We can get just about anything we want in life by “think even harder”. This is significantly different from trying to get what we want by “working” hard.
Since this is true, how do you think hard?
This is an interesting question, isn’t it? The reason why is that we don’t know how to do it. This is because we learned how to think hard in school, but the skill was never labeled. It was never practiced with intention. Thinking hard just happened when we needed it for a class, and because it was usually for subjects we didn't enjoy (like chemistry), we didn't learn to develop this skill.
So, I thought I would share an approach you can use to learn to think hard. This is what I do when I’m trying to solve a problem or make faster progress towards an important goal.
Sit down in a quiet area where there are no distractions. Shut off your life-sucking cell phone. Get a pen and a notepad.
Table of Contents
Write down your problem (or goal) in question form and then spend 30-minutes brainstorming answers.
There are no wrong answers. Just keep listing ideas as they pop up. No judgment. Just list everything. The first few minutes will be relatively easy. Things will get a little more difficult the longer you force yourself to sit there searching for more answers. This is where most people quit thinking, and this is when your best ideas usually surface. It’s very important to stay with the same question for a minimum of 30-minutes.
Obviously, the actual question you ask yourself is the key to this entire process.
BETTER QUESTIONS = BETTER ANSWERS
How can I lose body fat?
How can I lose 3 lbs of body fat each week WITHOUT eating low-carb or counting calories?
The second question puts a time frame on the result. More importantly, it also includes the word WITHOUT. By including the second half of the question, we force ourselves to find better answers.
If you were to answer these two questions, you’d probably come up with significantly different answers.
The first part of the question is about what you want. The second part of the question is about what you don’t want. We’re trying to use our ideas to eliminate things that would hold us back from moving forward. This second part is usually about eliminating (or minimizing) things we don’t enjoy doing, making it easier to get what we want.
The average person doesn’t take any time to think like this. If they do, they don’t understand the importance of the question they’re pondering. They don’t realize they can tweak their answers with a simple change to the questions they ask themselves.
Here’s an example of this from back when I owned my real estate brokerage:
How can I sell more homes?
How can I sell more homes without chasing any prospects whatsoever?
As you might imagine, each question yields completely different answers. I hated prospecting for new clients. I hated making cold calls. I hated asking for referrals. The second question led me to create a marketing system that got prospects to apply to become one of my clients. The marketing system I created was so good that prospects actually chased me.
That’s how powerful thinking hard can be.
You can create an amazing life by asking yourself (and answering) high-quality questions.
How can I help my son/daughter go to college without any student loans?
How can I build a financial fortress for my family without having to save 15% of my paycheck?
How can I pay off all of my debt without living with extreme frugality?
How can I create recurring monthly cash flow without debt?
How can I build an amazing business without working more than 20 hours per week?
How can I start a paid membership business without having to write all the content?
How can I retire early without having seven figures?
Remember, the real key to this process is to force yourself to look for answers after the first few ideas come to mind. This search for answers is how you learn to think hard.
You’ll know you’re thinking hard when it becomes uncomfortable. When you’re squirming in your chair wanting to do something else. When you want relief from this process. Fighting this discomfort isn’t easy… that’s why I refer to this process as thinking hard.
The truth is you already have all the answers you need to create an amazing life. You’ve accumulated these answers through your various life experiences. Through the people you’ve met, the books you’ve read, the videos you’ve watched, the courses you’ve taken and all of your day-to-day actions.
This process helps you to unlock all of this knowledge for your own benefit.
One more thing regarding all of this…
I’m trying to show you how to think for yourself. This is critically important to living a good life because it reduces (or eliminates) your dependency on others. You cannot be a Badass if you need someone else to solve your problems.