Business, Economics and ToK (critical thinking) teacher at OFS.
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Life is full of complicated trade-offs, but when you make the decision to be the best at something you’re saying no to almost everything else.
Only when we commit to being the best can we focus completely and do the necessary work.
That kind of commitment takes courage and most people aren’t willing to act with that kind of courage.
Most people never really commit to ambitious goals. They mention things that they’d like to achieve, but they never actually DECIDE to achieve them. So they don’t. And this results in lower self-confidence and confirmation that they should also aim for less next time around.
Making a real decision cuts off all other possibilities. If you decide to be the fastest runner, you don’t have to decide which days you’re going to train. You’re going to train every day. A lot of little decisions have already been made, so you can get on with it. You can do the work and become the best.
If you decide half-way you might never get anywhere.
So, it’s not easy to become the best, but it’s a simple thing. That decision makes everything simple.
10 years ago my wife and I shared a house in London with a guy who worked at a major bank. I’ll call him Jack, but that’s not his real name.
Jack was hired as a writer. He wrote reports. He had credentials from several impressive colleges and he knew almost everything about finance. Unfortunately, Jack was actually not a great writer. He spoke so many languages that he was always making mistakes.
What Jack could do was speak to anyone and make them love him, almost instantly. He was just that kind of guy. He was always authentic and always comfortable. With a CEO, a well-known politician or a little kid he was always the same: comfortable and completely genuine.
But he still had this problem: he wasn’t great at his job.
The thing I learned from Jack is that you need to go with your strengths.
It’s easy to feel like we can’t do the things we want to do. We’ve got obligations filling up the day. But, really successful people find a way to do the things they love anyway.
Jack made sure to take time to meet every client who walked through the office, even though that was not part of his job. He knew that he was great with people and he enjoyed doing it.
Fast forward 10 years. Jack is now in charge of keeping in contact with the bank’s most important clients and important government officials, around the world. He’s perfect for the job because he is someone anyone would be happy to pick up the phone and call and he understands people so well.
The lesson: As busy as you might get, still take time do the things you’re great at. You’ll become even better at them with more practice. And eventually the world will find a place for you at the top.
If you’re an IB student and you’d like some extra support, IBMastery can help.
Video notes (related to managing your time and being productive):
- How to determine your core focus activities
- More information on the Pomodoro time-management technique.
Stay in touch. Let’s connect:
I know there are a lot of you (IB Business Management students) who haven’t yet gotten the full CUEGIS video course, so here is part of it that I know will help you as you prepare for the new concepts of exam question (Paper 2, Part C).
This is my step-by-step method for answering these questions, to make sure you get full marks on the exam.
Remember, this one question can easily bring you up an ENTIRE GRADE level, if you do it right. It’s worth 10% of the whole course.
In this step-by-step CUEGIS-answer method I’m going to be as succinct as possible. I want to give you a simple model you can use and then I’ll show you can example of a perfect answer. (That’s the sample perfect answer in the online course — which is available for a free trial, as part of the IB Business Mastery pack).
First, know that you will have about 34 minutes for this question. And basically we have to follow an Introduction-Body-Conclusion approach. Nothing too hard so far.
The CUEGIS method
The body will address each concept, but mostly just one concept at a time.
The basic model you’ll follow will be CL + CO + CT + CT.
CL = Case link. Give a fact about your chosen company and the first concept.
CO = Concept link. Tell us something interesting about this concept.
CT = Course theory. Use a keyword or idea from the course to develop your insight.
CT = Course theory. Use another keyword or idea from the course to develop your insight further.
Before you start
You need to carefully read the question and decide how you’re going to approach it. You’ve got basically three choices. Each of these basic approaches help you to look at the concepts and your chosen business from two sides.
If you take IB Business Management (HL or SL), you’re probably a bit nervous about the new CUEGIS questions.
The CUEGIS question (Part C, in your final Paper 2 Examination) will be worth 10% of your mark in the course. The difference between a 4 and a 6 in IB Business is 11%, so this one essay could have a huge affect on how well you do.
But people are finding it challenging to prepare for because it’s completely new to the IB. And it’s a very different type of assessment than we’ve had before in IB Business Management. Your teachers haven’t seen these questions before either, so it’s new to everyone.
I’ve created this mini-course, which will teach you everything you need to know about this question in 3 hours or less.
If you’re already feeling ready for these questions, then this isn’t for you. But if you’re at all unsure about these questions, then this course will get you ready.
Almost everyone starts kindergarten full of curiosity, enthusiasm and big opinions about things. And very few graduate that way.
Why is that?
