101 of the Greatest Insights and Actions for Work and Life

101 of the Greatest Insights and Actions for Work and Life

20/20 hindsight: the “hindsight” bias or “I knew it all along phenomenon” is when you think you had the answer the whole time or that it is common sense. The problem with this is that it creates false confidence. 

Try a new thing for 30 days: drop a habit, take up a new one or learn a new thing for 30 days straight. This is a great way to broaden your skills and increase your capabilities.

80% of your results are from 20% of your efforts (80/20 rule): with this rule in mind, only focus your energy on the most important things. 

Make change a sense of urgency: change is not easy for many people. To get over this resistance to change, make it seem urgent. 

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” in the long-term: you will forget the negative things and only remember the positive ones.

Only absorb what works for you: you can draw inspiration from anything and anyone but only get what suits you. Tailor what you collect to fit your circumstances. 

Look for the surprise: you easily remember whatever surprises you. Did you learn something that surprised you or a fact that was unexpected? 

Agree and compare to create a relationship: when opinions differ, compare. Contribute when key pieces are left out by others. 

Instead of telling, ask: a wandering mind is more motivated and goal-directed than that which declares its objective. Try, “will I achieve this?” instead of “I will achieve this.”

Ask, “how is this useful?”: to make the most out of information, always ask yourself how you can use it. This helps you make insights actionable.

Ask yourself if it is effective: you may often find yourself trying things that do not work. Asking yourself if something is effective may seem simple but it can lead you to your desired results.

Learned helplessness is dangerous: when things do not go your way, watch how you give yourself an explanation. Avoid making it pervasive, personal or permanent. Questions like, “why me always?” are no good.

Balance conviction and connection: connection refers to how you connect to others while conviction refers to your rigidity or flexibility as far as your beliefs are concerned. Empathize, encourage, validate and be open to new ideas without being too accommodating. 

Be-do-have rather than have-do-be; avoid holding off or having your life on wait mode. “BE” what you want, and you will “DO” according to your beliefs, leading you to “HAVE” what you want.

Careful what you wish for: the grass will always appear greener on the other side but that is not always the case. 

Lead by example: this approach gives you power to act. You will not find yourself blaming others and playing victim. Set your own example of what you consider good and influence others.

Take note of specialization: specialization is great; until things change. Adaptable people get the victory in the long run. 

“OCEAN” personality traits: the OCEAN (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeable and Neuroticism) refers to the Big Five framework. It is meant to understand how personality relates to behavior. 

Black swan theory: some events are unpredictable but there is a way you can prepare to exploit the positive ones and persevere the negative ones. 

Blink: snap judgments may tell you a lot. If correct, a little input is more useful than a lot of input. Train your senses and mind to focus on what is right and you will make great snap judgements.

Blue oceans: stop competing where there is too much competition. Look into an untapped market space if you must. 

Blue zones: blue zones are the healthiest spots in the world. They teach people how to live longer lives.

Change the question, change your focus: changing your question will change your focus. Ask yourself, “what is right here?” instead of “what is wrong here?”. 

Change your perception or change your procedure: skillfully change your emotions. You can get over any negative emotion in a moment. You can do this by changing your solution or changing your way of experiencing it. 

Change your “How” or your “Why”: sometimes, the “what” is out of your control but if you change your “how” or “why” then you may achieve motivation. You will no longer depend on motivation from outside. 

Begin by changing yourself: it may be difficult or impossible to change someone else but changing yourself is instant. This may include changing your views or how you do things.

Avoid “Have-To” and go for “Choose-To”: choosing to do something will make it more fun. It is empowering and you will not be the victim.

Cognitive dissonance: Wikipedia defines cognitive dissonance as a discomfort brought about by having conflicting cognitions (values, beliefs, ideas) simultaneously. When one is having cognitive dissonance, one tries to change beliefs to achieve a consistent system of belief. 

Delayed gratification: are you “present-oriented” or “future-oriented”? A future-oriented person delays gratification and according to research, navigates through life better.

