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Success Advice

6 Big Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job And Follow Your Passion

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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You are probably not satisfied with your job. You want to be successful and you feel that this can only happen if you draw up a resignation letterquit your job and follow your passion. Many people in this situation fear to venture out for the simple fear of how things will work out after they quit their jobs.

Quitting your job to follow your passion can have a lot of advantages especially if you put fear of the unknown aside. 

It is not easy quitting a job, but it could be well worth it.

The following are 6 good reasons why you should quit your current job and follow your passion.

 

1. You Will Get Fulfillment

When you pursue your passion, you will most definitely find fulfillment in what you do. You get the satisfaction of doing what you always desired to do. Remember, fulfillment is not only in money. There are many people who earn huge salaries but don’t find any personal fulfillment. This is simply because they are not living their passion.

In order to be successful, you must take immediate action with the sole intention of fulfilling your passion.

 

2. You Will Always Get Pleasant Surprises

By taking a firm decision of moving out into the world outside your constraining job, you never know what awaits you. But the good thing is that this action opens up immense possibilities, some of which you might not even have thought about. You go to places that you probably never imagined you would. You also meet people who are willing to welcome you and help you on as you pursue your passion. It is never as bad as it seems. But you can never realize the surprises awaiting you if you don’t venture out.

 

3. You Build Your Own Empire

life picture quoteWhen you are employed, most of your time and energy goes into building the fortunes of someone else. What you get in return is only a salary. This is not what you desire if you want to be successful. You have to build your own empire. But you cannot achieve this when you dedicate the best of your time and energy to the economic affairs of someone else.

With employment you miss so many opportunities of building your own personal success. There are very many options to be explored if only you dedicate most of your time and energy into it. Your thoughts will be more focused when you are thinking of fulfilling your passion. But your job could be the hindrance preventing you to make this great leap to freedom and success.

 

4. You Will Not Be Vulnerable

When you get a job, you hope that you will work smoothly until you retire. This is not the case these days. While having a job is good, in the current state of the economy one cannot be guaranteed of job security. Most employees are now at the mercy of the economy and their employers. They are increasingly vulnerable. But by following your passion you are in control of yourself. And with control you will have security and peace of mind.

 

5. You Will Be Empowered

In order to be successful you need to be empowered. This is may not be possible if you remain in your current job. To be empowered means that you must create your own reality using the immense potential in you. By quitting your job and pursuing your passion you are able to break the monotony of your current job and create your own reality. Taking control of your own life becomes immensely empowering.

 

6. You Will Be a Great Person One Day

Success does not happen overnight. Most personal success stories speak of people who painstakingly worked hard from humble beginnings without ever giving up or looking back. You do not have to compare yourself to others who have achieved success in your particular field of passion. They most probably did not compare themselves with those who attained success before them. You just need take small steps of faith and confidence and they will lead you to your greatness. Trust the skills you have and work on them. Eventually, you will realize that it was easier than you imagined when you were starting.

By quitting your job you will pursue your passion without distractions, you will meet new people, explore new places and change your life for good.

 

Checkout Doug Walker/Nostalgia Critic, he quit his job and now runs a very successful website by the name of: thatguywiththeglasses.com If you’re gonna quit you job, why not go out in style.

 

The Best Way To Quit Your Day Job

 

Have you quit your job to follow your passion? Please share what happened in our comment section, we’d love to hear your story.

 

Article By Joel Brown | Addicted2Success.com

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 100 million lives in the last 6 and a half years.

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54 Comments

54 Comments

  1. Bhushan Chavan

    Nov 15, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Great Article !! but sometimes it’s really hard to cope up with our passion because sometimes it’s really hard to make money from your passion and as time pass by your passion will change time to time.
    Thank You.

  2. mia

    Feb 3, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    The only thing it’s hard to do this when you have a family to support. Creating a business takes time and financial support is needed. What about the ones who have to stay in a job for financial reasons but would also like to do something of their own? This point is one that is always missed.

  3. Calvin

    Feb 21, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Actually yesterday I quit my job to pursue my own company and passion, today my partner and I suffered our first rejection. Things look kinda scary now. But Monday we meet with new potential clients and the world is a big place full of opportunities. While I feel fear, I still feel so much better finally working towards my dream and not someone else’s for a horrible salary. Good luck to others taking the plunge.

  4. Matt

    Oct 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    One more comment – Joel has a picture quote here on his website that struck me that goes along with his article here. It is very akin to number 3 in the list. This saying is by Tony Gaskins Jr. – “If you don’t build your own dream, then some else will hire you to build theirs” – I think that says it all.

    • Clarke

      Dec 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      You’re correct. If I can put 100% to someone else place of employment, I can do the same for me. I resigned from my job on October 31 of this year.

      I wish everyone the best in their future endeavors.

  5. Matt

    Oct 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Everyone here – don’t misunderstand Joels article. He is just saying that you should follow your passion and it will make you happier. This is true. He is not saying you “have” to jump in with both feet. If your circumstances warrant, start out part time and work you way up. There have been may many people that have started that way. My favorite is Pro Blogger Darren Rowse took 3 years to go full time and nothing says you can do that either. Joels’ point in this is article is JUST START.

  6. jose

    Jul 22, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Hi, i do think that quitting jobs is fine as long as you know exactly what you want to do, have an action plan and the will to execute on it. Attaning financial discipline doesnt hurt either, especially in the first days of your new adventure.

    It strikes me how vacuous the word “passion” has become nowadays, as people seems to use it to describe something they probably only like. Most worrying is the fact that people keep giving advice to quit your job so you can follow your passion and become “what you ever wanted”

    One should be able to follow their passion no matter what, no matter your job, no matter your family, no matter anything, even if its only for you, as an UNPAID hobby . If its truly a passion, you should already be doing it now instead of “waiting for the right moment”

    But maybe the passion is there (or at least a higher goal) and for one reason or other, you havent started. Before quitting jobs, I would suggest one last exercise just to check if you are talkin about a passion or just a small infatuation: On any given month and during a month… can you come back home from a day-work, and work for 2 or 3hours in that thing you say you love, and feeling happy about it? by happy i mean that you want to come home just to keep doing that… after the month passes, multiply the result by the rest of your life; can you imagine yourself doing the same thing until you die? if the answer is positive, then Congratulations! there is a good chance that you found a true passion (wether it can be succesfully monetized is another question). If any of the answers are negative, even if you could endure the whole month, it might be a good idea to wait a little bit more.

  7. Heather

    Jun 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I was struggling for a longtime with the decision to quit my job and follow my passion (I have been at my job for 10 years now) but after reading this my struggling is over!. With in the next couple of weeks I will be quitting my job to follow my passion and I am so EXCITED!!! about what new opportunities awaits . Thanks Joel for writing this article I asked the universe for a sign that I was making a good decision and it sent me this article. 🙂

    • Antonina

      Jul 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Me too, Heather, it’s late at night and I’m reading Joel’s article again and again trying to find support of making decision to quit my job. Thank Joel for such an encouraging article. Life is to short to be unhappy. Let’s make a change. I’m going to quit by the end of this month – a job I’ve been working for 19 years. I guess you have had quitted by now. Wish you all the best.

      • Joel

        Joel

        Jul 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm

        Good on you Antonia, make sure you have a clear and precise plan of how you will generate your money and follow your passion.
        Much success to you Antonia!

        • Antonina

          Jul 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

          Thank you Joel. All the best to you.