Modern schools make pragmatists of all of us.
As an educator, I consider my primary responsibilities to be building students’ enthusiasm for learning and building their ability to learn on their own. I don’t like thinking that schools themselves are somehow acting against their own aims.
So what would a school look like that was designed by students and run by students? Honestly, I fear it would end up looking a lot like the schools we have already. Because we all, so easily get so used to the way things are already. It becomes hard to imagine successful alternatives. We need not only fresh eyes, but also the insights of geniuses.
The tide is turning though. Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk about school’s killing creativity is the most popular Ted Talk ever. He’s bold, admonishing and hard to disagree with.
Those of us who really believe in the potential of education to empower people need to do as much as we can to make schools places much more about freedom, confidence-building and fun. And perhaps less about pragmatism and assessment.
I’d like my own sons to graduate even more curious, more enthusiastic, more confident and more opinionated than they were going in. And hilarious –I’d like school to make my boys as funny as possible.
Photo credit: Sam Sherratt
Motivated people find a way. They don’t need everything to be perfect before they can work. They just do it. They push through with what’s available.
Motivated people can handle discomfort for the moment, because they know that what’s coming is worth it.
Is there a way to become motivated if you aren’t motivated already? Yes.
If you’d like to do this, we’re going to go positive and then go negative. We’re going to heighten your positive and negative emotions around one of your goals.
I want to warn you that this exercise can be quite powerful. It takes about 10 minutes and it will definitely increase your motivation. Maybe dramatically.
Here we go.
Write down the answers to these questions or say the answers out loud to really lock in the experience. It’s not enough to simply read the questions. The power comes from you really thinking through your answers in a personal way. Take at least a full minute for each question.
- What is a very specific goal you care about achieving?
- What will it mean to you to achieve your goal?
- What else will be great about achieving your target?
- How will that make you feel?
- What will other people think about you when you achieve your goal?
- What else will be possible for you and for the people you care about when you reach your target?
- In what ways would your life be worse if you didn’t achieve your goal?
- What is the worst thing that could happen if you didn’t reach your target?
- How would that make you feel?
- What else could go wrong if you didn’t achieve your goal?
- How would that affect you and the people around you?
Everyone knows that creativity is important. Parents know the value of play for their kids and our most innovative companies know it too.
If it works for our children and for the most-skilled among us, what’s stopping the rest of us?
In a massive IBM survey, 1,500 CEO’s from 60 countries chose creativity as the #1 skill required by leaders. Personally, I was surprised that the managers didn’t choose something like intelligence or the ability to communicate. (The managers I know often talk about feeling pressured to focus on achieving very-specific, narrowly-defined targets.) But they chose creativity.
Creativity, like memory, is a muscle. It won’t grow stronger if we don’t really use it. But as we spend more time with it, it can allow us to smash-through problems our earlier less-creative selves never could have.
It can seem hard to justify taking time-out to journal, to doodle or to go for a walk and ask ourselves some really unusual What-If questions, because we’re busier than ever. And we’re trying to be responsible. But building the habit of exploring all the possibilities in a situation, letting the subconscious mind weigh-in, can help us find the breakthroughs we need.
[blockquote cite=”Roger Von Oech” type=”left, center, right”]Life is ambiguous; there are many right answers — all depending on what you are looking for. But if you think there’s only one right answer, then you’ll stop looking as soon as you find one.[/blockquote]
Success is more a function of the quality of the decisions we make, rather than the resources we have available. It’s not what we have, but what we do with what we have. And it’s hard to find the best answers if we don’t take time to ask the questions.
I’m sure you’ve done the exercise before where you look around the room, in search of everything that’s red. You haven’t noticed, but there are lots of red things around you right now. You don’t notice until you look.
When we get clear on what we’re looking for we find it easily.
Leaders change the world around them by focusing on 4 things, over and over again:
- They clarify a positive idea about the future.
- They decide exactly how we can get there.
- They personally commit to building up the habits and skills required to make that future a reality.
- And they take immediate, massive action to move forward.
They do this over and over again until they achieve their vision.
So ask yourself:
- What do I want?
- What is the best path to get there?
- What needs to be true about me, if I am going to make this vision a reality?
- What can I do right now, to move toward my vision?
If you aren’t looking for the answers to those questions you won’t find them. But if you look you’ll see the answers are all around you and inside of you just waiting for you to notice.
The world is full of distractions and people trying to direct our attention toward things we don’t care about. Television. Advertisements. Fashion. Sports. People trying to stress us out about things that aren’t important. Leaders is about pushing back, making time for your own priorities.