Do you ever wonder what you can really do to make things happen for yourself? According to one of the many good points in the book “How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying” by Lyman MacInnis (copyright 2008), “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body…It’s not knowledge that’s power; it’s the application of knowledge that provides the power, which contributes to success.” Knowledge and study are the keys to expanding your mind and skills, which then opens the door to many personal and professional opportunities. Let me now share with you five key areas where Lyman MacInnis offers up advice on how to develop important skills that will benefit you for life in his book “How to Success in Anything by Really Trying”.
Learn how to Listen – Too often we approach conversations as a competition. We want to make sure that our opinion is heard, but unfortunately this comes at the expense of really listening to the other person or people taking part in the conversation. One way that we can work on being genuine and present in a conversation is to listen for intent and understanding. When someone is talking, listen to what they are saying. Don’t just be waiting until a break in the action so that you can add your two cents. Also, keep eye contact and don’t interrupt. These two bad habits will get you on the fast track to hurt feelings or a reputation that you don’t really care. Another way to listen is not with your ears, but with your eyes. Observe body language and facial expressions. If you’re paying attention, you will be able to empathize with how that person feels and really be able to be there for them. Working on becoming a good listener will build relationships and show others that you can be trusted.
Develop Communication Skills – Not only is listening important, but so is the ability to write, converse, and speak in public. Writing skills are important for getting your point across in a clear and concise manner, especially in the workplace. Be human, be specific, be positive. With hundreds of emails coming at people every day, becoming an effective writer will set your emails apart. Other skills to work on are being able to hold a conversation with just a few people or to speak in front of a larger audience. The experts say that learning to speak in front of large groups is one of the best ways to boost your confidence in all situations. Just remember these key ideas when speaking in public – be excited, know your topic, rehearse, and keep it simple. If you need practice with this, seek out the closest Toastmasters Club in your area.
Be Great in Social Situations – Do we see a trend yet? Learning how to talk to people is important. It’s a great way to learn new things, it’s a great way to get to know new people, and it’s a great way to make the most of your professional network. One key to improving your conversation skills is to learn to ask questions and listen. When drawing a blank, draw on the five W’s – Who, What, When, Where, Why. People love to talk about themselves. Especially to someone who is actively listening and taking a genuine interest in what they are saying. Another thing to remember in conversation is to let other people contribute, even if you know the answer or have an opinion. Say less than you know and let others speak. Add value where you can, but make sure you’re not dominating the conversation.
Learn how to Make Decisions – This one is tough. When your brain is overloaded with information, how do you make the best decision? According to Mr. MacInnis, the best thing to do is to gather information and don’t rush your decision. If you need to make a rushed decision, always say no. It’s easier to overturn a “no” than it is to overturn a “yes”. Also, use neutral emotions. Don’t make a decision when you are angry, humiliated, or even enthusiastic about something. In the end, don’t over-complicate and don’t fear error. We learn the most from the mistakes we make, so if you made the wrong decision just make sure to learn from it and move on. The next time you will have that additional knowledge to make a better decision.
Evolve – In order to survive and in order to succeed, we need to evolve. The times are a’changin’ and we need to change with them. It’s the survival of the most adaptable. Don’t be resistant to change. Go with it and see where it takes you. Usually where you end up is a lot better than where you would have been if you would have refused to change and evolve.
So, would I recommend reading “How to Succeed in Anything by Really Trying” by Lyman MacInnis? I definitely would. His points are well laid out, and if you’re tight on time, he summarizes every chapter at the end with his key ideas. If you are one of those people who are always looking to improve, Mr. MacInnis touches on a lot of different areas that are applicable to our every day lives. After all, refusing to expand our knowledge and change puts a limit on what we can achieve. “Putting a limit on what you will do inevitably puts a limit on what you can do, so never put limits on trying new things or on doing old things in new ways.”
Read the book and let me know what you think. Thanks for visiting.