ways To Be One of the Supersmart People Who Always Succeed

Do you ever feel like supersmart people are in their own private club? One that you could never penetrate. That doesn’t have to be the case. What you need is the secret sauce that they use to succeed. You can emulate what smart and successful do by implementing the following seven things that they swear by.

1. They know the power of networking.

Teaming up with other smart people is a key to their success. They attract, seek out and network with people who will add to their brand, knowledge and lifestyle. The success of World Domination Summit, founded by Chris Guillebeau and held every July in Portland, Oregon, highlights how important networking is. Each year up to 3,000 people gather to create new and meaningful connections.

2. They aren’t afraid to ask for help.

A successful person knows that there is always someone more knowledgeable or with a different perspective they can go to for help. They check their egos at the door and aren’t afraid to ask. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, is quoted as saying:

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“Sometimes you may simply need help from someone who knows you best. Some of the best business lessons I’ve learned have come from my mother. She always encouraged me to pursue my entrepreneurial interests when I was young, and when I got into trouble, she was the first person I turned to for help.” 

3. They schedule and take downtime.

A Harvard Business Review blog a few years ago stated how hard it was for workers to take downtime. Research showed that to be more productive you must take regular downtime. Even brief periods of downtime, like an afternoon nap, can make a big difference to your focus and energy. One of the most famous people in world history, Winston Churchill, protected his nap time and is quoted as saying:

“Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”

Taking a break with a nap was so important to Churchill that he kept a bed in the Houses of Parliament!

4. They are always learning.

Supersmart people are avid book readers who never stop learning. They listen to podcasts, audiobooks or have a stack of physical books to read next to their bed. Derek Halpern of the hugely popular, 100,000+ readers, Social Triggers site is a voracious reader. He has stated that he reads at least a book a week and has been known to prepare for an interview by reading two books, nine academic papers and seventeen articles! Successful people know the power in educating their brain every day for new content. 

5. They regularly practice gratitude.

One thing that has had the biggest impact on people’s lives is realizing how powerful gratitude is and the importance of giving thanks. Oprah Winfrey told us this in the top 20 things she knows for sure. She quoted Meister Eckhart, “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will be enough.” Oprah tells us to:

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“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Schedule time into your day to be grateful.

6. They know when to pivot.

Do you quit or make a shift? Successful people are not afraid to make the tough decisions. Recently Danielle LaPorte, author of The Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map, shared the decision she made when she decided not to start a print magazine. She knew that continuing on with her dream would affect her focus and what was essential to how she runs her successful business. Knowing when to start, stop or deviate is key to being one of the supersmart people. 

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7. They do their homework.

People often say they listened to their gut, but to reduce guessing before making a big decision supersmart people do their homework. They read, research, ask for advice and get really clear on what they need to know before they make a decision.

 

Remember these seven ways to be supersmart. Start implementing them into your life and before you know it you will one of these supersmart people too!

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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