Deliberate practice: Malcom Gladwell, the author of Outliers: The Story of Success, says that to be successful, you must practice the task for about 10,000 hours. You become experienced by repetitively practicing a skill, tracking your performance, assessing your effectiveness and listening to feedback.

Delphi method: this technique involves using experts to predict and forecast information. A facilitator asks experts to give answers to specific questions anonymously. The collective answers are then used to conclude.

Do it daily: to get into a new habit or get out of an old one, you need to do it daily. Create a habit and condition yourself to do it.

Causational vs. correlational: when two things happen simultaneously, it does not necessarily mean that one caused the other. They may just be correlated. Knowing the difference will make you better suited to get to the root cause.

Stop waiting for inspiration: begin by acting, motivation will come.

Doublethink: learn to think twice. Focus on both the negative and the positive. When you imagine the two sides, you can visualize effectively. 

Dream big dreams: small dreams are not very inspirational. Big ones stir your blood and inspire your mind.

Emotional intelligence: EQ may hold you back or propel you forward. It is defined as the ability to point out, analyze and control your emotions and that of others. 

Energized differentiation: be different with vision, dynamism and invention. 

Enjoy the journey: take a moment to smell the roses. Come up with ways to have fun in your journey. Sometimes, your journey is all you have.

Errors in value and errors in odds: according to Dan Gilbert, people make poor choices because they fail to estimate odds well and they are also not good when it comes to estimating value. 

Relationship before influence: a relationship helps you know the concerns and needs of the other party. It also builds trust.

The third alternative: do not get into a win-lose situation. Find another option because it is always there.

A first impression is a lasting impression: you only get one chance to create a first impression. If you blow your chance, you can change their perception. Let the other person assess you in a new context or situation.

Fortune cookie effect: you can rationalize whatever you want in your mind. You take actions that cause something to come true. 

What you can control over what you cannot: not everything is under your control and this should not be a reason for you to give up. Control your actions, attitude, approach and response. 

Gambler’s fallacy: just because an action or event has not taken place for some time, does not mean that its chances of happening now are high. 

Groupthink: two heads are better than one—this statement is not always true. A group may exaggerate decisions, making the final decision too conservative or too risky. 

Remove the unessential: according to Bruce Lee, it is daily decrease over daily increase. 

Halo effect: sometimes you assess someone globally and apply that to a specific trait. For instance, you may think someone is likeable and, consequently, assume that they are friendly and intelligent. 

The end of the story: the ending of a story is more important than its beginning. 

Measure your life: the best way to measure life is regarding the number of people you touch.

Informational power: information is an impermanent form of power and holding on to it is an even weaker form of power.

Evaluate your thinking: everyone’s mind is flawed. Your thinking has traps and pitfalls. Challenge your thinking and eliminate poor thinking patterns. 

Extrinsic motivation vs intrinsic motivation: find out what motivates and drives you. Do this by connecting your job to your values. 

Irrationality: always treat each decision as crucial if you are looking to make a change. 

Energy management over time management: everyone has 24 hours in a day. The only thing that is under your control is energy. If you manage your energy, you will do more with less effort.

Jigsaw technique: if you want people to overcome their prejudice, pair them up. They will realize, as they work on the project, that they are all humans with vulnerabilities, feelings and basic needs.

Job satisfaction: to make your job more enjoyable, focus on feedback, autonomy, task significance, task identity and skill variety.

Johari window: know yourself and show yourself. This way, you will find it easier to share information that matters and enhance communication. 

Learning style: is your learning style kinesthetic, visual or audio? 

Less is more: less here refers to more focus. 

Linchpin: work towards being indispensable. One way to do this is to always go above the call of duty. Give your all, do more art and break rules to tweak the game.

Link to good feelings: a new habit will be easier to adopt if it is linked to good feelings. You can barely do things that do not feel good. Reframe the meaning of the action.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Maslow suggested that there is a set of needs commonly shared by people. Understanding this concept will help you know more about what drives you and others. 