      • Heather

        Jul 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        Hi Antonina, Thanks for the reply and yes I handed in my resignation letter last Friday! 😀 I feel such a peace my Boss wasn’t to happy but it doesn’t matter my dreams and passion are more important. I had invested 10 years building someone else’s dream now I’m going to invest in my life and build and go after my passion. I am so excited for you to quit your job its takes courage and you have got it! 🙂 thanks for the support and I am with you Lets make change! Keep me posted and I am supporting you 100% to quit your job and start following your passion! Wish you all the best as well.

        Thanks again Joel for the article!

  8. John J. Cloran

    May 1, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Sometimes stuff happens in life when we usually don’t expect it to happen.
    Some things we can control and some things we do our best at. I’m passionate and greatful for all things in life.I love my job there’s nothing like finding some one a job. I did what I had to do to change some things in my life.I’m a 55 year old gentleman. I went from making 40,000 thousand down to 21,000 in six years. Every morning I wake up and am grateful for my job!!!!

    • Mariely Pratts

      May 27, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      I felt so good when I quit my job to start building my company and so far it’s going well

  9. Boss

    Apr 27, 2013 at 7:50 am

    When I got my 1st job I gave myself 10yrs of working in corporate to learn the tricks of the trade. On my 13th year annivesary (7months ago) I realised that I was 3yrs behind on the plan, and I was appalled at myself for being so complacent, that I immediately resigned and walked out on the spot. I have now started building my dream running my own investment company with interests in various operations. Its still touch and go and painstakingly slow, but every monday morning I’m grateful I’m doing something I’m passionate about. All I can say is don’t settle for what aint yours.

  10. toy

    Apr 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I’m planning on quitting my job in July so far I’ve been saving my money…I’m a music artist who writes and produces. I recently got my logo trademarked and I’m a little nervous to quit. But I’ve been there for 7 years no raise, no benefits no promotion. Im very unhappy. My rent is cheap and I could always bartend.

  11. Laura

    Mar 20, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I quit mi job almost 3 years ago. I was a travel agent, but my dream was to travel the world on my own, and write about it. It took me some time to make my final decision, but it was worthy. Now, when I hang out with my ex collegues and hear them complaining about the same situations over and over again, I feel I made the right choice. I don’t make as much money as I used to, but I feel very happy. I write for a couple of magazines and I’m about to get my 1st book published. This is my dream job…Hope I build my own empire one day!

  12. V

    Mar 2, 2013 at 3:02 am

    I have recently resigned from my job which I have had for five years. After two years of a great internal struggle about all the reasons why I need to stay with a job that was leaving me unchallenged and unfulfilled, I am finally ready to take this step. I am genuinely excited at the prospect of a new chapter unfolding and trust myself and the universe that this is a great move for me. I am ready to take a leap of faith into the unknown because the pain of staying where I am (stuck) is far greater than trusting my gut (and heart) to follow my dreams and do what I want to do in my life.

  13. Suzy

    Jan 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I quit my job in June of 2012 and have had the most incredible 6 months so far! I was burnt out in my job, even though it was a great company and I miss the people and the clients, I have never been happier. My passion is helping people and through volunteer work and my coaching business I get to help people everyday! If you are stuck in a rut, I highly recommend a change.

    • kellen

      Jun 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Suzy. What kind of tips can you provide on starting a coaching business.

    • Amyb

      Sep 29, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Hi Suzy, what your passion is exactly what I want to do, but I don’t know how to make a start up.

  14. Quornesha Silas

    Jan 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for this article very eye opening and confirming! #props

  15. Our Hero

    Jan 11, 2013 at 12:43 am

    I haven’t given my job a dear John yet,(it’s not you,it’s me…) but I have cut down to part time. It’s going slow and every day I question if I made a mistake… but we are hanging in there.

  16. Julie

    Jan 11, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Easier said than done. What if you hate your job but make a lot of money, are a single mom and have no family? My passion is fishing and art – doubt I could make what Im making now, not incl 401k match, dental & medical insurance…. 🙁

    • patty

      Jan 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Julie – you can… I am doing that… you gotta be hungry like Les Brown says and find a way.

      i chose an at home business, there are very reputable ones out there if you take the time to review the company, and what it has to offer.

  17. Your1440.com

    Jan 3, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Life is simply too short to be miserable. If you are truly unhappy at your current place of employment, then it is probably time to move on. When and how you move on is up to you, but please do not waste too much precious time before finalizing this decision.

    Time is the most precious commodity that we have. Make the most of the time that you have been given, and change your world for the better! You CAN do it!

    -Your1440.com

  18. Drew

    Jan 3, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Great post. I hope everyone reading this declares 2013 as the year to take action on your passion and find the work you love to do! Passion Changes The World!

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Success Advice

5 Simple Ways You Can Unleash Your Maximum Personal Potential

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maximize your potential
Image Credit: Unsplash

Imagine living a life with unlimited potential, and you could achieve whatever you want. How good would that be? Nobody wants to live in mediocrity and everyone wants to live an extraordinary and fulfilling life. However, this is far from the truth.

Most people desire to live a limitless life, but most of them fail to realize their maximum potential. They are blocked by their own fears, stopped by the naysayers who tell them that what they want is impossible, and often get dejected by their own mistakes and failures.

Using the famous quote, “you only live once,” you may want to seriously consider living your life with your full potential. What if you have the potential to be extremely successful but because of self-doubt you don’t take action and live until age 80 only to feel regret?

I believe that nobody wants to live life with regrets, and no one wants to go through the journey with a limited potential. It is time for you to take charge of your life and start living life with your full potential.

Here are the 5 simple ways you can unleash your personal potential to help you reach a higher ground and achieve greater success in life:

1. Set a target and work towards it

Always start with a purpose and a goal. What is your intention, and what are the things that you want to be, do, and achieve in your life?

Without a clear target, you are living life like a lost sheep, following the crowd and going nowhere. Finding out what you want to accomplish in life is one of the most fundamental keys to reaching your potential. When you have a goal and work towards it, you are giving clear instructions to your mind of what you want to achieve.

Life is like shooting an arrow. If you want to hit the bull’s eye, you must first identify the target. Without knowing where you want to go, you will end up nowhere. Therefore, identify your purpose in life. Sit down and think deeply of what kind of lifestyle you want to live and what are the things that truly matter to you. Pursue them.

Set goals and pour in your effort to achieve them. No matter what goals you are trying to achieve, when you work consciously toward something you desire, you are building great habits and growing your potential in that area.

2. Raise your standards

The next thing you can do to unleash your potential is to raise your standards.

First, you must not compare yourself with others because your only competitor in your life is yourself. You just need to do better than yourself. If you are trying to compare yourself with others, there will be no end. There is always another mountain which is higher.

Second, set your own benchmarks. As long as you are moving forward and making progress, you should feel proud of yourself. You should focus on what you can do to improve yourself to do better each day instead of comparing yourself to others. There will be others making progress faster than you, but that’s absolutely alright because that’s how life works.

Finally, raise your standards and turn your “should” into “must.” When you do that, you are making the inner shift to mastering and improving the quality of your life. Tony Robbins says, “Any area you are not getting what you want is because you haven’t raised your standards.”

No matter what goals or what kind of achievement you want to accomplish, you will never get them as long as you still cling to your older self, and not raise the bar of your level of acceptance.

“Raise your standards and you will rise along with them.” – Mastin Kipp

3. Maintain your self-confidence

Your self-confidence is important when it comes to unleashing your maximum potential. When you are confident, you perform better. One of the easiest ways to increase your self-confidence is through preparation.

Les Brown said it wisely, “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” Preparation is all about making the effort. If you want to be a successful footballer, your preparation is training. The more you train, the better you become. The better you become, the more self-confidence you will have.

Regardless of what industry or field you are in, you must always get yourself prepared. If you are a writer, write and consistently improve your writing skills. If you are in business, learn the business in and out and improve your skills so that you can grow your business to the next level.

