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5 Tactics to Stay Sharp in a Constantly Changing Environment

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I recently watched a compilation of SpaceX fails, and instantly came to the conclusion that the audacity of private space travel is both compelling and unsettling. I was a kid when the Challenger space shuttle exploded with a civilian on board and like most people at the time, I assumed space travel should be reserved for the government establishment.

Elon Musk, however, views the topic quite differently. Like other forward-thinkers, he adapts to a constantly changing landscape of political, financial, and technical dynamics that would overwhelm the vast majority of humanity. That same ability to adapt and remain sharp resides in you. You may not realize it, but by applying a few tactics, you can remain sharp in your arena of influence, no matter how much it shifts and changes.

Here are 5 tactics to make sure you stay sharp no matter what:

1. Fail Frequently

Every true expert in any field will tell you that failure is a major component to success. Thomas Edison took the sentiment a step further and said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” To stay sharp in a shifting environment, you must learn to fail frequently. In doing so, you maintain pace with changes in your environment and adjust your methods, thinking, and implementations to accommodate unpredictability, rather than avoid it. If you’re not willing to fail, you are incapable of success.

2. Embrace the Suck

I have a good friend who is an ultramarathon runner, and noticed she was wearing a hat that said, “Embrace The Suck.” Since I’m a former cross-country runner, I instantly understood the reference: “it’s gonna hurt, but go after it anyway.” How many of us embrace the lack of stability that comes with changing environments? Sadly, most of us do not. We complain, we blame, and we excuse the fact that we never stabilize.

What if we instead embraced the changes? What if we learned to accept the fact that business (and life) is always changing, and it’s a false reality to believe that anything is truly static? When we embrace the suck, we change our psychology. We come to grips with fluctuating terrain as a requisite component of growth. And when that happens, we are able to gain stability in the most uncertain environments. Sailors call it getting your sea legs.

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” – Henry Ford

3. Read a Lot

People like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Cuban, as well as most CEOs, read about 50 books per year. In fact, when asked about how he learned to make rockets, Elon Musk claimed he learned from “reading books.” Innovation is always predicated on existing knowledge, and existing knowledge is most often solidified in books. If you want to learn to adapt to shifting environments, you must build a foundation of knowledge that comes from spending a lot of time reading.

Study after study affirms this point. Reading can be accomplished in many ways, and part of remaining sharp requires you to diversify your input. I read about 30 books last year, but I also read several hundred articles, studies, and blog posts. Books tend to provide structural or foundational information, while articles, studies, and blog posts tend to apply knowledge. You need both to succeed in uncertainty.

4. Practice the Uncertain

I remember my first few years practicing law and I often envied attorneys who did personal injury work. In my view, they learned one area of law really well, performed the same tasks every day, the same way, for the same reason, hoping for the same outcome. Then there was me, being asked to advise or draft contracts for situations that had no framework or precedent.

Most of the time, it felt like being dropped out of an airplane into the jungle each morning, having no idea who I would encounter, what they would need, or why they needed it. I learned to adapt by doing the work, which became my practice. There’s an interesting thing that happens when you face uncertainty on a consistent basis: you become comfortable with it.

To this day, I may not know what type of client will walk in my door, or what they will need from me, but I can guarantee that I have practiced enough to have my own framework of reference for how to help a person move forward in whatever circumstances they face. I do this daily in my legal and consulting practices, but you can do this wherever you’re situated.

“Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.” – Peter McWilliams

5. Visualize the Process

There are times when no panorama exists for what you are facing, and no amount of failing, reading, or embracing will prepare you for the uncertainty you need to conquer. In situations like that, visualization can be the key to progress. Visualization, however, can feel awkward and it’s important to visualize the process before the outcome.

Start where you first encounter the problem and how you might interact with it. Look around (within your visualization) and notice if there are people or other assets available to impact the situation. Visualize yourself dealing with the situation one way and then another. Try many approaches and see if any of them work within your visualization.

The goal here is for your brain to start developing mental pathways towards success, and by visualizing your encounters with uncertainty, your brain collects hypothetical experience. I’ve used this tool with my consulting clients many times to help them process through shifting circumstances.

As an entrepreneur, business owner, CEO, or other leader, you possess the ability to adapt. It may not always feel like it, but it’s innate and simply needs to be activated. When you find yourself troubled by shifting circumstances, take a deep breath and look forward, knowing you now have some tools to navigate.

How to you navigate through uncertainty? Let us know by commenting below!

Brock Shinen has been guiding entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and creators for more than 13 years as an attorney, trainer, and strategic advisor. His passion is to see people and businesses transform by implementing smart, adaptable thinking leading towards economic and personal success. He is also the author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller, “Crush The Stops: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finishing Things.” You can also visit his website.

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Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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​​4 Boss Level Growth Strategies That Create an Optimized Life

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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Life

Practicing Self-Devotion: 3 Ways Towards a More Mindful and Compassionate You

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I can still hear the voices of my older relatives and my elementary school teachers telling me “be disciplined”, “keep at it”, to give time and energy towards what we want. As a young, impressionable child, I believed all those things because well, they made sense. They worked. And honestly, I felt like it’s the only way to flourish. (more…)

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