Forget philosophy. As the owner of a growing business, you can’t afford it. One man’s deeply-held principles are another man’s hang-ups. People with mental agility can accept and make use of data from any direction.
That does not mean break the law or act without regard to harm you may cause.
People with mental agility don’t discount good advice or data just because it comes from a source they don’t like. People who lack mental agility follow the crowd, jump on bandwagons, and place credence in what is popular, rather than what is solid.
What are signs of limited mental agility?
The stuck five
Imagine buying a new calculator. For a long time, it works perfectly, providing accurate answers. But after a while, something is off. You find out the five key is stuck in the down position. A calculator with a “stuck five” will always produce answers that are incorrect. 2×1=10, 3×2=30, 2×5=50, etc.
Likewise, your mind has some of its own “stuck fives’. They may be morals and principles. They may come in the form of “phantom” pain; causing you to turn away an opportunity or person simply because they remind you of a past situation that you had a bad experience with. Stuck fives are costing you money and opportunities.
Here are four of many significant signs of limited mental agility.
- “My values don’t align with this”. Your boundaries may need widening, as well as your horizons. If you are experiencing any internal debate about a proposed endeavor, thoroughly examine all sides with the help of a mentor. Are you ignoring the merits of a proposal for ideological reasons?
- “He is a professional with advanced credentials, so I will follow his recommendation”. In the vast majority of fields, credentials matter far less than ability or willingness to deliver. Take time to look beyond credentials.
- “I don’t like him, so I won’t listen to him”. Again, truth and opportunities come at you from all directions. If it is real and true, can you disregard your dislike for the source?
- “I like him, so I trust whatever he says”. Blind faith in a person or institution is an indication that someone lacks mental agility.
Identify your stuck fives, account for them, and you will make better decisions.
The ability to work with things and people you may not like is an indicator of mental agility. The ability to accept truth and sound data from any source is a sign of mental agility.
Take this simple test
Below are two quotes from men you know well who served as U.S. president. Both could teach you a thing or two about reaching high levels of success.
What do you think of these quotes?
Is there anything wrong with advising you to not be deterred by cynics? No.
Is there anything wrong with advising you to think big? No.
Both quotes represent sound advice for business and life. However, if your first instinct upon reading them was to discount the wisdom in the quotes because you don’t like the man who said it, you have found one of your stuck fives.
Good things can come from places, people or situations that you don’t like. Your strong feelings may prevent you from benefitting from them.
If you can identify your stuck fives, they lose a great deal of power to distort your clear thinking and good decisions.
However, they are not always easy to identify. That is why you need mentors, if not therapists or counselors. You need someone who can help you take an objective look at the lens through which you see the world, recalibrate and optimize the view, and therefore optimize your mental agility.
It is ok to be transactional. In other words, accept truth, information, data or benefits from any direction. If it is real and true to you, it should be no less real or true just because it comes from a source you personally find distasteful.
Top entrepreneurs can make use of truth from any direction. That is mental agility.
Start asking the right questions
The book 99 Questions to ask BEFORE starting a business in the US gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from two industry experts about the different aspects of starting, operating, financing, and marketing a new business in the USA. For immigrating entrepreneurs, learn about visa options for those who seek to migrate to the US through a qualifying investment. The book 99 questions is available on Amazon and through Balboa Press.
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