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Strategies Are Overrated. Listen To Your Insights Instead.

90% of business and personal development books are full of strategies. Maybe 99%!

When I say “strategies” I am referring to step-by-step formulas or back-tested approaches for success. However, from what I see, strategies rarely work the same way when applied by others.

Just look at books like Good to Great…where many of the “Great” companies fell to mediocrity in the ensuing years. Other companies implementing the lessons from Good to Great were not guaranteed success.

Far from it.

The same thing happens when athletic teams follow the coaching principles set forth by past greats. Reading “Coach Bob’s 12 Secrets To Football Success” doesn’t guarantee that your football team will dominate the season.

Why?

It’s not the strategies that matter so much as the mindset of the leaders and teams executing them. Without a firm, calm and resourceful mental state, how can any strategy actually work? When we rely on external tools and strategies for success, how can we weather the storm of an unpredictable life?

Instead of seeking external strategies that are back-tested but not future-proof, we should be on the hunt for something else; something that is always present and helpful regardless what life, work or the competition throws at us.

Yes, such a thing exists.

While strategies are external and failure-prone, insights are internally generated, robust and present in every human being. Insights are the keys that unlock the doors we have been struggling to open. Our challenge is in being able to notice when they appear.

Have you ever had an insight occur to you in the shower, after a workout or upon waking up from a nap?

It is in these moments that our internal dialogue and non-stop thinking become quiet enough to let our greater intelligence bubble up. When we notice these insights and follow through on them, only good things happen. Even when the ideas require painfully difficult choices (like this one I faced), life seems to be better as a result.

My challenge to you, particularly if you love to collect personal development tools and strategies (as I do!), is to pay even more attention to your own ideas and insights. Notice when they appear. Ponder them. Write them down.

Better yet, act on them and see what happens.

4 comments

  1. mariamjehangir says:

    My husband does this a lot (the noticing insights and writing them down part). He’s a slow reader, so when it comes to spending time on books, he’s tends to be very picky with the ones he thinks will be worth the investment. He’s a natural thinker though, so he tends to have those insights often and has these little notebooks filled with his ideas and thoughts. Only problem is, it takes him a while to act on those insights, if at all. I’m the opposite way. I read a lot, but don’t have as many “aha moments” of my own. The relatively few times I do however, I act on them fast (perhaps too fast, never fully planning them out). The key part of this read to me is the following: “When we notice these insights and follow through on them, only good things happen. Even when the ideas require painfully difficult choices (like this one I faced), life seems to be better as a result.” Both of us need to follow through, but think it out first. I think that is when we’ll see real progress. Looking forward to the next read. Thank you Ravi!

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