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What Do the Best Thinkers Have in Common?

What Do the Best Thinkers Have in Common?

The best thinkers share a lot of common traits. Beyond just a high IQ, however, they have a number of attitudes and philosophies in common that propel them to have some of the strongest thinking skills in the world. Here are eight of the most popular traits of the best thinkers.

1. The Best Thinkers Are Curious, Like Albert Einstein

The people with the strongest thinking skills are the ones who regularly ask, “What if … ?” Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” He recognized how important it is to constantly be questioning the world around you. Do you?

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2. The Best Thinkers Are Adventurous, Like Jeff Bezos

People with great thinking skills are the type to take a unique kind of action. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has ventured into completely alien industries like mass shipping, groceries, e-books, phones and tablets, all for a business that started out as just an online bookseller. Keep in mind that those with great thinking skills aren’t content with sticking to the status quo.

3. The Best Thinkers Look to Clarify, Like Steve Jobs

Simple is better. That’s an almost universal rule. Something you can sum up in a sentence is generally far superior than something you need a paragraph to explain. Steve Jobs understood this, and his thinking skills allowed Apple to become a major player in the tech world. His focus on simplicity in design was a major factor in selling products like the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad and making operating systems like iOS and OS X such a success.

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4. The Best Thinkers Are Strategic, Like Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, love him or hate him, redefined the social media industry with Facebook. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other social networks that followed Facebook benefited greatly from the path he carved. His strategic implementation of the groundwork for current day social media should be admired or even envied.

5. The Best Thinkers Don’t Back Down, Like Galileo

The people with the most impressive thinking skills don’t give up even when everyone or everything is against them. Sixteenth-century scientist Galileo was imprisoned for his insistence that Earth is not the center of the universe. How far will you go to stand up for your beliefs?

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6. The Best Thinkers Are Self-Aware, Like Amy Schumer

Comedian Amy Schumer regularly plays with the perceptions other people have of her. In her stand-up and on her sketch show Inside Amy Schumer, she comments on her appearance and attitude with a level of self-awareness that few can achieve. Her thinking skills are impressive because she can recognize how others see her, and plays with that perception for the sake of comedy.

7. The Best Thinkers Are Reflective, Like Warren Buffett

The best thinking skills come from the types of people who look at the past to try to predict the future. Warren Buffett, an investor renowned for his smart business sense and thinking skills, regularly studies companies that were on top years ago and tracks them to the present. That way he can identify trends, see how industry changes affect certain businesses and find out why some companies remain successful while others falter. The past is a wonderful cheat sheet for the future, and people with great thinking skills like Warren Buffett know to study up.

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8. The Best Thinkers Diversify, Like Donald Glover

People with great thinking skills recognize that to accomplish something meaningful, they have to have a finger in many pies. If they constrain themselves to one activity they’re greatly limiting their potential. Donald Glover began his career as a writer for the sitcom 30 Rock, but he didn’t want to be confined to one art form, so he went on to take a prominent role in the TV show Community and have a successful career as rapper Childish Gambino. If you have good thinking skills you probably recognize that not reaching to new heights will keep you stuck on the ground floor.

Featured photo credit: Billy Hathorn via en.wikipedia.org

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Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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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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