For the past 50 years, the computing industry has clung to Moore’s Law dearly. Devised by Gordon Moore, the infamous cofounder of Intel, the precept states that the computing power of chips will double every one to two years, allowing more capable devices to be available to the masses at a cheaper price point as time passes.
Since 1965 – the year the idea took hold in the developmental framework of one of the largest chip producers on the planet – this exponential growth mindset has proved to be as contagious as it has been effective.
What can you do to bring that kind of energy to your investment strategy?
First and foremost, the growth mindset requires the belief that even a person’s weakest skills can be developed through hard work and dedication and that brains and talents – though they may be distributed unevenly amongst humans at birth – can be brought to peak throughout a lifetime. Vision, resilience, and hard work are necessary for every great accomplishment – including being a successful financial professional.
It’s up to every person to come with their own routines, habits, and techniques that will bring out their best work, but the following list should help a self-starter like you begin brainstorming the methods that would gel best with your personality and schedule.
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Table of Contents
EMBRACE CHALLENGES & FAILURES
It’s human nature to avoid the hard stuff, and to get discouraged when we make mistakes. This is unfortunate, because the hard stuff is often the best stuff, and the most productive. So if you’re an avoider–chances are, you’re missing out. The most successful entrepreneurs make the most mistakes–and learn from them. You should too. If you don’t strap on hard and challenging work and sit back quietly so you don’t make mistakes, you’re going to get left behind, while others keep tackling new challenges and are all the better for it.
SET A GOOD SCHEDULE, AND STICK TO IT
The key to maintaining the growth mindset is making sure you’re actually growing! In America’s non-stop pace of work life, it is essential to maintain and commit to a schedule that incorporates both work and leisure. If you’re not well rested, you won’t end your day well worked either!
Make sure you have the right tools at your disposal before you start mapping out your day. Nowadays, many professionals use Google Calendar or Apple’s iCal to organize their life. Both options allow you to share your schedule, or parts of it, to your work team or to your family members and include hundreds of other little features that you may need.
But just because most people have jumped on the digitized calendar bandwagon, does not mean you have to, too. Pen and paper-style planners – though not as flashy or shareable – still get the job done quickly and efficiently. Moleskine’s daily planner comes to mind as a well-structured and sturdy option. The lines on the pages are pre-divided by the half hour, allowing you ample flexibility in planning your daily business.
Once you have picked your preferred method, its time to plan!
Stick to half-an-hour or one-hour segments when you’re splitting up your day. It will keep your mind flexible in its ability to switch between tasks, and will allow it to rest when you get to more intellectually challenging points in your work.
In the Information Age, failing to take advantage of the myriad of free educational resources available on the web could be the biggest disservice self-starters do unto themselves. Twentieth-century American professionals were relegated to universities or other degree-offering institutions to certify their abilities. For some professions, such as law and medicine, those certifications remain imminently important.
However, in finance, computer science and thousands of other fields, the old paradigms no longer hold the same weight. If you really want to learn a new skill, it is very likely that several professionals in your field of interest have compiled the resources necessary for you to satisfy your curiosity.
Here are some fields that have a particularly strong online teaching community:
- Another field in which American public education systems really missed the mark. New research suggests that knowing a second language improves cognitive skills when you are young and shields the mind from dementia when you grow old. Yet, according to the United States Department of Education, less than a fifth of Americans report using a second language to communicate at any point their lives. On the other hand, 53 percent of Europeans can converse in a second language. It’s time to beat that statistic. One of the most comprehensive language learning resources available in the U.S. has been developed by the military. The Global Language Online Support System – or GLOSS, for short – provides over 7,000 learning modules in over 40 languages online designed to meet the needs of independent learners. The site even offers certificates when you successfully complete a course. It’s based off of what the military uses to train its soldiers before combat, so you know it works, too.
- Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs from leading international universities cover anything else, from literally any other field that you may want to pursue. The most popular site to access these treasure troves of knowledge is Coursera, which makes courses available for free, though you may have to pay a mid-sized fee to certify that you completed the course and gain access to additional quizzes and related resources.
NOT KNOWING IS OK
But not trying to know is not. Let’s face it, trying hard is … well, hard. And sometimes it doesn’t sit well with us to know that we just don’t know. So let’s not even think about it! Nonsense. Don’t know something? Fine. Don’t let that stop you from pursuing something. Find out. Learn. Try. Do. Fail. Try again. And once you’ve got it, share it with someone else! Sometimes teaching is the best way to solidify something to memory.
Now that key elements of your daily life have been established, it’s time to seek out good mentors. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes and can be found in your personal or professional life, biographies of people you admire, or even Twitter.
Again, human nature sometimes causes us to be jealous or uncomfortable with the success of others. Sometimes it can be taken as a reminder that we are less successful. But this is a self-defeating and nonproductive attitude. Instead, embrace the success of others. Let it inspire you! And most importantly, learn from whoever you can.
Inevitably, financial professionals and amateurs alike reach a point in their careers or a personal crisis in which they need advice from a real human. Don’t be without one when the time comes.
This list is by no means an end-all endeavor. Use creative and critical thinking to make the changes to the list necessary to keep you evergreen and ever growing. I leave you with a quote from educator Harry Wong: “The person who does the work is the only one who learns.”