THE TERRIFYING PROSPECT OF TAKING BUSINESS ADVICE FROM TRUMP. YIKES.
YES, AS TERRIFYING A QUESTION AS THAT IS, EL DONALD IS BOTH THE PRESIDENT AND A BILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN. IN A BID TO START THE NEW YEAR POSITIVELY, WE LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE TO SEE IF ANY OF HIS PROFESSIONAL PLAYS CAN HELP YOU GET AHEAD. SERIOUSLY.
FORGET GOALS; FORM HABITS
Each morning Donald Trump – multibillionaire businessman, reality TV star and now leader of the free world – wakes up at 6am and is presented with a pile of articles about himself carefully cut out from the day’s newspapers by his assistant. It’s a habit he’s practised for decades, in part to help keep abreast of what the world is saying about him and, according to his biographer Professor Michael D’antonio, to provide an early morning ego boost. “In one way it’s a strange routine, but it gets him going and keeps him sustained,” D’antonio said. Whatever you think of the man himself – and in this case GQ’S opting out of that debate – forming habits, however unusual, rather than simply meeting one-off goals, is a trait of many a successful man. Since school it’s always been about setting and meeting targets. Think about where you want to be and what you want to achieve – list those goals, break them down, then, one day, enjoy the fact that this hard work led to a backyard pool with swim-up bar. If only it were that simple. That said, it mightn’t be the best way to achieve desired levels of professional success. This rather strong play against engrained, goal-led convention is central to the work of Jay Papasan, a business executive and co-author of The New York Times bestseller The One Thing. Papasan believes that the key to success is to build better habits. “The reality is that almost half the people you know will make a New Year’s resolution, yet only eight per cent will succeed,” says Papasan. “What are the minority doing that the rest are not? They tackle one thing, keep it simple and stick with it.” So the thinking goes, that by developing small habits, long-term goals come to fruition. “The most common resolution is to lose weight,” adds Papasan. “The trick is to make a stand around one key activity, say eating smaller portions, and turn that into a habit. When that habit feels formed, you move on.” Perth-based psychologist Dr Marny Lishman agrees, saying that it’s about not overwhelming your system. “And then it’s breaking it down into behaviour.” This should be a specific action that leads to you gaining something positive, she stresses, rather than depriving you. By way of example, she advises reframing losing weight into getting fitter and adopting new healthier habits that bring more to your life such as morning walks. While busting out the new moves in the office might not snare that promotion (save it for the Christmas party – or not), the approach is easily transferable. Want more colleagues to appreciate and like you? Then single out those you want on side and engage with them daily. And listen to what they have to say, be interested and also ask for their opinions in meetings and in front of others. Wish to secure more indirect facetime with the boss? Well, golf’s still a good option (if clichéd), so, too, reading every piece of industry news each morning, because that opens the door to small talk, if nothing else. And realise productivity is easily increased by adhering to two of the most basic and easily executed daily habits – unclutter, clean the desk/ office and empty out your inbox of the unnecessary each and every day, ideally before you go so each day starts fresh and clean. American writer Will Durant said it best: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” And so it’s now time to ditch the goals and embrace the process.