Your level of preparation will determine your level of self-confidence. Remember that.

4. Build your momentum by taking baby steps

Success is a journey and not a destination. When it comes to unleashing your personal potential, it is not like taking a pill. There is no shortcut.

You have to grow your characters, habits, traits, and qualities by taking baby steps. Even if you are an extremely hard working person and you work 20 hours a day, success will not come to you overnight. It takes time.

Choose to build your momentum by making consistent progress. When you take small baby steps each day, you are growing your momentum. Eventually, you reach a tipping point and success will come to you. The problem with most people is that they quit and give up as soon as they don’t receive the results they want.

You need to build your inertia and maintain your momentum by making consistent progress. A river cuts through rocks not because of its power, but because of its persistence. Just like a river, that’s what you need to unleash your greatness.

“I start early and I stay late, day after day, year after year, it took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” – Lionel Messi

5. Consistently pursue personal growth

You cannot grow and become better if you are not willing to learn. I love this quote from Zig Ziglar, “If you’re not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you’re determined to learn, no one can stop you.” The key is to commit to constant and never-ending improvement. Each day, you have to strive to get better than yesterday.

When you fail or you don’t get what you want in life, remember, it is because of you. When you become someone worthy of the success you want, success will come to you automatically. You don’t get what you want, you get what you become.

When you improve your knowledge, your skills, and increase your potential, better and higher success will come to you. Thus, focus on building and growing yourself. Commit to consistently pursuing your personal growth.

Which one of the above ways resonated most with you to expand your personal potential? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

Why Smart People Think Beyond Reason to Make Powerful Decisions

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decision making
Image Credit: Unsplash

How long has it been since you’ve had a tough decision to make at work? I bet it happens regularly, if it is not on a daily basis. Sure, making decisions can be exhilarating, but it can also be draining. Sometimes dreadful.

Your pulse accelerates, you start to sweat, your mind jumps from one point to the next, hoping to settle on something. You really want to make the right decision for you, for your team, for your organization. But often times, it can be a tough call. You wish you had the perfect step-by-step recipe to get to the right decision.

Well, in fact, decision-making is quite a complex process for everyone. So much that it is a very popular topic in management research.

For decades, academics have observed and interviewed successful senior leaders to understand and model the thought process that take them to the right decision. These studies resulted in the inescapable rational process. Which we are all very aware of.But what if there was a better way to make decisions that doesn’t just rely on rational thinking?

The problem with rational thinking

rational thinking

We are trained from an early age to develop our rational abilities. We are taught to systematically gather the relevant data, to analyze it, to design options and evaluate them, until we make the final decision. It is as a slow process requiring conscious and sustained effort. Our rational thinking make progress step by step and draws a logical conclusion. And that’s great. Indispensable.

I couldn’t agree more. I hold a Bachelor of Mathematics, and a scientific Master’s degree in Management. My natural preference is rational thinking. However, I must admit that rational thinking can be wrong. Or jammed, unable to decide.

I mean, do you always have enough time to gather data, analyze, evaluate options and decide? Do you always have all the data that is necessary? Does it sometimes happen, on the contrary, that you have so much data that it is overwhelming and you can no longer distinguish the forest from the trees? What if there was another way?

Rational thinking is not your only option

rational thinking

Senior leaders realize, and researchers have found out, that all decisions are not, or are not only, based on rational thinking. Decision-making also leverages … intuitive thinking. Smart leaders consider their intuitions — in addition to their rational analysis — when making decisions.

And the truth is, leaders consider their intuitions — in addition to their rational analysis — when making decisions:

“90% of the 60 leaders who participated in a study reported using their intuition in combination with rational data analysis. They found that their decisions were accelerated, and were better.” (Burke, Miller, 1999)

“Managers at the top of every [of the 2000] organizations surveyed scored higher than middle or lower-level managers on their ability to use their intuition to guide their key decisions.” (Agor, 1986)

This is a well-kept secret, isn’t it? I bet you rarely hear someone at work trying to convince you that this decision is better because his instinct says so. We would rather emphasize the extensive research and analysis we have done to give credibility to our decision.

However, it doesn’t mean that intuition is not instrumental to the process. So, let me explain what intuition is, exactly.

How intuition helps you reach the right decisions

intuition

Neuroscience understands that the human brain thinks in two different ways. There’s the rational process, as described above, and the intuitive process. The latter is not esoteric, magical, nor is it about a premonition.

Intuitions are the conclusions that spontaneously raise to your consciousness, without you being aware of the intermediate stages — although it is often possible to justify your intuition after the fact.

Imagine meeting someone for the first time. Within a blink of the eye, you have an opinion of the person. That’s an intuition. And, contrarily to reason, intuition is incredibly fast. Intuitions are conveyed to your consciousness by your emotions. The first thing that comes to mind is the feelings you have for this person. You like or dislike, you trust or you don’t.

Rather than dissecting information, the intuitive process of the brain makes connections almost instantaneously based on your experiences. By analogy and association, it synthesizes and jumps to conclusions. Beneath the surface, when you meet this person for the first time, your brain finds similarities with people you’ve known in the past, and concludes.

Intuition is thus essentially based on the knowledge accumulated through your experiences, all too often forgotten, and on the models of the world that you have created for yourself, of which you are often not aware of. You may or may not realize that this person in front of you reminds you of the type of people you don’t trust, as an example.

In fact, because it is spontaneous and effortless, intuition is the way of thinking that drives the majority of the decisions you make in a day. If the stakes are not high, intuition will prevail, it is so much easier and efficient. Whether you are conscious of it or not. Whether you like it or not.

Here are a few examples:

  • You slow down your car in traffic, because you instinctively understand that the car on the other lane is trying to cut you off.
  • You pick clothes in your closet that feel comfortable if you don’t have an official meeting today. You don’t need to rationally think over your choice.
  • You accept an invitation without hesitation because it feels exciting and you have time. No need for some complex thinking here either.

Does that mean you should always listen to your intuition?

listen to your intuition

Now, is this to say that your intuition is always right? Sorry, it is not the case. The quality of your intuitions depends on the quality of the knowledge you hold, and thus of your learning.

In fact, as you are getting experienced in your job, as you face numerous situations and overcome challenges, you develop mental models on the appropriate ways to react. That’s called expert intuition. It explains why senior people can make decision swiftly, without hesitation, and without a long rational process.

Your expertise may not only be related to your job. You can also be an expert in human relations, for example. If you have always been fascinated by people, and an avid observer of good and not-so-good interactions, you may intuitively know how to react with difficult people or situations.

However, a word of caution. Intuition can also tap into your biases and your fears. In those occasions, intuition could be wrong, and it is really difficult to tell when this happens. Intuitions, at the end of the day, are no more no less than assumptions. That’s why engaging both rational thinking and intuitive thinking is so important.

How smart people use intuition to make the best decisions

using your intuition

Let’s say you are in a restaurant. You read the menu, and choose one food rather than another according to how you feel about it. It is then your intuitive process that intervenes, without real awareness of what leads you to that choice.

That being said, if you are following a particular diet, you may rule out your initial choice. You can be the impartial observer of your feelings. You can decide to slow down for a second and have your rational thinking intervene to choose more proper food for you. You have a veto power over your intuitions.

The same holds true for decisions made in a professional context, even for the most rational of us. You have intuitions, and you have rational thoughts.

Let me ask you a question: When you have a decision to make, how would you describe your typical thought process?

