The Founders Of The World’s Five Largest Companies All Follow The 5-Hour Rule

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Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Warren Buffett. Jeff Bezos. Larry Page. They are all polymaths too.

by Michael Simmons, Serial Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author, Contributor To Fortune, Forbes, HBR, Time, & Many More

(reblog from Thrive Global)

The founders of the five largest companies in the world — Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Larry Page, and Jeff Bezos — all share two uncommon traits. After studying self-made billionaires for many years now, I believe that these two traits are responsible for a lot of their wealth, success, impact, and fame. In fact, I put so much faith in these two traits that I’ve used them in my own life to start companies, be a better writer, be a better husband, and achieve financial security.

Here are the two traits:

  1. Each of them is a voracious learner.
  2. Each of them is a polymath.

Let’s unpack these two terms, and learn a few simple tips for using them in your own life.

First, the definitions. I define a voracious learner as someone who follows the 5-hour rule — dedicating at least five hours per week to deliberate learning. I define a polymath as someone who becomes competent in at least three diverse domains and integrates them into a skill set that puts them in the top 1% of their field. If you model these two traits and you take them seriously, I believe they can have a huge impact on your life and really accelerate your success toward your goals. When you become a voracious learner, you compound the value of everything you’ve learned in the past. When you become a polymath, you develop the ability to combine skills, and you develop a unique skill set, which helps you develop a competitive advantage.

By Bill Gates’ own estimate, he’s read one book a week for 52 years, many of them having nothing to do with software or business. He also has taken an annual two-week reading vacation for his entire career. In a fascinating 1994 Playboy interview, we see that he already thought of himself as a polymath:

PLAYBOY: Do you dislike being called a businessman?

GATES: Yeah. Of my mental cycles, I devote maybe ten percent to business thinking. Business isn’t that complicated. I wouldn’t want to put it on my business card.

PLAYBOY: What, then?

GATES: Scientist. Unless I’ve been fooling myself. When I read about great scientists like, say, Crick and Watson and how they discovered DNA, I get a lot of pleasure. Stories of business success don’t interest me in the same way.

The fact that Gates considers himself a scientist is fascinating given that he dropped out of college and had spent his whole life in the software industry at that point.

Interestingly, Elon Musk doesn’t consider himself a businessman either. In this recent CBS interview, Musk says he thinks of himself as more of a designer, engineer, technologist, and even wizard.

The list goes on. Larry Page has been known to spend time talking in depth with everyone from Google janitors to nuclear fusion scientists, always on the lookout for what he can learn from them.

Warren Buffett has pinpointed the key to his success this way: “Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”

Jeff Bezos has built his whole company around learning on a massive scale via experimentation and has also been an avid reader his whole life.

Finally, Steve Jobs famously combined various disciplines and looked at it as Apple’s competitive advantage, going so far as to say:

“Technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with the liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that makes our hearts sing.”

And, of course, the founders of these five companies aren’t the only massively successful individuals who share these two traits. As I’ve written about before, if we expanded the list to a sample of other self-made billionaires, we quickly see Oprah Winfrey, Ray Dalio, David Rubenstein, Phil Knight, Howard Marks, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Charles Koch, and many others share similar habits.

Why would some of the busiest people in the world invest their most precious resource — time — into learning about topics seemingly unconnected to their fields, like fusion power, font design, biographies of scientists, and doctors’ memoirs?

Each of them commands organizations of thousands of the smartest people in the world. They’ve delegated almost every task in their lives and businesses to the best and brightest. So why have they held on to this intense amount of learning?

After writing several articles attempting to answer these questions, this is what I’ve ultimately come to:

At the highest levels, learning isn’t something you do to prepare for your work. Learning is the most important work. It is the core competency to build. It’s the thing you never delegate. And it’s one of the ultimate drivers of long-term performance and success.

As I came to this realization, I wondered: Why isn’t it obvious that we should all become voracious learners and polymaths throughout our whole lives given that we live in an increasingly complex, rapidly changing, advanced-knowledge economy? Why does the average person think of deliberate learning as an optional thing to do on the side?

