Here is one of the posts by Simon Sinek (on July 27, 2011) at his blog, Re:Focus (Simple Ideas to Help You Thrive). Once you read it, I doubt if you will soon forget it…if ever. To check out Simon’s other resources, please click here and you may also wish to visit here.
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Recently, a 9-year-old girl named Rachel Beckwith died in a pileup on I-90 in Washington state. Her spinal chord was severed and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her life.
June 12th was her last birthday and for her birthday Rachel told everyone that she didn’t want any presents and she didn’t want a party. Instead, she wanted her friends to donate $9 to Charity Water. “Her big crazy goal,” said her pastor, “was to raise $300 so that 15 kids in Africa would have safe, clean water.” At the time of her death, she was $80 short of her goal.
Inspired by her generosity, Rachel’s church publicized her goal on their website…and the donations started rolling in.
When last I logged on, Rachel had raised over $300,000. And her wish to help 15 people will now help over 15,000 people. [I just checked and the current total raised thus far is $1, 243, 223.]
Rachel Beckwith may be the most inspiring 9 year old I know and I’m proud to support her in her dream to give.
If you’re interested in helping Rachel’s cause, visit My Charity Water.
If you’d like to donate to help her parents pay the medical bills, you can visit here to donate.
May we all raise our children to think of others before themselves.
May we all raise our children to by like Rachel Beckwith.
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Simon Sinek teaches leaders and companies around the world how to inspire people. From members of Congress to foreign ambassadors, from small businesses to corporations like Microsoft and American Express, from Hollywood to the Pentagon, he has presented his ideas about the power of why. He is quoted frequently by national publications and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and BrandWeek. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action is his first book. To check several of his video presentations, please click here.
The Two-Second Advantage: How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future — Just Enough
Vivek Ranadivé and Kevin Maney
Crown Business (2011)
The power of prediction-based talent: Intuition on “the other side of complexity”
At least a century ago, Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, “I don’t care a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity.” I was again reminded of that observation as I began to read this brilliant book in which Vivek Ranadivé and Kevin Maney explain how and why we can achieve success (however defined) by anticipating the future “just enough.” The book’s title refers to what is often the difference between success and failure. However, with all due respect to the co-authors’ intentions, I do not think the greatest value of this book can be measured in terms of time; rather, in term of proceeding through the simplicity of raw impulse through the complexity of probable implications, multiple perspectives, and potential consequences to “the other side of intuition” at which correct decisions can be made almost spontaneously. The U.S. Airways pilot, Chesley Burnett (“Sully”) Sullenberger III, who successfully ditched US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan, New York City, on January 15, 2009, offers an excellent case in point. Once aware of the circumstances, he made the correct decision with little (if any) consideration of options. The same is true of countless other airline pilots as well as diagnostic surgeons (especially in hospital emergency rooms) and military leaders in combat who quite literally must make life-and-death decisions.
Long before Malcolm Gladwell published an article in The New Yorker that later was developed into a book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Michael Kami (in Trigger Points, 1988) and then Andrew Grove (in Only the Paranoid Survive, 1999) explained how and why, as Ranadivé and Maney describe it, “judgments made in two seconds are often more accurate than those made after months of analysis.” For decades, we have known – as revealed by a wealth of research in psychology and behavioral economics on the adaptive unconscious — that mental processes can work rapidly and automatically from relatively little information.
However, there is an “if” (a HUGE “if”) and it is this: Those who wish to develop a more predictive brain, one that can quickly process huge chunks of information, and then act upon that information, must be willing to commit the time and the attention required. That’s what Sullenberger demonstrated when deciding to land the plane on the river. Wayne Gretzy always claimed that his advantage was knowing where the puck would go. Larry Bird describes his advantage differently but makes the same point: “When I’m playing basketball, everybody else seems to be moving in slow motion.” It probably took all three about 10,000 hours of highly disciplined, iterative practice under strict, expert supervision to develop that capability…plus some luck such as being in the right place at the right time, with the right support, while developing various skills under the right conditions.
That said, the fact remains that few people are prepared to make such a commitment of time and effort and even if they did, it is possible but unlikely that they could achieve success comparable with what super talents such as Gretzky, Bird, Bobby Fischer, Michael Jordan, and Yo Yo Ma have. However, Ranadivé and Maney are convinced (and I fully agree) that many of those who read this book with appropriate can, over time, work their way through the complexity to a point at which they have increased their predictive talent. How? By increasing their knowledge and understanding of previous efforts (i.e. what works, what doesn’t, and why), by strengthening their ability to recognize early-indicators of imminent probabilities (e.g. a quarterback “reading” a defense to know what to do next), and sharpening their ability to identify root causes after recognizing symptoms (e.g. an ER physician diagnosing a stranger who is near death after an automotive accident). The process of personal development that Ranadivé and Maney explain can be completed by almost anyone, anywhere, whatever the given circumstances may be.
A brief commentary such as this can hardly do full justice to the wealth of information, insights, and wisdom that Ranadivé and Maney provide. I also wish to commend them on the lively style with which they present their narrative. To those who read this commentary, I offer two assurances. First, any limits on your development – one that is guided and informed by the material in this book — will be self-imposed. The two-second advantage must be earned and there are no short cuts. Also, the opportunities for applying what Vivek Ranadivé and Kevin Maney offer throughout any organization are unlimited, whatever the size and nature of that organization may be.