  1. You spontaneously have a feeling of what the right decision is, and then you engage your rational thinking to confirm whether or not your intuition is right. That is called strategic intuition.
  2. You first collect data, you analyze it, you evaluate your options, you make a rational decision and then you stop for a moment to perceive how you feel about the decision. That’s called conclusive intuition.

Strategic intuition and conclusive intuition are both efficient. But it speaks to your natural preference, and to the level of experience you hold. The more experience, the more mental models you developed over time, and the easiest it is for your brain to make connections and associations, and thus generate intuitions.

In both instances, integrating intuition and reason increases dramatically the potential for you to make the right decision.

Intuition is really an assumption your brain makes based on your experience. Relying solely on your intuition could be risky, unless you don’t have the time to analyze the situation rationally — for example, in the middle of a heated discussion, or a particularly stressful situation.

Depending solely on your reason is also suboptimal. Your brain has the capacity to detect information beneath the surface which could have a crucial impact on your decision. Ignoring it could lead you to the wrong conclusion.

The more you navigate between the two processes, the more knowledge you tap into, the better the decisions, and the more you can adapt to circumstances. You can decide how much you rely on one or the other — or both. It is a matter of choice, and practice.

Make the best use of your brain’s powers to make smart decisions

brain power

Imagine that going forward, you listen to the little voice inside of you, in addition to proceeding systematically, rationally.

Imagine that going forward, you navigate between your reason and your intuition. You dig deeper into your feelings, the voice of your intuition, and challenge your reason. Similarly, you observe impartially feelings that arise, take a step back, and apply your veto if you know better.

Navigating between your reason and your intuition, you tap into the knowledge you are aware of at a conscious level, and also into the wisdom you hold beneath the surface. Chances are that you will make better informed decisions, even if time is short, data is insufficient, or contradictory.

As a senior leader once told me:This will make the difference between a potential of success, and an assured failure.

References:

This article is based on the research I performed for my Master’s thesis (2017). The full bibliography includes over 100 articles and books, of which:

BURKE, Lisa A., MILLER, Monica K., Taking the mystery out of intuitive decision-making Academy of Management Executive, Vol. 13, №4, p. 91–98, New York, Academy of Management, 1999

AGOR, Weston H., The Logic of Intuition: How Top Executives Make Important Decisions, Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 14, №3, p. 5–18, Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1986

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Success Advice

5 B.S. Facts About High Performers Everyone Thinks Is True

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high performers
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High performers are often seen in the world as people who set their mind on something and make it happen regardless of what it takes to get it accomplished. Much of the time that may be true. However, the way high performers are seen in the world is often in direct conflict with the way they behave when people aren’t watching. Even though they are seen as amazing experts and masters to others, they often see themselves as in need of improvement and can feel dissatisfied with the results they have achieved.

Despite how they appear, they are not much different than you or me with one exception. High performers are totally committed to what it is that they are doing. They function within the uncertainty of daily life just as you do but they conquer their limitations differently. Whether the odds are stacked with them or against them, a high performer will be totally committed to reaching their goals.

You may even be a high performer yourself and don’t realize it because some of your habits would not be considered high level ones. It is common for individuals to compare their accomplishments to others based on what we observe as their results.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – Nelson Mandela

In fact, you may have lowered your personal bar of excellence because you thought you didn’t measure up to those that always seem to land at the top no matter what. I think you’d be surprised to learn that many very successful high performers don’t function the way you think they do.

Here are 5 B.S. facts about high performers that everyone thinks is true:

B.S. Fact #1 – Perfection is the way they play their game

You would think that in order to appear perfect you would probably need to do everything perfectly. It’s so not true! High performers actually pursue excellence as a goal and not perfection. It allows them to get more done with a higher level of consistency and sets them up for success rather than failure.

B.S. Fact #2 – Organization is their secret weapon

Just take a look at the desk of a genius. You probably wouldn’t be able to see the surface beneath the stacks of books, papers and whatever else may be on top of it. High performers typically have a formula as to where they put things and why. To the observer, it’s usually just a big mess with no identifiable system. However, I assure you, a high performer will still know where everything is regardless of the chaos that surrounds their personal space and schedule.

B.S. Fact #3 – They’ve all walked Ivy League hallways

Though it is true that many well educated people reach great success, statistically, some of the most influential success stories are about people who lacked resources and education. High performers will always seek out whatever or whoever is available so that they can learn what they need to and create their vision despite whatever odds happen to be stacked against them.

B.S. Fact #4 – They don’t have squirrel brain

Focus. It seems like this would be the number one rule to follow on the road to results.  However, there are many high performers who get distracted by people and ideas that totally derail them from what they were doing. Often times, it is not their focus but their agenda that keeps them on track. They know what they need to do even if it doesn’t always get accomplished in the way they thought they would get it done. However, it always gets done.

“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.” – Robert H. Schuller

B.S. Fact #5 – They see themselves as the king of the jungle

Confidence seems to pour out of those who always seem to succeed. When, in reality, so many high performers struggle with it. Questioning whether or not they’re doing the right things or whether what they’re doing is good enough can be a constant personal dialogue. Fear of being negatively judged is the biggest reason why most people don’t take chances or take action on their big dreams but high performers move forward anyway. Their insecurity doesn’t stop them from what they want.

So, why should it matter to you what is fact or fiction about high performers? The answer; because you will compare yourself to others at times and it would be a tragedy if you stopped yourself from achieving big goals due to a belief that you’re not as good as someone else.

High performers achieve results. They know what they want, they plan it and they achieve it. Just because you have a few habits that won’t get applauded if people actually knew about them doesn’t mean that you can’t be one of the experts or podium finishers too.

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Success Advice

Do You Want to Become a Leader? Read This First

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How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage? The test of leadership isn’t done on the couch, discussing things with internet trolls and commentators. Leadership, like philosophy, is action-based and can’t be separated from that into a purely theoretical field.

To become a leader, it isn’t enough to read about it, you need to live through it. That leads us to the first point.

1. Experience trumps theory

Theory and practice are the same in theory, but they are not the same in practice. For you to become a leader, you need to put yourself in situations which demand leadership. If you are at home trying really hard to think about situations where leadership is required and can’t find a place where that can happen, you are not thinking about the problems in your life and community.

Leadership is about going through uncertainty while showing people a better way. So any area of life where there is uncertainty is an area where there is a possibility for leadership to emerge.

You don’t have to lead a company of 10,000 employees to experience leadership, you can do it in a local community of 5 people or as I did in a leadership organization with 200 people. But leadership doesn’t start with leading other people, it starts with leading yourself.

“Leadership is practice not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” – Harold S. Geneen

2. To lead others, you must learn to lead yourself

Telling other people what they need to do is “easy.” Showing the way yourself is a hundred times harder. Because what you do speaks so loud that people can’t hear what you’re saying. In other words, leadership is about having personal integrity and practicing what you preach. You would never follow the advice of a fat personal trainer, a broke accountant, or a real estate agent who doesn’t even own a dog house.

You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all. But the thing is that this is easier said than done. I remember when we had a crisis in our team back in 2013. Every single person from the team quit, leaving the president and me alone to fight the battle. My integrity of not quitting didn’t let me walk away and we kept pushing together.

That’s what leadership is about – you need to walk the talk. Because to lead yourself and to lead others, you need to make decisions which follow up your integrity. That leads us to the third point.

3. Leadership is about making the right, painful decisions

If you choose easy decisions, your life will be hard. If you choose hard decisions, your life will be easy. And there are numerous decisions which leaders did in the past which have been hard at the moment. But when you’re a leader, you don’t make decisions on a scale of easy-hard, you make them on a scale of right-wrong.