I think it’s because of three strong messages we’ve all been taught — in school, in college, and in general society — that may have been true in the past but are definitely no longer true. Here’s how these three lies break down:

  • Lie #1: Disciplines are the best way to categorize knowledge.
  • Lie #2: Most learning happens in school/college.
  • Lie #3: You must pick one field and specialize in it.

These beliefs are so insidious that they’ve destroyed our intuition about learning and knowledge, and they ultimately hold us back from creating the success we want. If we can become aware of them, we can rectify them, just as the most successful people in the world have done.

To continue with this insightful article please go to THRIVE GLOBAL (Arianna Huffington founder of  HuffPost) for more!

 

What is life’s​ most important lesson?

 

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The most important lesson in life is to learn to be happy. In order to do this, you must find a way to fall in love—with yourself.

The movies, books, TV, social pressures all tell us that happiness is about money, success, prestige, finding a mate, having children. I will tell you that if you are looking for those things to make you happy in this lifetime, you will always be searching.

So look for peace and joy in the simple pleasures of life. Learn about the things that interest you. Be a loving daughter, mother, father, son, or friend.

Find your passion, the things in life that make your heart sing. I write, sometimes paint, love to read, love to travel, discover new things, people, food. Find your passion because no one can ever take your inner happiness and peace away. Learn this lesson early by asking the question you have asked me; and practice what fulfills you and makes your heart sing.

And if anyone tells you you’re selfish, so be it. In the end, we come into this world alone and we exit in the same fashion. But along the way, my friend, learn how to love yourself and you will never be lonely.

Welcome #RWISA Author Linda Mims!

 

You Take the Blue Pill, the Story Ends. You Take the Red Pill …

By Linda Mims

I was sixteen when I first suspected that I might be the one. I’d seen people in my family striving for excellence all my life. My parents’ friends were creative types who often took time to quiz me about my goals and what I was doing to achieve them. I had been persistently pleading with a leader at my church who had the power to make one of my goals a reality.

This woman headed the Womens’ Ministry. Everything from church announcements to annual celebrations fell under her domain. I wanted to be the youth announcer on the weekly, hour-long radio broadcast that emanated from our church, but she was speaking a language that I didn’t understand.

“Take some speech lessons and come back to me.”

Where in the world was I going to get speech lessons and how would I pay for them? My family knew some people, and the house did overflow from Friday to Sunday with weekend guests, but that didn’t mean we had money. A party costs maybe $25 back then—especially if everybody brought food and drinks.

Bottom line, we didn’t have money for speech lessons. Still, I wasn’t going to give up. I was a spiritual youngster, even before I knew what spiritual meant. I told the Lord what I wanted and then forgot about it. While I was waiting, strange, but wonderful things were happening to me. I was voted vice president of my choir and I was chosen to deliver the Youth Day Address. Go figure!

One Friday evening, my mother received a phone call. The church maven and her assistant had gone on strike. I was too young to understand everything a strike entailed. I just knew that I was being asked to fill in as the main radio announcer for the broadcast; the very thing I’d wanted in the first place. That broadcast went out to hundreds, maybe thousands in the Chicago listening area.

When she returned from her strike, Ms. Maven kept me on as a junior announcer and she became one of my most revered mentors. That was the year I discovered that I was tight with God. I could get a prayer through! Was I the one?

I’m every woman. It’s all in me

While in college a few years later, I watched a bold, beautiful young woman, with a voice as big as a brass saxophone, sing on a makeshift stage. It was an impromptu concert behind one of the lecture halls on my university campus. The day was balmy and the sun was bright. We shaded our eyes as we stared straight into the golden orb that bathed her in its light.

She looked like a woman and a child at the same time. She wore very few clothes. Just a band around her breasts, a pair of short shorts, ankle boots, and a tall feather stuck in the crown of one of the biggest afros I’d ever seen.

We were fascinated, and her voice held us captivated. After the performance, members of the group handed out bills that said their name was Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan. They would be performing at a local club that night.

We showed up to the club, but a multi-ethnic crowd had filled the place to capacity. You don’t need to ask for racial diversity once everybody realizes you have something we all desire. Anyway, we couldn’t get in. That day would be the first and only time I’d hear Chaka Khan sing for free. At the time, I wondered if she was also the one!

