If you're about to tackle an important challenge or task, there's a simple 3-step process you can follow that, in just 30 minutes, can boost your performance 60%:
"A recent study by Duckworth, Heidi Grant Halvorson, Benjamin Loew, Oettingen, and Gollwitzer asked a group of high school students preparing for the high-stakes, standardized Preliminary SAT (PSAT) to complete a thirty-minute written intervention that involved mental contrasting (vividly imagining the goal and writing down possible obstacles) with implementation intentions (coming up with two if-then contingency plans if an obstacle presents itself). They found that students undergoing the intervention completed more than 60 percent more practice questions on the PSAT compared to a placebo control group who were instead asked to write about an influential person or event in their life."Eric Barker summarizes this in his post:
"Before a big challenge:Imagining your goal helps you build a plan. But building a plan to achieve success isn't enough. As the noted philosopher Mike Tyson said, "Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth."
1. Imagine your goal.
2. Write down anything that might stop you from achieving it.
3. Come up with a few contingency plans to address those obstacles."
That's where the last two steps come in. By anticipating obstacles and developing contingency plans, you reduce the willpower and effort required to surmount them. This has a huge impact, especially on a timed test like the PSAT.
This 3-step secret applies to just about any important, time-sensitive challenge. If you're an entrepreneur getting ready to pitch a VC firm, the same steps apply:
1. Imagine what you want the VC to do, and what you need to do to achieve it. Is the goal to get another meeting, or to ask for the investment?
2. Write down the possible objections the VC might raise. Suppose they want to talk with a reference customer, for example...
3. You can address the objection by preparing a couple of your customers for reference calls. It's much stronger to tell a VC, "You can talk to X, Y, and Z. I'll send you an email introducing you so you can hear for yourself." Compare the impression that conveys to saying, "Sure, I'll send you a couple of names after I get back to the office." The former shows confidence and competence.
What other ways can you apply this secret?