Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Go Faster!

Charles Duhigg Smarter Faster Better—The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business

My sister is my hero. Looking back, I think it started when she dropped me off at college. I was going to live hundreds of miles from everything familiar, and our fourteen-hour pep talked gave me the confidence I needed to have this home away from home experience.  As we progressed through college, marriage, children, and a life, we would frequently call and catch up on our wonderful yet hectic lives. Inevitably before we hung up, one of us would close the conversation with our mantra, “Go Faster!”

When I received Smarter Faster Better, by Charles Duhigg as a gift from my sister I was touched by such a perfect, thoughtful, gift. It made me smile and reminded me of our phone chats. I was excited to read the book and to learn more about Duhigg’s findings on The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business. I wanted my every-day decisions to be more purposeful and innovative to support my personal life, career goals and frankly any wisdom I could glean as I am finishing my doctoral degree program.

What I appreciated the most from Duhigg was how he shared the key concepts of being Smarter Faster Better. My lessons learned came from the experiences of a business mogul, the cast from Saturday Night Live, an airline pilot, a rogue General Electric employee, a police crime detective, a professional poker player, a film director from Disney’s movie Frozen, and finally a new school teacher. The book was a page turner for me.

Each of their life experiences gave me better perspective on the components needed to be productive in a way that could change some of my bad habits. I learned how to get myself started and generate motivation through self-selected choices that deepen my values and long-term goals. I learned about the power of choosing a stretch goal first, then developing realistic SMART sub-goals to support my ambitions. Creating mental pictures and even a movie inside my head to envision my potential futures gave me perspective and alternative options. I learned the focused choices I made, could lead me to make better decisions to get things done!

“Productivity is about recognizing choices that other people often overlook. It’s about making certain decisions in certain ways. The way we choose to see our own lives; the stories we tell ourselves, and the goals we push ourselves to spell out in detail; the culture we establish among teammates; the ways we frame our choices and manage the information in our lives. Productive people and companies force themselves to make choices most other people are content to ignore. Productivity emerges when people push themselves to think differently” (p. 284). 

My sister and I still talk by phone, but not as often as I’d like. I also haven’t heard each other say, “Go Faster!” in a while. We are growing older, and our wisdom is showing. We have learned life is not a race but a journey to experience for ourselves and through those we love the most. Although as we are each reading this book, I am hopeful our future productivity will be Smarter Faster and Better.

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