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The 30 Second Habit With a Lifelong Impact

A man born in the 19th century gave one piece of advice to his teenage grandson. Today, that grandson is in his 50's. He works only when he chooses, helping to solve corporate crises and writing speeches for Fortune 500 CEO's and politicians at six figures a speech.

He was in his early teens and about to start high school when his grandfather told him, “If you only do one thing, do this:”

“Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds – no more, no less – to write down the most important points. If you always do just this,” said his grandfather, “and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.”

The author tried it out for a few months and discovered the following:

  1. It's entirely different from taking notes; more of an act of interpretation, prioritization and decision making

  2. You'll make excuses to avoid this brief mental sprint

  3. It's not about quantity, it's about discovering the essence

  4. If you snooze, you lose. You've got to do this exercise immediately

  5. You learn to listen better and ask better questions

  6. It helps you to solve the problems of others (think information products)

  7. Each time you do it, it gets easier

This could be a great technique for finding profitable product ideas. And it's obviously a good tool to find the essence of each bit of marketing advice you hear or read, so that you can immediately begin putting it to use.

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