The hardest job in life is being able to think.
Taking the time to think allows you to establish what your goals and priorities are. Thinking helps you avoid the urge to just react to everything that comes your way. It helps you prepare.
To be an effective leader, you must think.
To be able to plan, problem solve, innovate and adapt, you must think.
When I was at the Super Bowl yesterday all I did was think. My mind was racing with ideas about potential new business opportunities. I tried to soak in the environment and take in every detail. What foods were people eating? Were they buying more t-shirts or jerseys? Which team? What colors? Was there a popular hat style? What sponsors were announced over the PA system? What sponsors had billboards in the stadium? How was the crowd reacting to a player’s name being announced?
When I got home I watched every commercial. I switched through every news channel to what people were saying about the game. How were they reacting?
For any game I go to, this is my way of preparing for the next step in my business. Athletes, at least those in the upper-echelon of their respective sports, are always thinking, too. Derek Jeter once told me about the power of thinking.
He told me that there is a fine line between a Minor League ballplayer and a Major League player; a Major Leaguer and an All-Star; an All-Star and a Hall of Famer. For the most part, talent-level is virtually the same. The difference between someone like him and someone drafted in the 40th round that is out of the game after two years is their mindset and how they prepare themselves for every aspect of their job.
Before every pitch, Derek will run through hundreds of possibilities in his head in just a matter of seconds. He thinks about every situation that could occur on the next play. What type of pitch is coming? What’s the count? Are there runners on base? Is the third baseman playing up the line? Can he get the catcher’s signs? If he bunts, will the first basemen be able to make a play? Does the right fielder have a good arm? And so on.
Along the same lines, before any TV or radio interview I do, I will think of literally hundreds of questions I could possibly be asked. I make sure that I think of everything, so that I leave no doubt as to whether that interview will be a success.
That’s the mentality you need to have with anything that you do. If you don’t prepare for everything that could come your way, you won’t be successful. Take the time to breath and just think. Prepare yourself. Think about where you want to be. How do you want to get there?
Most people spend the majority of their day reacting…give yourself time to think.