20 Great Stock Ideas For 2023 From Top-Performing Fund Managers

2022 was a terrible year for stocks. The S&P 500 has lost 20%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down nearly 10% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plummeted more than 30%. Blame it on raging inflation, a hawkish Federal Reserve, the War in Ukraine or a looming global recession.

Given that the days of just buying the S&P 500 or some other broad index fund to garner double digit returns appear to be in the rearview mirror, experts believe it is now a so-called “stock pickers market.”

With that, Forbes tapped Morningstar to identify top-performing fund managers who have either beat their benchmarks this year or on a longer-term basis over three-year, five-year or ten-year periods. Here are their best stock ideas for the coming year.

*Stock prices and fund returns are as of 12/23/2022

Charles Lemonides

ValueWorks Ltd. Partners Long-Biased: Long-term strategy that finds disparities between a company’s underlying assets and security price.

2022 return: 39.4%, 5-year average annual return: 23.9%

Chord Energy (CHRD)

Market Capitalization: $5.5 billion

12-Month Revenues: $3.2 billion

Lemonides likes Chord Energy, which he calls ideal for a bumpy period in markets as it is a “defensive play with huge cash generation” that is selling at an “exceedingly attractive valuation.” The company owns nearly one million net acres of drilling rights, formed in July after the successful merger of Oasis and Whiting Petroleum. Both had previously spent billions of dollars building resources in the Permian Basin—so during the pandemic, many fund managers like Lemonides bought up the distressed debt in the two companies for cents on the dollar.

While Chord Energy currently has a $5.6 billion market cap, both Oasis and Whiting each had valuations far above that at their last peak five years ago, he points out. “Back then oil prices were roughly $80 per barrel, and today they’re basically around that,” Lemonides says, noting the two recently merged enterprises are “producing far more oil today than they were back then.” He also likes the fact that Chord Energy is “very shareholder friendly,” returning the great bulk of its more than $1 billion in free cash flow during the last year and a half to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks or dividends: “That’s cash money in shareholders’ pockets.”

Air Lease (AL)

Market Capitalization: $4.1 billion

12-Month Revenues: $2.3 billion

Lemonides is also a fan of Air Lease, which purchases commercial aircraft and leases them to airline customers worldwide. “The industry has gone through as tumultuous an experience as one can imagine with the pandemic, but Air Lease has basically been financially healthy through the other side of that,” he says. “While some airlines have struggled, the industry seems to be on the mend in a powerful way globally.”

Though the company has some debt, with travel rebounding and many planes at capacity, Air Lease is poised to benefit from its pricing flexibility and huge fleet of aircraft. “You’re paying for equity at a $4 billion market cap, but they own roughly $30 billion worth of aircraft that are probably continuing to appreciate in value annually,” even during inflationary environments, Lemonides describes.

“Airplanes always went up in value during my experience in the 80’s and 90’s,” he says. At current valuation levels—with shares down 17% in 2022, “it just doesn’t make a lot of sense not to buy.”

James Davolos

Kinetics Small-Cap Opportunities Fund:

Concentrated portfolio of small- to mid-sized growth companies.

2022 return: 34.7%, 5-year average annual return: 21.9%

CACI International (CACI)

Market Capitalization: $7.1 billion

12-Month Revenues: $6.3 billion

A long-time holding which the fund has owned for more than 10 years, Davolos highlights “defense technology” company CACI International, which he thinks covers “all the right niches that are relevant for national security.” Unlike Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman, which manufacture missiles and planes, CACI specializes in battlefield communications, encryption and cybersecurity.

“Given the modern form of warfare, these areas have much higher secular growth than capital goods-focused defense companies,” Davolos says. “But the market still treats it like a traditional defense contractor, with its fortunes heavily intertwined with defense budgets and the hawkishness of the current administration.”

Despite a slowing economy with interest rates staying high, most of CACI’s revenue comes from somewhere within the Department of Defense ecosystem, he describes, adding that government contracts are much less sensitive to inflation or an economic slowdown. Even after rising 9% in 2022, shares of the company “remain cheap on an absolute basis”—especially when compared with more traditional defense contractors with heavy capital expenditures.

