In a challenging situation fraught with consequences for the wrong decision, if there is uncertainty, seeking wise counsel is prudent. Only a fool goes it alone in these times. Many times for us to be successful we need help from others. There are problems in the world that we are not good enough to solve.
Who do you go to when times are challenging?
Who has good words of counsel when you need it?
Who can you count on to be there to help?
We all need someone when we are faced with critical decisions and problems that can keep or get us back on the right track when we are off track. It could be a friend, spouse, parent, boss, colleague you respect, mentor or coach. When challenges and troubles hit, when things start to change, as they always do - where do you go? Knowing in advance where to go saves you tremendous time. Just finding that group of people can take years. You also might have multiple people because of their area of wisdom, skill, or expertise. For most people it won't just be one person but a few of them.
Another strategy to gain wisdom in your decisions is observation. The way most people learn at a young age is through observation. If you watch people make decisions you will learn even if those decisions prove to be poor, faulty or even disastrous.
We can save a tremendous amount of time through observation of other people's successes. Most successful people have paid a pretty high price to be where they are in life. There is a lot of trial and error that most people go through to achieve their desired result in life. This trial and error learning is the most expensive way to learn in time, money, effort, and emotion. If you want to waste a lot of time go it alone and learn via trial and error. My view is success leaves clues and if we pick up those clues we can save a considerable amount of time.
I have to admit I have engaged in more than my fair share of trial and error learning. Sometimes it was because I didn't slow down enough to observe. I wasted a lot of time in that case. There are other times that my thoughts and ideas were so far out ahead that there was no one to observe. I was the pioneer that was learning, testing, and failing so others behind me would have a pathway to walk on.
If you study successful people and the decisions that they made to accomplish their success, your success whether professionally, personally, spiritually, or in the area of your health would be cheaper, faster and easier than was theirs. Or then yours would be without their example. The premise is if you repeat their decisions and process you will receive what they have as well. That carries the seeds of good news and the potential of bad news as well. A word of caution: if you follow the exact decisions and steps you could also receive their problems as well. If they have health problems you likely will get them. If they have relationship problems with their spouse or children you'll have those too. If they are in financial trouble you probably will acquire that as well.
Frequently we can learn more from defeat than from victory. If we watch others closely we can see what not to do which is often more valuable than knowing what to do. What not to do observed in others can often lead us to what to do.
Another word of caution: Just because someone failed doesn't automatically mean an idea, strategy, or system doesn't work. There are four factors that must be evaluated to make sure failure is the outcome that will be repeated.
- The timing could have been wrong: Sometimes the timing is off on a decision or project. The timing was too early or too late so the results were not achieved due to timing problems.
- The plan was wrong: The decision to act was right but the planning of the action was lacking. Maybe the details of the plan were not thought out enough to achieve success or the plan was out of order. The individual steps were out of order so the decision was destined to fail because the plan, steps, and execution must be right.
- The person applying the plan was wrong: You could have the right decision, the right timing, the right plan, and steps and still see someone fail. The failure could occur in that the person that is leading the execution or has delegated to execute is the wrong person with the wrong skills.
- They didn't stick with their decision long enough: For most people in business we don't stick with something long enough to work out the challenges, problems, and mistakes. We quit before we have made slight adjustments to the plan and execution of our decision. In business with a new strategy, marketing, sales, management, personnel, customer service it really takes a handful of months to really know if it works or not. It takes that long to collect the data to be sure of your decision.
Persistence to a plan is a prerequisite to success. Too often we quit before we really know if our decision will work as planned or if we need an adjustment. This wastes unbelievable amounts of time. When we are observing other people's failures we must ask: did they give their decision or plan sufficient time to triumph?
Several years ago the actor William Macy won an Emmy portraying a gentleman named Bill Porter in the movie titled "Door to Door." I written about Bill Porter the famous salesperson with Cerebral Palsy and his incredible determination in other articles as well.
In the movie on the first day of his job as a door to door salesman, his mother who was a great influence to Bill stamped two words on his sandwich for lunch that day. He was frustrated and discouraged as he unwrapped the wax paper around his sandwich to read the words persistence on one side and patience on the other.
Often one good idea linked with a decision to take action is all we need to create a fortune in life. Be a student of other people's ideas. Resolve to read more, listen to more motivation and business CD's, attend more seminars, and mastermind with other people.
New ideas are fundamental to growth. We don't always have the best ones alone. Sometimes we are too close to the situation to have the right solution for our challenges and decisions. We might not have the proper angle…we are too close. We are unable to see all the moving parts. Due to our closeness we can be emotionally attached or emotionally connected to the outcome.
"Man can either buy wisdom or borrow it. By buying it he pays full price in personal time and treasure, but by borrowing it he capitalizes on the lessons learned from the failures of others." -- Benjamin Franklin