One kind of events in life happens spontaneously, unplanned, powered by intuition, and seeming random. Calling a friend, buying a chocolate bar, or sitting down on a bench at a fountain doesn’t require special preparation.
Another kind of events requires making hard decisions because of the urge to gain something huge or the risk of losing something important. In those cases, it’s better to get prepared.
In life, as in nature, everything happens in cycles. Previously I introduced you to the cycle of long-term success as I saw it at that moment. Today, I have refined the mentioned cycle, and now it consists of these 5 steps: research, prioritize, plan, act, reflect.
Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. – Zora Neale Hurston
First of all, before taking a measured action, you would need to find out what your choices are today. You can use a search engine, Wikipedia, references, podcasts, magazines, books, or anything else that provides you with information that you could utilize in your field of focus. Gather information with the intent to incorporate it into your activities.
“If everything is important, then nothing is.” – Patrick M. Lencioni
There are several ways to set priorities for your activities. You can use the flexible and mighty prioritizer “1st things 1st”, decision matrices in Excel sheets, Eisenhower Matrix on a piece of paper, or maybe just selecting the first several priorities intuitively.
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn
Put your most important activities on the schedule. You can use Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, monday.com, any other scheduling app, or even an analog calendar on your wall or in your Moleskine. Try not to have more than 3 activities in a day. Book yourself or your colleagues for the vital work to do.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. – William James
Now it’s time to do what you have planned. Have a necessary meeting or a zoom call, speak, write, or perform what’s on your list today this hour.
It is only by reflecting on the past that one can create a better future. – Rithy Panh
If you got positive results, celebrate the wins. If you failed, see what you can learn from your mistakes. The next time will be better. Now go back to the first step and do the new research.
If you master the cycle of long-term success, you form a habit of success. Whether you win or lose, you gain experience and become excellent at what you do.
At some point in my life, I used to ask myself: if I am the most important person in my life, why would I ever need a role model to follow? People are faulty, make mistakes, sometimes have hidden agendas, and manipulate others; sometimes, they wear masks. Why would I need to follow someone else? Can’t I be the best version of myself just as I am out of my own character and personality?
The problem is that if you just concentrate on yourself, you can quickly lose focus of the big picture, become too narcissistic, and be blind to your faults. You don’t see yourself from aside too well and don’t have enough insights into which of your parts to improve. There is no limit to perfection and excellence. And no one has achieved it all.
Life is a journey of ups and downs. Sometimes you can go on your own. Sometimes you need help to stay on track. Different high-achievers have gained lots of experience and can teach you things you have never thought possible. You don’t have to accept everything a role model teaches you. You can filter the knowledge by what resonates with you. Grow, become the best authentic self, and pass the knowledge and tips to the younger generations or other less mature individuals.
Today I have several role models in my life and will introduce you to my top 3 ones. I don’t know too much about their biographies besides what they share online or in their books. But I like their achievements and points of view.
“Genius is less about your genealogy and more about your neuroplasticity. Masters are made, not born.” – Robin Sharma
Robin is a humanitarian and leadership missionary. He wrote several best-sellers like “The 5 AM Club”, “The Monk who Sold his Ferrari,” “The Leader Who Had No Title,” etc. Besides helping leaders from all around the world play the A-game, he motivates people of any profession to become the best version of themselves.
Robin Sharma is a master of words. He talks about leadership with swiss-army-knife preciseness. His books are full of classical wisdom and thoroughly thought through methodologies.
“Be radically proactive about any behavior that pays off in 10 years.” – James Clear
James is best known for his best selling book “Atomic Habits” about building good habits and his insightful newsletter 3-2-1, where every week he shares 3 personal ideas, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question for the reader.
James Clear digs deep into human psychology and makes his messages very concise and up to a point.
“Don’t attach your happiness to your goals. Be happy before you attain them. You’ll find attaining them much easier when you make the journey and not the destination the key to your happiness.” – Vishen Lakhiani
Vishen is the founder of Mindvalley, a company that aims to transform the conventional education system. His company brings the knowledge of the best mindful people in the world in online courses called quests. Vishen is also the author of two transformational best sellers, “The Code of Extraordinary Mind” and “The Buddha and the Badass.”
Vishen Lakhiani is open-minded, rational, and spiritual. He urges you to think out of the box, give your intuition power, and listen to your soul.