Permian Basin Royalty Trust (PBT)

Market Capitalization: $1.1 billion

12-Month Revenues: $42 million

Shares of Permian Basin Royalty Trust, which have risen 116% this year, could be poised for further upside in 2023, according to Davolos. The trust itself is a passive royalty on the Waddell Ranch, the lease on which was bought by a private company Blackbeard Operating just over two years ago. The small-cap operator has made some exciting strides improving old wells by injecting fluid or carbon dioxide—and though relatively cheap per well, those costs have obscured the dividend, leading to a retail selloff in the stock.

Once Blackbeard’s capital expenditures taper off, however, “the stock could easily be distributing a dividend of $3 to $4 per share next year,” Davolos predicts. “You’re not just betting on capital expenditures rolling over and higher energy prices—Blakckbeard is also ramping up production in these wells significantly,” which will also pay off, he describes. The fund initiated a position in mid-2020, using the collapse in energy prices brought on by the pandemic as an opportunity to buy up shares on the cheap.

“If you underwrite an assumption of higher oil and gas prices next year, which we think is going to happen, the dividend will rerate materially—especially as these new wells come online,” Davolos adds.

Kimball Brooker

First Eagle Global Fund: Wide-ranging portfolio of mid- to large-sized growth and value companies, with hedges for volatility.

2022 return: -8%, 10-year average annual return: 6.2%

HCA Healthcare (HCA)

Market Capitalization: $67.8 billion

12-Month Revenues : $59.8 billion

Brooker likes HCA Healthcare—the largest hospital company in the United States, with more than 180 sites of care–because it has “developed a market share big enough so they can use scale to create the best facilities around.” A for-profit operator that is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, shares of HCA are down nearly 7% in 2022.

The fund has owned the stock since early 2018, when shares tanked after an earnings warning related to margin compression. HCA’s top line was hard-hit during the pandemic, both by hospital patients delaying visits or elective surgeries as well as by wage inflation for in-demand nurses, though both of those concerns have been gradually resolving, Brooker describes.

While the stock has struggled as a result, he says that HCA will be able to eventually pass price increases on to consumers, not to mention continue to generate “robust cash flows” as hospital visits continue to tick up. What’s more, unlike most hospitals–which are not-for-profit–the company is able to reinvest significant cash to upgrade facilities and thereby attract better doctors and improve patient outcomes, Brooker adds.

Comcast (CMCSA)

Market Capitalization: $153 billion

12-Month Revenues: $121 billion

A longtime and currently top-10 holding of the fund, Comcast may appear to have a mountain of debt—roughly $90 billion at the end of September. “In reality, the company has used these years of low rates to take advantage of reasonably cheap financing,” with a weighted average maturity in 2037 and weighted average coupon of around 3.5%, Brooker describes.

“These aren’t particularly scary credit metrics.” He still likes Comcast, shares of which have fallen 32% this year, because of its under-the-radar dividend, which has consistently grown over the past decade and now yields just over 3%. He describes the company as a “durable, sensibly run business” with solid free cash flow, mainly focused on broadband cable but also with elements of diversification with content streaming and theme parks.

“Comcast has a high-quality problem—market share is so high that subscriber growth is harder to get, but at the same time pricing can be used as a potential lever, so it really is a double-edged sword.” One potential catalyst to watch for in the next few years: Comcast’s roughly 33% stake in Hulu, which has an upcoming put option allowing the company to sell to Disney. “At a minimum total valuation of around $27 billion for Hulu, that could result in roughly $9 billion for Comcast,” Brooker points out.

Thomas Huber

T. Rowe Price Dividend Growth Fund: Blend of large-cap companies with a focus on dividend growers.

2022 return: -11.2%, 10-year average annual return: 12.6%

Becton Dickinson (BDX BDX )

Market Capitalization: $71.5 billion

12-Month Revenues: $19.4 billion

Huber likes BD, which he calls a “good defensive growth company” that has reasonable earnings visibility. The fund has owned the stock for a number of years, but it has struggled with disappointing margins and an FDA recall on its Alaris infusion pump last year. Still, “the worst is behind it,” says Huber, who points out that the company has “gotten its act together” with good new product flow, a healthy cost management program, some small M&A deals and steadily improving margins.

The relaunch of BD’s Alaris pump is still a wild card and probably won’t happen until at least 2024, but that has helped boost sentiment, he describes. “There is good money to be made in companies as they improve and come out of a troubled period, whether it is self-inflicted or market driven,” Huber says.

What’s more, while BD’s dividend yield of around 1.5% is by no means huge, it is raising it steadily over time, which is “a sign of a healthy, consistently growing business,” he adds. “All of that is important in a world where rates are rising and growth is slowing.”

