How to succeed in business, Learn the secret skill to business success that Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates share with this Ape.

How to succeed in business like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates…

From the Business & Science series – by Brad Horan

There are many successful entrepreneurs out there, I am focusing on these 3 however I am sure there are others using the same techniques.

(The Ape is also there for a reason. We’ll get to that soon.)

I am referencing Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates because they have some very specific traits that other famous (perhaps more famous) entrepreneurs do not share:

  1. They are 3 of the world’s top 5 richest (by high net worth) people in the world. (see summary later in the article)
  2. Despite their massive empires they are known to have balance in their lives. They actually have time for family and friends.
  3. They have very stable businesses that have proven to return profits over time (although that is arguable for Amazon)

I work with business leaders everyday and it surprises me that so many aspire to be Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk.

When did being busy, working long hours at the expense of friends and family become a measure of success?

Don’t get me wrong they are brilliant minds and very successful but they have both achieved success through incredible hardship and at a great cost to their personal relationships.

It has been reported that Steve Jobs regretted not spending enough time with his family.

Elon Musk… well there have been many reports of crazy long hours, emotional explosions, and poor relations with people in both his professional and personal life.

Despite this both Steve and Elon’s (yes we are on 1st name basis’) jam packed calendars and excessive working hours have somehow become a hallmark of being a successful entrepreneur….


When did being busy, working long hours at the expense of friends and family become a measure of success?

Or worse an aspiration for young leaders….

How and why did this come about?

No-one on their death bed ever said “I wish I spent more time at the office” or “I wish I spent less time with my family and friends”.

Is it the lust for media attention that we have developed? Does having a full calendar equate to innovation and success?

Perhaps (as is my theory) it is simply that they are/were frequently in the media so it is at the forefront of our attention….

Meanwhile….. the richest people in the world DO NOT have full calendars. They make time for family and friends, and are reported to have strong professional and perhaps more importantly personal relationships.

No-one on their death bed ever said “I wish I spent more time at the office” or “I wish I spent less time with my family and friends”.

So if the measure of success should not be being busy, spending long hours at the office, and losing touch with friends and family, what should it be?

That my friend, is a question for another article (or hundreds).

But I do want to highlight you don’t have to spend forever at the office and alienate yourself from loved ones to be have a highly profitable business. That is not to say it is easy or you don’t have to work…

You guessed it!

Work smarter not harder. The Science proves it! – Metacognition, a deeper order of thinking.

– Oxford Dictionary

I.1         metacognition

I.1.1   NOUN

mass nounPsychology 

Awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes.

Metacognition – this is deeper thinking, and its a key ingredient for creativity and innovation.

Is deeper thinking becoming extinct?

It’s funny, we are the most sophisticated life-form on earth (that we know of), yet we are thinking deeply less than ever.

I recently saw a great talk on millennials by Simon Sinek a famous management theorist. He suggests that society has failed the younger generations who expect instant gratification, are constantly on their devices and struggle to hold enough attention span to hold a conversation much less to spend time deep in thought.

Our addiction to devices, technology, social media, and instant gratification is killing off deep thought, and with it creativity and innovation.

But I’m too busy to spend time just thinking…..

A quick history lesson.

A penny for your thoughts….

This saying (c.1535) was used to encourage re-engagement when someone was lost in thought. This metaphor indicates that thinking was valuable (offering what was 1/2 days wage just for your thoughts).

Scientists have discovered that other primates like Great Apes and Orangutans are also deep thinkers and that this ability is what enables them to solve problems and innovate.

So history shows that deep thinking was a very important part of our evolution.

Why you need Metcognition to be a great business leader.

As a business leader you must make the most impact in your business. ‘Thinking sessions’ help you accomplish this.

What is your role as a Business leader?

A quick Google search will provide 822 million answers in less than 1 second (amazing) they contain words like inspiring, motivating, instilling, problem-solving, strategy, innovation, honesty, empathy and the list goes on.

Ultimately your job is to ensure the business can perform at it’s very best which will require leveraging other people and technologies as well as employing innovation to always stay ahead your competition.

The research shows in order to inspire people, be creative, and innovate you must be self-aware. To be self-aware you must think about thinking, employ a higher level of thinking, deeper thinking otherwise know as Metacognition.

What now? You ask?

Put it into practice.

In contrast to Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos spends breakfast with his family most mornings. Warrant Buffet claims his calendar is 80% empty (yes empty that is not a misprint), and Bill Gates blocks out weeks at a time for intensive relaxation and thought.

These leaders allocate significant time in their calendars to thinking (Warren Buffett built his whole calendar around thinking).

Jeff Bezos will only schedule meetings that need complex problem solving in the mornings to reduce decision fatigue. That is how highly he rates thinking.

These business leaders are in the top 3 wealthiest people in the world and still manage to have time for friends and family.

They will tell you that allocating calm time to think has a massive impact on how well they perform as business leaders.

As a business leader, you don’t need to be the first one in, the last to leave, or have the busiest calendar, but you must make the most impact in your business. ‘Thinking sessions’ help you accomplish this.

In a world that is growing more complex and rapidly changing, the calendars of successful CEOs and business leaders will look more like Warren Buffett’s and less like Elon Musk’s!

If Apes can do it, so can you!

If you like this article there are plenty more of other interesting article (I’m also a big Ted Talk/ Tedex fan).

About the Author:

Brad Horan is a director of Lucrature – Financial Peak Performance.

All great businesses start off with a seed, an idea. They need support and nurturing to grow. It is not possible for one business leader to master all the necessary skills to really grow a business into greatness.

It’s confusing there are so many conflicting business management techniques and frankly many are difficult or impossible to put into practise.

Traditionally good advice is difficult and expensive to access, but armed with the belief that every business deserves a chance, that with great business advice everyone in the economy wins, he is disrupting the consulting market. He is leveraging technology and community learning to make top tier advice more accessible and affordable.

He has took 20 years experience as a chartered accountant and business consultant, distilled all that knowledge down into Financial Peak Performance, a business framework for mid-sized businesses that teaches business leaders to not only survive but supercharge their business.

Want to know more connect with Brad in LinkedIn or just send a message and say hi. He loves a coffee and chat!

Wealthiest people based on Net Wealth as reported in the Business Insider Jan 16 2018

  1. Jeff Bezos (Net Wealth) — $108.9 billion.
  2. Bill Gates (Net Wealth) — $91.9 billion.
  3. Warren Buffett (Net Wealth) — $90.1 billion.

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