Two times a year, for seven straight seven days, Bill Gates will spend time all by himself in the forest with no cell phone and no computer. He just totally disconnects from the outside world. He calls that “thinking time” the Think Week.
This temporary change in lifestyle is the secret to his massive success. He’s a business magnate worth 92.8 billion today, holding the top spot on the list of The World’s Billionaires for 18 out of the past 23 years. And he’s donated $35.8 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the Gates Foundation.
Clearly, Thinking Time is a secret to Bill Gates’ incredible wealth story. During his Thinking Time, he does a lot of reading and journaling about what he has done, is doing, and will accomplish. He also comes up with new ideas and innovations for his company.
What can we learn from his stays in the forest?
A brief “time out” from our regular routines is necessary to take us to the next step in our careers and our business. I borrowed from his strategy; and as I do with all proven strategies, I tweaked his Thinking Time Strategy to fit my business.
Watch this video about why successful people spend time alone.
Strategize Alone: The Value Of Thinking Time
I turned Thinking Time into Vacation Time with one common denominator – being alone. Like Bill Gates, I need thinking time. I take multiple vacations a year to put some space between what I do and who I want to become and where I need to be.
Very often we are so close to our problems and our issues that we don’t take enough time to think about them. We need to step back and consider what exactly the problem is.
One of the most powerful questions I like to ask myself during this thinking time is, “What don’t I know and what don’t I see?” And I also ask myself, “What assumptions am I making that I’m not aware of that’s giving me what I see?” I need to know so I need the space to think.
Strategize When Others Vacation
Most people take a lot of time off in December. I take a vacation when no one else is taking a vacation. That’s why I took my time off in October instead of December. By the time people get to January, they’re getting back into the game. They’re getting to their New Year’s resolutions and getting back to work.
Before you know it, it’s the end of the month and just as they’re building momentum, it’s February. People are just starting to work, but I don’t want to do that. I want to do it early.
I want to focus on what I want to do get done in December so that when December comes, I already have momentum while people are just starting their momentum in February. In December I’ve done most of the work, most of the planning. On January 1st, I am launching. There’s no need to build up momentum because I already have it. Before January ends, I’m already months ahead compared to my competitors and peers. That’s the power of thinking time.
Final Thoughts: Crediting Massive Success To Thinking Time
Remember that business is an intellectual sport. Creating wealth is an intellectual sport. It’s called Think and Grow Rich. It’s not Netflix and Grow Rich, it’s not Meditate and Grow Rich, it’s not Hustle and Grow Rich. It’s called Think and Grow Rich.
So if your goal is to grow your business, take the time to strategize alone. And if you want to get ahead of your competitors and most people, take time off when others are working, and work when others are on holiday to get ahead and achieve massive success.
What do you do to strategize? Comment below.