In 1978, Chaka Khan recorded her first solo album, Chaka. One song from that album would define the rest of my life. In it, she sang my truth! I’d always felt that I could do anything, but it wasn’t until Ms. Khan sang the words, that I knew how to describe what I’d always known.

“I’m every woman. It’s all in me. Anything you want done, baby, I do it naturally. I ain’t bragging, but I’m the one. Just ask me and it shall be done.”

I had a theme song!

You may not know the purpose, but know that there is a purpose.

In The Matrix, one of my favorite movies of all time, there’s the scene where Morpheus gives Neo a choice between the red pill or the blue pill. Neo has been searching for information about the matrix. Morpheus has to convince Neo that he isn’t looking for the matrix, but what he’s really looking for is more. Morpheus believes that once Neo has answers to his questions, he will come to accept what Morpheus already knows. Neo is the one.

Being the one is about knowing that you want more. You want to change things. You may not know what your ultimate purpose is, but you know that there is a purpose. You’re so absolutely self-motivated and focused, that God himself delights in your purpose. I told you I’ve always been spiritual, so, I’ll say that I believe when God and the universe delight in your purpose, there’s no stopping you.

The Matrix is fiction, so let’s take a look at real-life people who wanted more. One such person was the late author, Janet Dailey. A prolific writer, Dailey thought she could write better than most of the romance writers she was reading. She knew she was the one. When people referred to her as “just a secretary” who writes romance novels, Dailey said the following, and I quote:

“One of the things that to me is the biggest compliment any writer can get is hearing from the ones who say, ‘I used to think reading was boring until I picked up one of your books.’ ”

Between 1974 and 2007, Janet Dailey sold over 300 million copies of more than 100 titles. Not bad for “just a secretary”.

Then, there was Steve Jobs. Steve dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon after six months, but he stayed there and audited creative classes over the next 18 months. A course in calligraphy developed his love of typography. Apple and Macintosh computers would be the first to offer creative fonts, including calligraphy, for the consumer’s use.

Steve Jobs partnered with his friend, Steve Wozniak, to start Apple Computer, in the Jobs’ family garage. Steve Jobs said, “I want to put a ding in the universe”.

I guess he knew that he was the one!

Being the one comes with certain responsibilities

Many of you have already realized that you are the one; you just haven’t taken the red pill yet. When you’re ready, there are some responsibilities:

1. Toot your own horn

2. Don’t give up

3. Throw away false humility

First, toot your own horn! You can’t be afraid of appearing to be too much of a showoff. Waiting patiently for others to give you the rewards you so richly deserve, may yield nothing but hurt and disappointment. Individuals will slink away with your destiny in their greedy little hands without so much as a backwards glance for you.

A few times, I spoke too quietly in meetings or waited until it was too late to claim my own ideas that I’d shared with others in private. I watched, stunned, as another, bolder individual stole my idea, shouted it out, and received my praise. I had to wise up quickly and realize that there are differences in the way that leaders and achievers talk and present. First, leaders declare that they have something to say. Then, when everyone is focused, they speak. They make sure their ideas are credited.

Don’t give up, opportunity does knock more than once.

I’ve learned that opportunity knocks more than once. Heck, when you’re the one, you create opportunities. When one door closes, another door really does open. If you weren’t ready the first time, the truth is, you can keep reinventing yourself until your moment comes or until you’re tired of trying.

“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” —Steve Jobs

Throw away that false humility! It’s okay to hang back while you formulate your plan. Go ahead! Get the lay of the land. If you are confident in the knowledge that you can do anything, take as much time as you need. Just don’t overdo humble. That’s almost as bad as having too much pride.

It’s permissible to show pride in yourself and your accomplishments. The 21st Century is begging for your stories, calling for your experiences, and expecting you to step up and lead, in every way imaginable. Women like Oprah Winfrey—women like Taylor Swift—they are leading change with their out-of-the-box ideas and sweeping changes to the status quo.

Men like Barack Obama are stepping out of obscurity and into the Senate and the office of the President of the United States. Have the audacity to dream! Wear your mantle of distinction with pride. Step-up, speak-out! You are the one!

 

WOW! Thank you Linda Mims for your incredible words of wisdom!  Lynda Filler

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