Firing the VP of sales is always hard. But doing it because he violated the principles of the company makes it right. It’s a trade-off 90% of people are not willing to make and I see it day in, day out. As soon as a decision becomes hard, people start doubting their values, morals, and integrity. They let the fear of uncertainty cloud their judgments and they make an easy call.

They let the VP stay because it’s the easy thing to do and with that, they seal their fate. Leadership is painful and it always was. I remember when I had to let 20 people go or fire two of my VPs. Was it hard? Of course it was. But it was the right thing to do. This doesn’t make the decision any easier, but it makes it bearable.

You know where you need to lead people and even though there is massive uncertainty, you need to be certain that you will figure out any problem that comes in front of you. Which brings us to the last point.

“Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” – Brian Tracy

4. You need to have unyielding faith that you will prevail in the end

You don’t need to know every step of the way, but you need to know how you will react to problems. You need to be sure, absolutely, that you will deal, manage, and handle every single problem that comes your way and that your team and people who you lead are unstoppable on their way to achieving the vision.

This is unquestionable. You have no idea what will attack you, but you are certain that you will handle it. This is how you lead people through everything in life. This is how Shackleton led his expedition for 2 years on the Antarctic and how every single one of his people survived the hardships that attacked them.

Because people turn to the leader in face of trouble and that’s when you show your true face. Do you show your weak side, flounder, and run? Or do you stand strong like a supporting rock on which people can lean on?

When you deal with fire, you will learn how to defeat it without having your people get burned. You will sacrifice yourself and gain scars which don’t serve as a sign of victimhood but as a proof of courage. Are you gonna be courageous or are you gonna run away? There is only one way to find out.

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10 Lessons for Bootstrapping Your Startup to $1M Annual Revenue

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In an entrepreneurial landscape dominated by headlines of unicorn startups and billion-dollar acquisitions, getting a company to $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) may sound like small change. Let’s be real, though, hitting $1 million ARR is an aspirational milestone most young companies can relate to. And it’s not that easy, especially if you’ve secured modest investments or no investment at all. (more…)

Kenneth Burke is the Marketing Director at Text Request, a business texting software company.

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54 Comments

54 Comments

  1. Bhushan Chavan

    Nov 15, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Great Article !! but sometimes it’s really hard to cope up with our passion because sometimes it’s really hard to make money from your passion and as time pass by your passion will change time to time.
    Thank You.

  2. mia

    Feb 3, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    The only thing it’s hard to do this when you have a family to support. Creating a business takes time and financial support is needed. What about the ones who have to stay in a job for financial reasons but would also like to do something of their own? This point is one that is always missed.

  3. Calvin

    Feb 21, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Actually yesterday I quit my job to pursue my own company and passion, today my partner and I suffered our first rejection. Things look kinda scary now. But Monday we meet with new potential clients and the world is a big place full of opportunities. While I feel fear, I still feel so much better finally working towards my dream and not someone else’s for a horrible salary. Good luck to others taking the plunge.

  4. Matt

    Oct 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    One more comment – Joel has a picture quote here on his website that struck me that goes along with his article here. It is very akin to number 3 in the list. This saying is by Tony Gaskins Jr. – “If you don’t build your own dream, then some else will hire you to build theirs” – I think that says it all.

    • Clarke

      Dec 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      You’re correct. If I can put 100% to someone else place of employment, I can do the same for me. I resigned from my job on October 31 of this year.

      I wish everyone the best in their future endeavors.

  5. Matt

    Oct 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Everyone here – don’t misunderstand Joels article. He is just saying that you should follow your passion and it will make you happier. This is true. He is not saying you “have” to jump in with both feet. If your circumstances warrant, start out part time and work you way up. There have been may many people that have started that way. My favorite is Pro Blogger Darren Rowse took 3 years to go full time and nothing says you can do that either. Joels’ point in this is article is JUST START.

  6. jose

    Jul 22, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Hi, i do think that quitting jobs is fine as long as you know exactly what you want to do, have an action plan and the will to execute on it. Attaning financial discipline doesnt hurt either, especially in the first days of your new adventure.

    It strikes me how vacuous the word “passion” has become nowadays, as people seems to use it to describe something they probably only like. Most worrying is the fact that people keep giving advice to quit your job so you can follow your passion and become “what you ever wanted”

    One should be able to follow their passion no matter what, no matter your job, no matter your family, no matter anything, even if its only for you, as an UNPAID hobby . If its truly a passion, you should already be doing it now instead of “waiting for the right moment”

    But maybe the passion is there (or at least a higher goal) and for one reason or other, you havent started. Before quitting jobs, I would suggest one last exercise just to check if you are talkin about a passion or just a small infatuation: On any given month and during a month… can you come back home from a day-work, and work for 2 or 3hours in that thing you say you love, and feeling happy about it? by happy i mean that you want to come home just to keep doing that… after the month passes, multiply the result by the rest of your life; can you imagine yourself doing the same thing until you die? if the answer is positive, then Congratulations! there is a good chance that you found a true passion (wether it can be succesfully monetized is another question). If any of the answers are negative, even if you could endure the whole month, it might be a good idea to wait a little bit more.

  7. Heather

    Jun 12, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I was struggling for a longtime with the decision to quit my job and follow my passion (I have been at my job for 10 years now) but after reading this my struggling is over!. With in the next couple of weeks I will be quitting my job to follow my passion and I am so EXCITED!!! about what new opportunities awaits . Thanks Joel for writing this article I asked the universe for a sign that I was making a good decision and it sent me this article. 🙂

    • Antonina

      Jul 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Me too, Heather, it’s late at night and I’m reading Joel’s article again and again trying to find support of making decision to quit my job. Thank Joel for such an encouraging article. Life is to short to be unhappy. Let’s make a change. I’m going to quit by the end of this month – a job I’ve been working for 19 years. I guess you have had quitted by now. Wish you all the best.

      • Joel

        Joel

        Jul 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm

        Good on you Antonia, make sure you have a clear and precise plan of how you will generate your money and follow your passion.
        Much success to you Antonia!

        • Antonina

          Jul 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

          Thank you Joel. All the best to you.

      • Heather

        Jul 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

        Hi Antonina, Thanks for the reply and yes I handed in my resignation letter last Friday! 😀 I feel such a peace my Boss wasn’t to happy but it doesn’t matter my dreams and passion are more important. I had invested 10 years building someone else’s dream now I’m going to invest in my life and build and go after my passion. I am so excited for you to quit your job its takes courage and you have got it! 🙂 thanks for the support and I am with you Lets make change! Keep me posted and I am supporting you 100% to quit your job and start following your passion! Wish you all the best as well.

        Thanks again Joel for the article!

  8. John J. Cloran

    May 1, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Sometimes stuff happens in life when we usually don’t expect it to happen.
    Some things we can control and some things we do our best at. I’m passionate and greatful for all things in life.I love my job there’s nothing like finding some one a job. I did what I had to do to change some things in my life.I’m a 55 year old gentleman. I went from making 40,000 thousand down to 21,000 in six years. Every morning I wake up and am grateful for my job!!!!

    • Mariely Pratts

      May 27, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      I felt so good when I quit my job to start building my company and so far it’s going well

  9. Boss

    Apr 27, 2013 at 7:50 am

    When I got my 1st job I gave myself 10yrs of working in corporate to learn the tricks of the trade. On my 13th year annivesary (7months ago) I realised that I was 3yrs behind on the plan, and I was appalled at myself for being so complacent, that I immediately resigned and walked out on the spot. I have now started building my dream running my own investment company with interests in various operations. Its still touch and go and painstakingly slow, but every monday morning I’m grateful I’m doing something I’m passionate about. All I can say is don’t settle for what aint yours.

