In 1922, Albert Einstein was in Tokyo when he learned that he was going to be awarded the Nobel Prize. Out of cash, his “tip” to a bellboy at his hotel was a handwritten note, which he told would be worth more than a tip someday…it was. At a recent auction that note went for $1.3 million. What was in that note? I’m quite sure must be the question running through your mind right now. Well, I’ll tell you. It was his recipe for success, “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
In a meeting conducted in the mid-1980s, the Gallop organization conducted one of the most extensive surveys into the reasons for success. The meeting had 1,500 men and women whose name and biographies had appeared in Marquis’s Who’s Who in America, the most prestigious register of notable people in the country. After several months of research and interviews, they were able to isolate the five most important qualities for success. The results of which turned out to be consistent with virtually all research conducted in this area.
- Common Sense
Common sense was defined by the participants of this survey as the ability to cut to the core of a matter, to recognize and deal with the essential elements of a problem or a situation, rather than getting sidetracked by smaller issues or symptoms.”
Another definition of common sense was given as “The ability to learn from experience and then to apply those lessons to subsequent experiences.” Common sense was seen as a core quality that enabled a person to become increasingly more effective over time. It is said that the average person has an enormous amount of common sense because he or she hasn’t used it yet.
Aristotle once defined wisdom as the as an equal combination of experience plus reflection. In his book, The power of self confidence, success expert, Brian Tracy indicated that you are far, far wiser than you know. In fact, based on your experience, you probably have the ability to be far more effective than you are just by applying what you have already learned. The problem for most people is that they simply do not take enough time for reflection. They do not take time to sit, write, think, and dialogue with others about their experiences.
- Constant learning
Wisdom comes from equal parts, which are knowledge, experience and reflection. First you learn, then you practice what you learn, then you take time to think about what happened. Talking and thinking about what has happened to you will force you to grow at an exponential rate.
After every venture, successful people take time to ask themselves two questions. They ask themselves these questions regardless of whether the venture they partake in is successful or not. These are what I like to call the magic questions. The first one is, what did I do right? And second, what would I do differently? By doing this, you would find yourself improving at a rapid rate. When you ask yourself what you should do differently, you’ll begin to see all kinds of possibilities for improvement.
- Reviewing of previous performance.
After every sales call or interview, do an instant replay, alone or with someone else, and ask yourself quickly, what did I do right? Or what would I do differently? You will be amazed at what you see and how fast you begin to improve. This method worked for a famous football coach—he reviewed videos of previous matches with his players and they continued to wax stronger and stronger. If it worked for them, why not you?