Each week, we pick the best stories on leadership, effectiveness, team culture, and personal development.

Our Top Pick: The 70% Rule to Eliminating Procrastination

Why do we procrastinate? The reason is we don’t want to look bad to our friends, coworkers, and families. And so we wait for the best time or gather as much information as we can before making a decision.

Taylor Pearson explores why A students work for C students and why B students work for the government in How to Stop Procrastinating Using the 70% Rule. It’s an excellent article on why being a C student isn’t so bad in real life.

Most of us wait until we’re 90%, 95% or 100% sure before doing something. Pearson recommends going with your gut when you’ve acquired 70% of the information that you need.

Less than that, you’re likely to make a wrong decision.

And if you go beyond the 70%, there’s a big change that you have already missed the opportunity.

So throw perfectionism out of the window and take courage to act on your dreams.

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Pick #2: The Value of Having an Optimistic—Skeptical Mindset

Shane Snow, the author of Smartcuts, writes about the value of skepticism and why the mindset can actually help you become more successful.

We often see people as either optimists or pessimists. But there are skeptics, too.

Then there are folks who are credulous — those who easily believe things.

Some people fall into the credulous—optimistic quadrant. Think of adventurers, entrepreneurs, victims of scams. They’re positive and they easily believe.

But there are those who fall into the optimistic—skeptical quadrant. These people are usually regarded as innovators and change-makers.

Having an optimistic—skeptical mindset is a key ingredient in the formula that leads to breakthrough innovation, and it’s often unrecognized, writes Snow.

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Pick #3: The Regret Minimization Framework

Stephen Covey popularized the adage “begin with the end in mind” and incorporated it into the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — a book that serves as the inspiration for Week Plan.

It means doing something — a project or a task — while envisioning your desired outcome and adjusting your actions based on that desired future.

Jeff Bezos’ Regret Minimization Framework. follows the same principle but focuses on the fear of regret. The key lies in minimizing the major regrets that you can possibly end up with.

Will you regret not doing something 10, 20, or 50 years from now? And if you fail, will you still be happy you gave it a shot?

This article explains how you can use regret to guide your decision.

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Pick #4: Too Much Self Examination Can Kill You

Self-examination, a.k.a. introspection, is the act of examining your thoughts and feelings. But too much self-examination can kill you, writes Gustavo Razzetti, a personal development author.

The problem with self-examination is that it can be addicting. You become obsessed with reading as many books you can read. You spend a lot of time thinking how you can improve your life.

But thinking about yourself doesn’t correlate with knowing yourself. Constantly evaluating your thoughts, feeling, and actions don’t mean you understand yourself more. Introspection can actually blind you.

Razzetti recommends focusing on self-awareness, which involves contemplating your thoughts and actions without judging them. The opposite of introspection is meditation. It’s about being aware of what you are doing and you just observe.

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Pick #5: The Power of Visualization — From Thoughts to Things

Visualization might sound like a cliche nowadays, but a picture is, in fact, more valuable than words. New studies show that mental imagery not only works — it can actually change your life.

Did you know that your mind can’t distinguish between imagination and reality?

When you visualize something, your brain stimulates an area called the Reticular Activating System, which releases the same neurochemicals created when you’re achieving a goal.

However, it’s important to understand the difference between visualization and a daydream. Effective visualization is future and action-oriented.

“Visualization combined with actionable goals is the key to effective imagery,” writes Melody Wilding. “Pick a goal that’s clear and measurable, envision it in detail, and engage all of your senses.”

Melody Wilding writes about the benefits of visualization and the techniques that you can use to improve your performance on any goal.

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