  10. toy

    Apr 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I’m planning on quitting my job in July so far I’ve been saving my money…I’m a music artist who writes and produces. I recently got my logo trademarked and I’m a little nervous to quit. But I’ve been there for 7 years no raise, no benefits no promotion. Im very unhappy. My rent is cheap and I could always bartend.

  11. Laura

    Mar 20, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I quit mi job almost 3 years ago. I was a travel agent, but my dream was to travel the world on my own, and write about it. It took me some time to make my final decision, but it was worthy. Now, when I hang out with my ex collegues and hear them complaining about the same situations over and over again, I feel I made the right choice. I don’t make as much money as I used to, but I feel very happy. I write for a couple of magazines and I’m about to get my 1st book published. This is my dream job…Hope I build my own empire one day!

  12. V

    Mar 2, 2013 at 3:02 am

    I have recently resigned from my job which I have had for five years. After two years of a great internal struggle about all the reasons why I need to stay with a job that was leaving me unchallenged and unfulfilled, I am finally ready to take this step. I am genuinely excited at the prospect of a new chapter unfolding and trust myself and the universe that this is a great move for me. I am ready to take a leap of faith into the unknown because the pain of staying where I am (stuck) is far greater than trusting my gut (and heart) to follow my dreams and do what I want to do in my life.

  13. Suzy

    Jan 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I quit my job in June of 2012 and have had the most incredible 6 months so far! I was burnt out in my job, even though it was a great company and I miss the people and the clients, I have never been happier. My passion is helping people and through volunteer work and my coaching business I get to help people everyday! If you are stuck in a rut, I highly recommend a change.

    • kellen

      Jun 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Suzy. What kind of tips can you provide on starting a coaching business.

    • Amyb

      Sep 29, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Hi Suzy, what your passion is exactly what I want to do, but I don’t know how to make a start up.

  14. Quornesha Silas

    Jan 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for this article very eye opening and confirming! #props

  15. Our Hero

    Jan 11, 2013 at 12:43 am

    I haven’t given my job a dear John yet,(it’s not you,it’s me…) but I have cut down to part time. It’s going slow and every day I question if I made a mistake… but we are hanging in there.

  16. Julie

    Jan 11, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Easier said than done. What if you hate your job but make a lot of money, are a single mom and have no family? My passion is fishing and art – doubt I could make what Im making now, not incl 401k match, dental & medical insurance…. 🙁

    • patty

      Jan 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Julie – you can… I am doing that… you gotta be hungry like Les Brown says and find a way.

      i chose an at home business, there are very reputable ones out there if you take the time to review the company, and what it has to offer.

  17. Your1440.com

    Jan 3, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Life is simply too short to be miserable. If you are truly unhappy at your current place of employment, then it is probably time to move on. When and how you move on is up to you, but please do not waste too much precious time before finalizing this decision.

    Time is the most precious commodity that we have. Make the most of the time that you have been given, and change your world for the better! You CAN do it!

    -Your1440.com

  18. Drew

    Jan 3, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Great post. I hope everyone reading this declares 2013 as the year to take action on your passion and find the work you love to do! Passion Changes The World!

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Success Advice

5 Simple Ways You Can Unleash Your Maximum Personal Potential

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Imagine living a life with unlimited potential, and you could achieve whatever you want. How good would that be? Nobody wants to live in mediocrity and everyone wants to live an extraordinary and fulfilling life. However, this is far from the truth.

Most people desire to live a limitless life, but most of them fail to realize their maximum potential. They are blocked by their own fears, stopped by the naysayers who tell them that what they want is impossible, and often get dejected by their own mistakes and failures.

Using the famous quote, “you only live once,” you may want to seriously consider living your life with your full potential. What if you have the potential to be extremely successful but because of self-doubt you don’t take action and live until age 80 only to feel regret?

I believe that nobody wants to live life with regrets, and no one wants to go through the journey with a limited potential. It is time for you to take charge of your life and start living life with your full potential.

Here are the 5 simple ways you can unleash your personal potential to help you reach a higher ground and achieve greater success in life:

1. Set a target and work towards it

Always start with a purpose and a goal. What is your intention, and what are the things that you want to be, do, and achieve in your life?

Without a clear target, you are living life like a lost sheep, following the crowd and going nowhere. Finding out what you want to accomplish in life is one of the most fundamental keys to reaching your potential. When you have a goal and work towards it, you are giving clear instructions to your mind of what you want to achieve.

Life is like shooting an arrow. If you want to hit the bull’s eye, you must first identify the target. Without knowing where you want to go, you will end up nowhere. Therefore, identify your purpose in life. Sit down and think deeply of what kind of lifestyle you want to live and what are the things that truly matter to you. Pursue them.

Set goals and pour in your effort to achieve them. No matter what goals you are trying to achieve, when you work consciously toward something you desire, you are building great habits and growing your potential in that area.

2. Raise your standards

The next thing you can do to unleash your potential is to raise your standards.

First, you must not compare yourself with others because your only competitor in your life is yourself. You just need to do better than yourself. If you are trying to compare yourself with others, there will be no end. There is always another mountain which is higher.

Second, set your own benchmarks. As long as you are moving forward and making progress, you should feel proud of yourself. You should focus on what you can do to improve yourself to do better each day instead of comparing yourself to others. There will be others making progress faster than you, but that’s absolutely alright because that’s how life works.

Finally, raise your standards and turn your “should” into “must.” When you do that, you are making the inner shift to mastering and improving the quality of your life. Tony Robbins says, “Any area you are not getting what you want is because you haven’t raised your standards.”

No matter what goals or what kind of achievement you want to accomplish, you will never get them as long as you still cling to your older self, and not raise the bar of your level of acceptance.

“Raise your standards and you will rise along with them.” – Mastin Kipp

3. Maintain your self-confidence

Your self-confidence is important when it comes to unleashing your maximum potential. When you are confident, you perform better. One of the easiest ways to increase your self-confidence is through preparation.

Les Brown said it wisely, “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” Preparation is all about making the effort. If you want to be a successful footballer, your preparation is training. The more you train, the better you become. The better you become, the more self-confidence you will have.

Regardless of what industry or field you are in, you must always get yourself prepared. If you are a writer, write and consistently improve your writing skills. If you are in business, learn the business in and out and improve your skills so that you can grow your business to the next level.

Your level of preparation will determine your level of self-confidence. Remember that.

4. Build your momentum by taking baby steps

Success is a journey and not a destination. When it comes to unleashing your personal potential, it is not like taking a pill. There is no shortcut.

You have to grow your characters, habits, traits, and qualities by taking baby steps. Even if you are an extremely hard working person and you work 20 hours a day, success will not come to you overnight. It takes time.

Choose to build your momentum by making consistent progress. When you take small baby steps each day, you are growing your momentum. Eventually, you reach a tipping point and success will come to you. The problem with most people is that they quit and give up as soon as they don’t receive the results they want.

You need to build your inertia and maintain your momentum by making consistent progress. A river cuts through rocks not because of its power, but because of its persistence. Just like a river, that’s what you need to unleash your greatness.

“I start early and I stay late, day after day, year after year, it took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” – Lionel Messi

5. Consistently pursue personal growth

You cannot grow and become better if you are not willing to learn. I love this quote from Zig Ziglar, “If you’re not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you’re determined to learn, no one can stop you.” The key is to commit to constant and never-ending improvement. Each day, you have to strive to get better than yesterday.

When you fail or you don’t get what you want in life, remember, it is because of you. When you become someone worthy of the success you want, success will come to you automatically. You don’t get what you want, you get what you become.

When you improve your knowledge, your skills, and increase your potential, better and higher success will come to you. Thus, focus on building and growing yourself. Commit to consistently pursuing your personal growth.

