November 14, 2014

I ran across Why Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Are So Successful, in One Word earlier today. It’s a short piece by Greg McKeown, and it’s worth a look-see.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are close. Very close, in fact! The Buffett money ends up, mostly, in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the two men are bridge and burger buddies. (Bill Gates’ late mother introduced her son to Warren Buffett.)

So what’s the word? Focus, both as a noun—having one—and as a verb, i.e., to focus. Mr. McKeown provides examples of focus in both ways, and even offers a four-square grid. Fine and dandy, and a couple of Gates/Buffett stories are fine, too, but for me the big takeaway is Think Week. Twice a year for many years, Bill Gates took a week and did “nothing but read articles (his record is 112) and books, study technology, and think about the bigger picture.”

The concept has been rumbling around in my head all day. What a luxury! Not everyone can do a week at a time, of course, and Mr. McKeown acknowledges this fact, suggesting that even a few minutes every day can be worthwhile.

One of my oldest friends, a nonprofit consultant back East, does a personal strategic plan every year, late in the fall, for the next year. Where will the work come from? How much work do I want? Need? How do I want to spend the rest of my year? Etc.

Truth be told, I’ve heard about the personal strategic plan for a few years, but I have not been focused enough to make it happen for me. And the notion of a quiet week, twice a year, seems very appealing, separate and apart from the “Think” part.

That all said, I’m committed to making this happen. Does anyone do anything like it? Like my friend’s personal, annual plan? Any ideas?

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