It took Antonio Gaudi 43 years to build La Sagrada Familia, and it wasn’t completed the day he died. It’s 93 years later and construction is still going on. When you make grand plans, the work is always continuing. Our mind works in the same way – it is plastic, clay at the hands of the creator. This is our 10th success principle in our series of 17, and it will be worthless to you without steps 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Precision Thinking is the constant task of thinking things through and sticking to facts. Your mind is full of power and energy, but it must be directed wisely.
Only purposeful mental action brings results that truly make a difference.
- Experience Concluding: This method is the one in which whatever your own experience happens to be, you immediately believe that all are the same.
- Assumption Thinking: This method draws specific conclusions based on general events.
The only way they work in a correct manner is by combining them. Reasoning power is an easily manipulated attribute, so you must examine your conclusions without cease, and search for flaws.
If you hate being wrong and don’t want to get excited about something only to discover it’s a mistake, then your only hope is to apply these next two steps:
1. Precisely identify facts – separate them from opinions, rumors, and hearsay.
2. Emphasize the facts that are important, and give them preference.
Be a person that doesn’t have a multitude of unfounded opinions, but rather check every opinion you hold or that is offered by someone else and immediately throw away wrong or ineffective ones, no matter how long you have believed them.
This will genuinely be useful in business and investing. Emotions, hype, and passing fads are your archenemy.
Precision Led By Digging In
It is absolutely necessary to be a relentless investigator. Don’t become complacent or naive about any matter. When you are presented with information, you should dig out the “angles.”
– See what the source of the information you have been fed is.
– Find out who stands to gain from this.
– Can the data be verified? Is it backed by a number of people?
Here’s an example: at age 16, I began investing. The banker who was guiding me at first suggested investing in mutual funds that are focused on China. This was 2001, so China was booming. In 3 months, the fund lost 15%, and I sold. In retrospect, it’s clear that I wasn’t evaluating and probing the banker like I should have. If I did, I would have learned that banks make higher fees with this particular fund that this banker had read a 1-page report on the day before suggesting I risk my money, and I would have known that he had no idea about what the fund was allocating capital towards specifically. Moreover, this banker didn’t have a personal portfolio. Worst of all, investors in the Chinese stock market were too optimistic at that time. In-depth research into the basics of investing through reading even one book using Precision Thinking would have revealed that in markets with incredible expectations, prices go up too high too fast. That is a risky time to enter markets.
The point here is that there’s always something to learn and questions to ask.
That is not to say that you must know everything about a subject before you act, but that one can never know everything, and must always take the approach of radical suspicion towards anything unproven.
Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make
- Lack of will to research – people who simply take things at face value achieve mediocre results, at best. They are soldiers to those they listen to blindly. Be a general – never the soldier.
- Lack of will to adapt to new information – don’t be stubborn, and don’t freeze in place. If you come across new data that totally alters what you thought you knew, be plastic in your mind and absorb it like a sponge. Celebrate the fact that you were previously wrong and are now wiser, rather than clinging to outdated ideas.
Precision thinking is a habit, and it unleashes your inner force. It’s a success principle that allows you to be one of those rare people who advances the world, since Precision Thinking leads to progress, and that is what all the great man of history have achieved: progress.