Which one of the above ways resonated most with you to expand your personal potential? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

Why Smart People Think Beyond Reason to Make Powerful Decisions

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How long has it been since you’ve had a tough decision to make at work? I bet it happens regularly, if it is not on a daily basis. Sure, making decisions can be exhilarating, but it can also be draining. Sometimes dreadful.

Your pulse accelerates, you start to sweat, your mind jumps from one point to the next, hoping to settle on something. You really want to make the right decision for you, for your team, for your organization. But often times, it can be a tough call. You wish you had the perfect step-by-step recipe to get to the right decision.

Well, in fact, decision-making is quite a complex process for everyone. So much that it is a very popular topic in management research.

For decades, academics have observed and interviewed successful senior leaders to understand and model the thought process that take them to the right decision. These studies resulted in the inescapable rational process. Which we are all very aware of.But what if there was a better way to make decisions that doesn’t just rely on rational thinking?

The problem with rational thinking

rational thinking

We are trained from an early age to develop our rational abilities. We are taught to systematically gather the relevant data, to analyze it, to design options and evaluate them, until we make the final decision. It is as a slow process requiring conscious and sustained effort. Our rational thinking make progress step by step and draws a logical conclusion. And that’s great. Indispensable.

I couldn’t agree more. I hold a Bachelor of Mathematics, and a scientific Master’s degree in Management. My natural preference is rational thinking. However, I must admit that rational thinking can be wrong. Or jammed, unable to decide.

I mean, do you always have enough time to gather data, analyze, evaluate options and decide? Do you always have all the data that is necessary? Does it sometimes happen, on the contrary, that you have so much data that it is overwhelming and you can no longer distinguish the forest from the trees? What if there was another way?

Rational thinking is not your only option

rational thinking

Senior leaders realize, and researchers have found out, that all decisions are not, or are not only, based on rational thinking. Decision-making also leverages … intuitive thinking. Smart leaders consider their intuitions — in addition to their rational analysis — when making decisions.

And the truth is, leaders consider their intuitions — in addition to their rational analysis — when making decisions:

“90% of the 60 leaders who participated in a study reported using their intuition in combination with rational data analysis. They found that their decisions were accelerated, and were better.” (Burke, Miller, 1999)

“Managers at the top of every [of the 2000] organizations surveyed scored higher than middle or lower-level managers on their ability to use their intuition to guide their key decisions.” (Agor, 1986)

This is a well-kept secret, isn’t it? I bet you rarely hear someone at work trying to convince you that this decision is better because his instinct says so. We would rather emphasize the extensive research and analysis we have done to give credibility to our decision.

However, it doesn’t mean that intuition is not instrumental to the process. So, let me explain what intuition is, exactly.

How intuition helps you reach the right decisions

intuition

Neuroscience understands that the human brain thinks in two different ways. There’s the rational process, as described above, and the intuitive process. The latter is not esoteric, magical, nor is it about a premonition.

Intuitions are the conclusions that spontaneously raise to your consciousness, without you being aware of the intermediate stages — although it is often possible to justify your intuition after the fact.

Imagine meeting someone for the first time. Within a blink of the eye, you have an opinion of the person. That’s an intuition. And, contrarily to reason, intuition is incredibly fast. Intuitions are conveyed to your consciousness by your emotions. The first thing that comes to mind is the feelings you have for this person. You like or dislike, you trust or you don’t.

Rather than dissecting information, the intuitive process of the brain makes connections almost instantaneously based on your experiences. By analogy and association, it synthesizes and jumps to conclusions. Beneath the surface, when you meet this person for the first time, your brain finds similarities with people you’ve known in the past, and concludes.

Intuition is thus essentially based on the knowledge accumulated through your experiences, all too often forgotten, and on the models of the world that you have created for yourself, of which you are often not aware of. You may or may not realize that this person in front of you reminds you of the type of people you don’t trust, as an example.

In fact, because it is spontaneous and effortless, intuition is the way of thinking that drives the majority of the decisions you make in a day. If the stakes are not high, intuition will prevail, it is so much easier and efficient. Whether you are conscious of it or not. Whether you like it or not.

Here are a few examples:

  • You slow down your car in traffic, because you instinctively understand that the car on the other lane is trying to cut you off.
  • You pick clothes in your closet that feel comfortable if you don’t have an official meeting today. You don’t need to rationally think over your choice.
  • You accept an invitation without hesitation because it feels exciting and you have time. No need for some complex thinking here either.

Does that mean you should always listen to your intuition?

listen to your intuition

Now, is this to say that your intuition is always right? Sorry, it is not the case. The quality of your intuitions depends on the quality of the knowledge you hold, and thus of your learning.

In fact, as you are getting experienced in your job, as you face numerous situations and overcome challenges, you develop mental models on the appropriate ways to react. That’s called expert intuition. It explains why senior people can make decision swiftly, without hesitation, and without a long rational process.

Your expertise may not only be related to your job. You can also be an expert in human relations, for example. If you have always been fascinated by people, and an avid observer of good and not-so-good interactions, you may intuitively know how to react with difficult people or situations.

However, a word of caution. Intuition can also tap into your biases and your fears. In those occasions, intuition could be wrong, and it is really difficult to tell when this happens. Intuitions, at the end of the day, are no more no less than assumptions. That’s why engaging both rational thinking and intuitive thinking is so important.

How smart people use intuition to make the best decisions

using your intuition

Let’s say you are in a restaurant. You read the menu, and choose one food rather than another according to how you feel about it. It is then your intuitive process that intervenes, without real awareness of what leads you to that choice.

That being said, if you are following a particular diet, you may rule out your initial choice. You can be the impartial observer of your feelings. You can decide to slow down for a second and have your rational thinking intervene to choose more proper food for you. You have a veto power over your intuitions.

The same holds true for decisions made in a professional context, even for the most rational of us. You have intuitions, and you have rational thoughts.

Let me ask you a question: When you have a decision to make, how would you describe your typical thought process?

  1. You spontaneously have a feeling of what the right decision is, and then you engage your rational thinking to confirm whether or not your intuition is right. That is called strategic intuition.
  2. You first collect data, you analyze it, you evaluate your options, you make a rational decision and then you stop for a moment to perceive how you feel about the decision. That’s called conclusive intuition.

Strategic intuition and conclusive intuition are both efficient. But it speaks to your natural preference, and to the level of experience you hold. The more experience, the more mental models you developed over time, and the easiest it is for your brain to make connections and associations, and thus generate intuitions.

In both instances, integrating intuition and reason increases dramatically the potential for you to make the right decision.

Intuition is really an assumption your brain makes based on your experience. Relying solely on your intuition could be risky, unless you don’t have the time to analyze the situation rationally — for example, in the middle of a heated discussion, or a particularly stressful situation.

Depending solely on your reason is also suboptimal. Your brain has the capacity to detect information beneath the surface which could have a crucial impact on your decision. Ignoring it could lead you to the wrong conclusion.

The more you navigate between the two processes, the more knowledge you tap into, the better the decisions, and the more you can adapt to circumstances. You can decide how much you rely on one or the other — or both. It is a matter of choice, and practice.

Make the best use of your brain’s powers to make smart decisions

brain power

Imagine that going forward, you listen to the little voice inside of you, in addition to proceeding systematically, rationally.

Imagine that going forward, you navigate between your reason and your intuition. You dig deeper into your feelings, the voice of your intuition, and challenge your reason. Similarly, you observe impartially feelings that arise, take a step back, and apply your veto if you know better.

