Successful people have two things in common. That they are:
• Intuitive thinkers – they see the big picture instead of focusing on the detail
• Rational thinkers – they don’t make decisions based on emotion, but on facts and probabilities.
Are you surprised to see the two things go together? Intuition is often defined as a ‘right-brain’ activity and rationality as a ‘left-brain’ activity. But intuition isn’t the same as emotionalism: it isn’t about ‘feelings’ or ‘sensitivity’ in an emotional sense. When we sense opportunities and play our hunches, we’re not giving way to our emotions, we’re tuning in to a wider range of data about a situation.
And rationality isn’t the same as a focus on detail. It’s about looking at things clearly and realistically and making decisions that will get you closer to your goals. The right side of the brain isn’t in opposition to the left side of the brain – together they make a whole brain! The question is, how do we use our brains? This session is designed to help you to identify the extent to which you currently tend to be:
Intuitive (getting a sense of the big picture) or detailed (focused on the nuts and bolts of situations and decisions)
Rational (making decisions based on facts) or emotional (making decisions based on feelings).
The key points are:
• Attention to detail and strong emotions are very useful – in their place. But intuitive and rational people identify more opportunities and make better decisions for building wealth from scratch.
• You can think and act more intuitively and rationally.
• You can get together with more intuitive, rational people and add their thinking resources to your team.
If you’re on the detailed side
Don’t feel bad! It’s a significant gift in its own right and an incredibly useful contribution to any work team or family. As you know, somebody has to check the thinking of the ‘big picture’ people, spot the holes, and
do the detailed follow-up it takes to make ideas work in practice. Somebody has to care about specifics and procedures and ‘getting it right.’ If you scored high on ‘detail’, then that’s probably you.
But for the purposes of setting out from scratch to build wealth, you can’t afford to think this way all the time or first off. You need to learn to dream, speculate and visualise: paint ideas with a broad brush without stopping yourself short by trying to put in too much detail too soon. When you’re talking to people about your ideas, you need to enthuse them with a vision and possibilities without getting bogged down in procedures and requirements.
It’s not that detail won’t be required; it’s just that it will be required later. Don’t get bogged down in it too early, or you’ll be in danger of ‘analysis paralysis’, that is getting so tied up in the nuts and bolts that you never reach the point of commitment which is where opportunities and resources start to mobilise themselves in your favour.
Think big first. Catch yourself if you start getting side-tracked by detail in the early stages of a plan, and resolve to put the details on hold until you have the big picture in place. You’ll have the opportunity to follow up in detail later.
Get together with big picture people. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to see the big picture, get big picture thinkers on your team. (We cover this in detail in Unit 2.) They will benefit from your detailed thinking as much as you will benefit from their intuition.
Experiment with big picture thinking. Some of the techniques covered in this program are specifically designed to tap into your intuition. Do the work. Give it a go. You may be surprised by the inner resources you uncover.
If you’re on the emotional side
Don’t get upset! Your positive emotions are likely to be a significant strength in your life and a great contribution to the lives of others. When you’re passionate, happy, enthusiastic and warm towards people, you’re at your best – and these qualities will help you to be positive and motivated in your pursuit of success. Unfortunately, you and I both know that that’s not the whole story.
Negative emotions get in the way of rational decision-making. Look back at the questionnaire and you’ll see some of them; anxiety, fear, worrying about what others think, feeling bad about rejection, feeling bad
about asking for what you want, feeling self-conscious with new people, feeling depressed about ‘failure’, and letting impatience hurry you into things.
Even positive emotions can get in the way of common sense. You can probably recall times when you got over-excited about something and made a decision you later regretted.
Monitor your feelings. When you’re faced with a decision, learn to pause and think about what you are feeling. Give it a name – angry, impatient, anxious, eager or whatever. Only by stopping and becoming consciously aware of your emotions can you prevent them from making decisions for you.
Think facts first. When you identify a strong emotion regarding a decision, resolve to put it aside. Focus on your goals and the facts. Focus on what is realistically likely to happen.
You can check the rational decision against how you feel about it later.
Take a reality check. When emotions are triggered, they tend to put a highly coloured spin on things. Learn to identify your emotion-coloured thoughts and statements and challenge them. Will that person really ‘hate’ you if you negotiate on price? Will you really ‘make a fool of yourself’ if you put forward a deal? Is that property really a good investment because you ‘love it’?
Get together with rational people. If you’re not confident about doing a reality check on your own, get someone on your team who will do it for you. I’m not talking about negative enthusiasm, dampeners: we’ve already decided we don’t need those around. I’m talking about people who will point out facts and likely results, and will challenge you to think rather than feel.
Experiment with rational thinking. Proactively seizing opportunities doesn’t mean making rash, emotion-driven decisions. The techniques covered in this program encourage you to do your homework, gather information, consider consequences, and prepare sensible strategies. Follow the guidelines and get the reality habit.