reads: Get Smart! by Brian Tracy

If you’re looking for a quick read, then Brian Tracy’s Get Smart! should do the trick. With less than 200 pages to browse, instantly pick up a thing or two about exploring your natural thinking talents and working toward achieving your goals.

Here are a few points from the book that are worthy of relaying:

The combination of immediate actions and insightful thinking will make realizing dreams more feasible.

When it comes to living life, there are two viewpoints you can adjust to—short-term thinking with an emphasis to pleasure your now and long-term thinking with the intent to build comfortable sustainability. Between the two, it’s obvious which mindset holds more promise. Still, we’re most likely to only think about whatever’s within our immediate horizon.

Tracy makes it very clear how we must be more aware and mindful of the consequences of our actions, not only to avoid reaping the aftermath of wrongdoing but also to look forward to a future that benefits us.

Furthermore, a 1970 study led by Harvard professor, Edward Banfield, cites that those who thought and planned weren’t precisely the smartest and most academically skilled; instead, they were those that packed perspectives with a punch.

We may no longer be in the ’90s, but Banfield’s findings still ring true.

Prioritize creative chances over mechanical thinking.

If you enjoy baking, you know for sure how baking for the first time on your own doesn’t always turn out excellent, but that’s how pastry makers learn. They review what they did wrong and try again until they’re able to perfect the process.

Smart thinking functions similarly: you have to learn to take calculated risks and be at peace with the idea of failure. That said, creative thinking is the opposite of a mechanical mindset.

Mechanical thinkers approach things stiffly—things either turn out great or don’t, avoiding any chance for error margins. While there are multiple reasons many people can’t afford to take risks (i.e., they’re the breadwinner in the family, quitting a job means delaying loan payments), the fear of ridicule and incurring criticism can be paralyzing.

Naturally, those that aren’t bold enough to take creative chances are less likely to succeed in ways inventive daredevils do. In the context of baking, mechanical thinkers are more likely to bake only tested and popular desserts. In contrast, creative thinkers are more open to experimenting with what’s yet to be tasted.

Success can depend on the questions you ask.

Tracy does a swell job establishing that much of who we are and what we do are anchored on how we think. We are, after all, social beings who rely on patterns. If something works for others, it should work the same for us, right?

The answer is it depends.

In an article published by Forbes, they state that the determining factor of business success is dependent on customer demand. Put simply, if a business doesn’t make sales, why keep coming up with products no one wants to buy?

That established, the question now is, “how do you make sure your customers want what you have to offer?”

The answer is you’ll never know unless you ask. This may sound like a basic business principle, but Tracy implies that we should be more intentional with the questions we ask ourselves. You don’t have to run a business or manage a startup to understand how you function and what you believe in are products of the questions you ask.

In the business space, research is elemental. You’ll never have a thorough grasp of who your target market is and what it is they truly want and need without it. If you’re unable to move forward with those specifics, your business isn’t going anywhere.

Modern success requires continuous learning.

We live in a fast-paced world where trends come and go. The moment you rely only on what you know now is the moment you stop growing. Take a good look around you, and you will notice that we live in one of the most restless times in human history.

Therefore, to succeed, you need to keep up with technology. Consider the cautionary tale of VHS and Betamax tapes. Ever since the advent of Netflix, the more evident death of video rental shops only grew.

What’s the point here?

To avoid being beaten by competition and present times, you have to learn how to surf. Drowning will only kill you. The secret here, according to Tracy, is flexible thinking. Described as the capacity to adapt quickly when needed, flexible thinkers understand the value of acquiring new skills to survive.

Although published in 2016, many of the book’s points still stand firm. For instance, who would’ve thought that—given how reliant we already are on the internet to survive—our dependence on the digital space would only be amplified in the face of a pandemic? Today, millions have had to quickly learn how to use online tools lest they lose opportunities to earn.

Overall, Get Smart! is a decent read that bears useful reminders. If we’re brutal, Tracy presents us with no new philosophies and business approaches, yet his words work effectively as timely bits of encouragement to be brave, creative, and ambitious.

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