What do the big-shot investors at Dragons' Den, Roger Federer and Big Shaq have in common?
They are all super thinkers.
Ok, I might be pushing it a bit the last one, but a lot still can be said for Michael Dapaah and the alter ego he created called Big Shaq, who burst onto the UK scene in 2017 breakthrough barriers of the overly saturated world of YouTube wannabes to make it to the mainstream.
I know you are probably wondering what this all has to do with slow living, so let's rewind to this time last week. I was sitting on a plane heading back to Gatwick, the crazy post-heatwave storms had resulted in an extra hour on the tarmac in Verona, so avoiding the temptations of the in-flight Marks and Spencers food magazine (hello millionaires shortbread!) I was instead, casually flicking through a dogeared copy of Business Life.
More invested in the idea of a scone, slathered with jam and thick clotted cream, I very nearly missed the article which would eventually inspire this blog: Super Thinking. The promised to explain the road to success for some of the world’s greatest thinkers, and why they are more likely to succeed in their quest to the top, as opposed to your average Joe Blog, and it all came down to one thing: Mental Models.
A “mental model” is effectively a term used to describe any sort of concept or framework we have in our brains, and these, in turn, can guide our perception and behaviour. The theory is that those who are at the top of their game look at what's going on in there to figure out how to get to the place they want to out there, in the outside world. A basic example that the writer gave was 2+2+2+2=8, however, you could also just do 2x4 to get to the same answer. The idea is to use the tools already available to you and then work on streamlining them.
This about how we use mental models at Fleek Retreats, as our main focus is to help our guests gain more time in their day to do the things they love. There are thousands of mental models out there, but I wanted to share 3 of my favourites which anyone can work into their week.
“2+2=4 -1 that's 3 quick maths” (Big Shaq)
Mental Model 1: Replacing addition with Multiplication
The theory for this model is simple and I referenced it in the first paragraph, but even though it’s so simple many people still choose to ignore it. Why? Well, it’s all down to pride. In some parts of your life, it’s easy to see where you streamline your time, but in others, it’s not always so easy. Short term stress creates long term blinkers, so don’t feel you have to go at it alone. Friends can be great at providing constructive advice and feedback, but the first step is allowing yourself to let people in. It’s not always easy to take criticism, but if a small bit of self-analysis in the present can streamline your future, isn’t it worth looking at where you can make those changes.
“There is no way around the hard work. Embrace it.” (Roger Federer)
Mental Model 2: Reducing those unforced errors
You’ve now figured out where all your time is going, but progressing from addition to multiplication doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes time. When Roger Federer started his career he analysed every possibility and you can do the same. Back to the example of multiplication, there are several ways to get to the answer 16, you can do 2x8, 4x4, 1x16, 16x1 etc. You get the same result but by preparing for the bumps in the road, and going over them until they are perfect, you will reduce your chances of messing up your times' table.
So take the lead from the king of tennis himself, and start looking at ways to reduce the unforced errors in your life. There’s a lot to be said for getting it right the first time, namely the extra time it will save you during the day.
“I don’t think I’d be as successful running a big business now if I hadn’t once been responsible for every single aspect of a much smaller business.” (Duncan Bannatyne, Dragons' Den)
Mental Model 3: Critical Mass
You might have to bear with me here as this is when things get a little more complex and physics comes into play. Don’t switch off just yet though because in this final step we breakdown how the Dragons', in Dragons' Den, have such a knack for knowing where those millions are going to be made.
Everything in life has a critical point, where something reaches the point or limit which will cause the behaviour of the object to change. Critical masses is the optimum point for the system to start working at it’s best, and the same can be said for your brain. By continually streamlining your ways of thinking and repeating them to reduce those unforced errors you will finally arrive at a place where the thing you were trying so hard to achieve has suddenly become second nature, and you may have not even realised it. It isn’t a fluke that the investors on these shows appear to have a great nose for business, most of the time they’ve worked their socks off to get there, which brings me back to slow living. A lifestyle change doesn’t just happen overnight, it’s based on a multitude of little things, small steps, and it will only be as you are casually flicking through your copy of the in-flight magazine at 18,000 ft, that you realise you actually do have that little bit of extra time on your hands to do exactly what you want.
Now, where’s that trolley gone with my millionaire's shortbread?
Written by Emma Bolus