Everyone is limited. But also everyone has lots of different experiences. If you want to grow, you need to decide for your direction where to grow. Having a role model is one of the ways to set that direction. And you don’t have to agree with everything he or she says. Just filter out what resonates with you, listen to your heart and your gut feeling. Then grow.
Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Masterclass, Mindvalley, edX, FutureLearn, Codecademy, freeCodeCamp, and so on and forth – with so many online learning platforms and their offerings, it is not so trivial to choose the right online course for you. What if I say that there is a rational way to make the right decision? I will show you how I did that with my online-course preferences.
A great opportunity to study
Coronavirus lockdowns forced us to spend more time at home. The lucky ones got possibilities to work remotely while saving commuting time. Many others were forced to stay at home without work, and that opened even bigger time slots to learn new skills.
I am not an exception. While staying home, I noticed that there is a little more time and decided to build up my skills. For quite a while, I’ve had a dream to learn the basics of piano, I wish to learn more about digital marketing, I want to improve my memory, and I think that machine learning skills could be beneficial in my professional life.
Over time I collected a list of courses that I would like to take:
“Piano for all” by Robin Hall on Udemy, because it teaches different genres of piano music, not just the classical, and should be fun to learn.
“All Access Pass” on 42courses, because all of those courses look very lively and modern, and teach different kinds of marketing skills that I would use for my company Websightful.
“Applied Machine Learning in Python” by Kevyn Collins-Thompson on Coursera, because one day once and for all, I want to have a good understanding of Machine Learning and be able to solve real problems with it.
“Copywriting secrets” by Len Smith and Sean Kaye on Udemy, because I want to improve the writing skills that I will use in this blog, the 1st things 1st website, and elsewhere to create content that persuades and sells.
1st things 1st is an online tool to rate anything by multiple criteria and calculate total priorities. You can prioritize anything in these 4 steps:
List out things (such as online courses)
Evaluate things by each criterion
Examine the priorities
Let’s have a look at how I prioritized my selected online courses to find out the first one to study.
⚙️ Project setup
I added a new project to my personal account. From the project templates, I chose “Online Courses”. The same project template exists at an organizational account too.
The project creation wizard guided me through the essential questions:
1. The project title and description – I was alright with the defaults, so I immediately went to the next step:
2. Then I had to decide how to name things. The preselected values suggested evaluating Online courses by Criteria. That sounded pretty good to me. Next!
3. Then I could choose up to 5 criteria. I took the three ones that resonated with me mostly.
Now when I created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.
🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria
In the first step of prioritization, I could edit the list of criteria and change their importance or evaluation types. The default importance for all of them was 100%, and the evaluation types differed depending on the context.
For example, this is how I set the criteria for online courses:
Improves skills for personal mission because the mission itself is what defines my future.
Self-paced course because I don’t want to be bounded to specific times of the day and week for studying.
Entertaining because I like edutainment, not just dull streams of information.
Needed soon because I want to apply the knowledge gained as soon as possible before it is forgotten.
Low-cost because currently, I have other critical expenses that I need to cover.
All of those criteria mattered to me, so I set the 100% importance to all of them.
Your criteria and their importance would depend on your attitude and perspectives. For example, maybe these things mattered to you: the authority of the lecturer, the popularity of the course, direct contact with the teacher, or the certificate after the successful completion.
💡 Step 2. Add online courses
In the next step, I had to list out the courses.
I clicked on the button “Bulk add online courses” and pasted this list:
As a result, my online courses were created at the prioritizer:
🎚 Step 3. Evaluate courses by criteria
Now it’s time to evaluate all online courses by all criteria.
For example, learning piano didn’t follow my mission, but learning marketing skills did. All of those courses happened to be self-paced. The machine learning course was probably not entertaining, but the others were. Some of those courses were very affordable or even free, and some of them were very expensive.
📊 Step 4. Examine priorities
The prioritizer showed calculated and sorted courses grouped into the ones:
to choose for sure,
to consider, and
For me, the first course to take was about copywriting secrets: it supposed to move me towards my mission, it could be interesting to study, and it was very affordable. I took it without procrastination and completed it just a few hours ago.
The other courses were also quite high in the priority list, and I would take the opportunity to study them sooner or later.
Only learning piano could wait until I reach my primary goals.
Use your intuition when selecting a list of online courses, but evaluate them rationally if you want your life to lead you somewhere day after day.