Navigating between your reason and your intuition, you tap into the knowledge you are aware of at a conscious level, and also into the wisdom you hold beneath the surface. Chances are that you will make better informed decisions, even if time is short, data is insufficient, or contradictory.

As a senior leader once told me:This will make the difference between a potential of success, and an assured failure.

References:

This article is based on the research I performed for my Master’s thesis (2017). The full bibliography includes over 100 articles and books, of which:

BURKE, Lisa A., MILLER, Monica K., Taking the mystery out of intuitive decision-making Academy of Management Executive, Vol. 13, №4, p. 91–98, New York, Academy of Management, 1999

AGOR, Weston H., The Logic of Intuition: How Top Executives Make Important Decisions, Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 14, №3, p. 5–18, Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1986

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Success Advice

5 B.S. Facts About High Performers Everyone Thinks Is True

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High performers are often seen in the world as people who set their mind on something and make it happen regardless of what it takes to get it accomplished. Much of the time that may be true. However, the way high performers are seen in the world is often in direct conflict with the way they behave when people aren’t watching. Even though they are seen as amazing experts and masters to others, they often see themselves as in need of improvement and can feel dissatisfied with the results they have achieved.

Despite how they appear, they are not much different than you or me with one exception. High performers are totally committed to what it is that they are doing. They function within the uncertainty of daily life just as you do but they conquer their limitations differently. Whether the odds are stacked with them or against them, a high performer will be totally committed to reaching their goals.

You may even be a high performer yourself and don’t realize it because some of your habits would not be considered high level ones. It is common for individuals to compare their accomplishments to others based on what we observe as their results.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – Nelson Mandela

In fact, you may have lowered your personal bar of excellence because you thought you didn’t measure up to those that always seem to land at the top no matter what. I think you’d be surprised to learn that many very successful high performers don’t function the way you think they do.

Here are 5 B.S. facts about high performers that everyone thinks is true:

B.S. Fact #1 – Perfection is the way they play their game

You would think that in order to appear perfect you would probably need to do everything perfectly. It’s so not true! High performers actually pursue excellence as a goal and not perfection. It allows them to get more done with a higher level of consistency and sets them up for success rather than failure.

B.S. Fact #2 – Organization is their secret weapon

Just take a look at the desk of a genius. You probably wouldn’t be able to see the surface beneath the stacks of books, papers and whatever else may be on top of it. High performers typically have a formula as to where they put things and why. To the observer, it’s usually just a big mess with no identifiable system. However, I assure you, a high performer will still know where everything is regardless of the chaos that surrounds their personal space and schedule.

B.S. Fact #3 – They’ve all walked Ivy League hallways

Though it is true that many well educated people reach great success, statistically, some of the most influential success stories are about people who lacked resources and education. High performers will always seek out whatever or whoever is available so that they can learn what they need to and create their vision despite whatever odds happen to be stacked against them.

B.S. Fact #4 – They don’t have squirrel brain

Focus. It seems like this would be the number one rule to follow on the road to results.  However, there are many high performers who get distracted by people and ideas that totally derail them from what they were doing. Often times, it is not their focus but their agenda that keeps them on track. They know what they need to do even if it doesn’t always get accomplished in the way they thought they would get it done. However, it always gets done.

“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.” – Robert H. Schuller

B.S. Fact #5 – They see themselves as the king of the jungle

Confidence seems to pour out of those who always seem to succeed. When, in reality, so many high performers struggle with it. Questioning whether or not they’re doing the right things or whether what they’re doing is good enough can be a constant personal dialogue. Fear of being negatively judged is the biggest reason why most people don’t take chances or take action on their big dreams but high performers move forward anyway. Their insecurity doesn’t stop them from what they want.

So, why should it matter to you what is fact or fiction about high performers? The answer; because you will compare yourself to others at times and it would be a tragedy if you stopped yourself from achieving big goals due to a belief that you’re not as good as someone else.

High performers achieve results. They know what they want, they plan it and they achieve it. Just because you have a few habits that won’t get applauded if people actually knew about them doesn’t mean that you can’t be one of the experts or podium finishers too.

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Success Advice

Do You Want to Become a Leader? Read This First

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leadership
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How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage? The test of leadership isn’t done on the couch, discussing things with internet trolls and commentators. Leadership, like philosophy, is action-based and can’t be separated from that into a purely theoretical field.

To become a leader, it isn’t enough to read about it, you need to live through it. That leads us to the first point.

1. Experience trumps theory

Theory and practice are the same in theory, but they are not the same in practice. For you to become a leader, you need to put yourself in situations which demand leadership. If you are at home trying really hard to think about situations where leadership is required and can’t find a place where that can happen, you are not thinking about the problems in your life and community.

Leadership is about going through uncertainty while showing people a better way. So any area of life where there is uncertainty is an area where there is a possibility for leadership to emerge.

You don’t have to lead a company of 10,000 employees to experience leadership, you can do it in a local community of 5 people or as I did in a leadership organization with 200 people. But leadership doesn’t start with leading other people, it starts with leading yourself.

“Leadership is practice not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” – Harold S. Geneen

2. To lead others, you must learn to lead yourself

Telling other people what they need to do is “easy.” Showing the way yourself is a hundred times harder. Because what you do speaks so loud that people can’t hear what you’re saying. In other words, leadership is about having personal integrity and practicing what you preach. You would never follow the advice of a fat personal trainer, a broke accountant, or a real estate agent who doesn’t even own a dog house.

You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all. But the thing is that this is easier said than done. I remember when we had a crisis in our team back in 2013. Every single person from the team quit, leaving the president and me alone to fight the battle. My integrity of not quitting didn’t let me walk away and we kept pushing together.

That’s what leadership is about – you need to walk the talk. Because to lead yourself and to lead others, you need to make decisions which follow up your integrity. That leads us to the third point.

3. Leadership is about making the right, painful decisions

If you choose easy decisions, your life will be hard. If you choose hard decisions, your life will be easy. And there are numerous decisions which leaders did in the past which have been hard at the moment. But when you’re a leader, you don’t make decisions on a scale of easy-hard, you make them on a scale of right-wrong.

Firing the VP of sales is always hard. But doing it because he violated the principles of the company makes it right. It’s a trade-off 90% of people are not willing to make and I see it day in, day out. As soon as a decision becomes hard, people start doubting their values, morals, and integrity. They let the fear of uncertainty cloud their judgments and they make an easy call.

They let the VP stay because it’s the easy thing to do and with that, they seal their fate. Leadership is painful and it always was. I remember when I had to let 20 people go or fire two of my VPs. Was it hard? Of course it was. But it was the right thing to do. This doesn’t make the decision any easier, but it makes it bearable.

You know where you need to lead people and even though there is massive uncertainty, you need to be certain that you will figure out any problem that comes in front of you. Which brings us to the last point.

“Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” – Brian Tracy

4. You need to have unyielding faith that you will prevail in the end

You don’t need to know every step of the way, but you need to know how you will react to problems. You need to be sure, absolutely, that you will deal, manage, and handle every single problem that comes your way and that your team and people who you lead are unstoppable on their way to achieving the vision.

This is unquestionable. You have no idea what will attack you, but you are certain that you will handle it. This is how you lead people through everything in life. This is how Shackleton led his expedition for 2 years on the Antarctic and how every single one of his people survived the hardships that attacked them.

Because people turn to the leader in face of trouble and that’s when you show your true face. Do you show your weak side, flounder, and run? Or do you stand strong like a supporting rock on which people can lean on?

When you deal with fire, you will learn how to defeat it without having your people get burned. You will sacrifice yourself and gain scars which don’t serve as a sign of victimhood but as a proof of courage. Are you gonna be courageous or are you gonna run away? There is only one way to find out.

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