Mentors are short-cuts: with a good mentor, you will avoid pitfalls. A good mentor shows you what you should focus on and hasten your journey to success.

Micro-expressions: this is a very quick involuntary facial expression. It is hard to hide this type of expressions, regardless of how much you know about them.

Mindstyle: do you prefer sequential, random, concrete or abstract? Understand how you prefer to grasp information and order it. 

Mirror cells: everyone has mirror neurons that mirror the feelings or intentions of other people. They can help you explain empathy and imitation.

Flexible people are favored by nature: survival is not for the most intelligent or the strongest, it is for those that adapt very well to change.

Similarities bind; it is true that opposites attract but people attain a special connection at the values. Shared values bring people together.

Parkinson’s law: assign less time to something if you want it to be done faster. Work will expand to fill the available time.

Pygmalion effect: what you expect is what you get.

Reciprocity of liking: people like those that like them. If you do not like yourself, you will not like the people that like you.

Return on luck: Jim Collins suggests leveraging luck by seeing it as an event rather than an indefinable aura. Aim at achieving a high return on luck (ROL). 

Satisfice: to make decisions faster, experts satisfice. They look for the first solution that is perfect for that situation. 

Self-efficacy: one’s self-efficacy beliefs will determine a person’s behavior, motivation and thoughts. 

Dispositional vs situational: did the situation cause you to do that or is it just who you are? 

Get small, think big: small is a key to flexibility, increased effectiveness and more efficiency. 

Social loafing: when people are more, they work less hard. People put in less effort when they are working in groups. 

Speak to the communication needs of people: communication needs include appreciation, approval, accuracy and action. People will give you clues on what they need to hear.

Start with why: you should communicate, act and think in the same way. Start with the thought, from the inside out. Begin with why, then how and finally what.

Synthetic happiness: learn to create your own happiness; it is just as good as genuine happiness.

The effort effect: effort is what makes a difference, not talent. Your effort, in turn, is facilitated or limited by your mindset. Another thing: reward your efforts.

The long view: you cannot predict what will happen in the future. You can, however, play the “What-Ifs”. Use forecasting to prepare for what may happen. 

The paradox of choice: the more choices you make, the poorer your decision will be. You may not even be able to make the decision. 

The power of identity; be rooted in something that will last while enjoying your growth journey at the same time. 

The power of regrets: if you reflect on your worst, you will be motivated to unleash your best. 

The principle of contrast: you can easily lose perspective. Compare with something worse. This principle of contrast is useful when changing perspective, explaining value or negotiating fees.

The progress principle: small progress can significantly make your day. Perfection is not what matters, progress is. 

The “Good Life” secret: learn to allocate more time to your values. Ask yourself how you can do more of the things you love at work.

The two happiness questions: “How happy are you with your life?” and “How happy are you?”. 

Thoughts that work for you: think thoughts that will serve you better.

“To-Date” vs. “To-Go”: if you commit yourself to a goal, you will focus on what is left (and will be more motivated). If you are not that committed, you will concentrate on how much you have accomplished. 

Important vs Urgent: you will achieve your long-term goals if you spend time on the important but non-urgent matters.

Befriend stress: anxiety is a cognitive response while stress is a fight-or-flight response. Stress can be useful while performing physical tasks or simple tasks.

Willpower is like a muscle: you can strengthen willpower through practice, just like a muscle. Know that you can also fatigue it; it is limited.

Yerkes-Dodson human performance curve: do not stress yourself beyond your capacity. You will start producing less with more effort.

You are the company you keep; friends can help you grow or hold you back. They will influence your actions, emotions, attitude and thoughts.

Your strengths facilitate your growth: focus on your strengths if you want to accelerate your success. 

Thoughts shape feelings: shift your focus to change your feelings. 

Zeigarnik effect: to overcome procrastination, convince yourself to do something for “just a few minutes”. You will be motivated to finish what you have already begun.

“Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.” 

-Napoleon Hill

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