Philip Morris International (PM)

Market Capitalization: $156 billion

12-Month Revenues: $31.7 billion

A holding of the fund since 2008, Philip Morris International is a “stock where you’re paid to wait” thanks to a 5% dividend yield, according to Huber. He thinks the tobacco company is “nicely set up as we go into next year;” While Philip Morris took a hit from the strong U.S. dollar earlier in 2022, the currency has since weakened, which could be a big headwind abating, Huber says.

He is a big fan of the main product, the iQOS, a device, which uses heat rather than burn technology to consume tobacco. In addition to being a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes, the reduced risk product (RRP) category has higher margins than the core traditional tobacco business. “Philip Morris has invested heavily—roughly $9 billion in this category—and is now well ahead of the competition,” Huber says, adding that the company boasts “an enormous first-mover advantage.”

It recently acquired Swedish Match, a smaller, multinational tobacco company that crucially gives Philip Morris a distribution line for iQOS in the United States. While former parent Altria doesn’t want to cannibalize its own tobacco business domestically, Philip Morris paid several billion to break the existing agreement between the two companies, now paving the way for a launch in U.S. markets that could be as soon as 2023 or 2024, Huber describes. “That obviously has positive implications for the company and the stock.”

Christopher Marangi

The Gabelli Value 25 Fund: Portfolio of companies selling below private market value, with 25 core equity positions.

2022 return: -17.3%, 10-year average annual return: 5.3%

Liberty Media Series C Liberty Braves Common Stock (BATRK)

Market Capitalization: $1.7 billion

12-Month Revenues: $637 million

Marangi highlights this tracker stock, up 12% this year, which owns the Atlanta Braves baseball team as well as the real estate development rights around its ballpark. “By buying the stock at market today, you’re buying equity in the Braves at a roughly $1.5 billion valuation,” he describes, adding, “the New York Mets sold for $2.4 billion during Covid—and the Braves generate much more revenue.”

Though there is roughly $400 million in debt on the franchise, Marangi thinks that if sold, the Braves could garner a valuation nearing $3 billion. Sports franchises tend to trade as a multiple of revenue, but there has been “no slowdown in the public’s appetite for live entertainment post-pandemic,” he points out.

One catalyst to watch: Parent company Liberty Media, which also owns Formula One, announced in November that it would spin off the Braves into a separate asset. “Once that happens, it’s likely the team could get sold to a private buyer,” Marangi theorizes. “Sports franchises in general have been excellent stores of value, whether in an inflationary or deflationary environment.”

Dish Network (DISH)

Market Capitalization: $7.3 billion

12-Month Revenues: $17.1 billion

Despite a nearly 58% decline in Dish Network shares in 2022, Marangi has high hopes for the satellite TV and wireless services provider next year, having owned the stock for decades. “Communication services has been the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500 for a lot of reasons—both secular and cyclical,” he describes. “Still, there is a tremendous amount of asset value in the stock today.”

He calls the company’s traditional satellite video business a “melting ice cube,” as it has taken a hit from cord-cutting, though it still generates large amounts of free cash flow. Marangi is particularly excited about the company’s wireless-network business: Dish has been spending tens of billions to acquire spectrum licenses across the country as it builds out a 5G network.

“The market is only pricing in a fraction of the value of those licenses,” he argues, with large upside potential for earnings to recover as the company eventually monetizes its investment. “This brand-new network won’t be held back by 4G subscribers who have to transition to 5G,” Marangi says, adding, “Dish can also be aggressive with pricing” as it competes with incumbent providers. Another area to watch for is a potential merger with DirecTV, which could “extend the life and cash flow” of both companies’ traditional video business, he predicts.

Eric Schoenstein

Jensen Quality Growth Fund: Portfolio of 30 large-cap growth companies.

2022 return: -17.4%, 10-year average annual return: 13.1%

TJX (TJX)

Market Capitalization: $90 billion

12-Month Revenues: $49.3 billion

A 10-year holding, off-price department store corporation TJX operates brands like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, with nearly 4,700 stores across nine countries and three continents. Schoenstein sees potential for the stock next year, calling it “relatively resilient, with defensive characteristics and a strong correlation to consumer spending” that can help its business withstand a slowing economy in 2023.

“As people have less money to spend, consumers will be more thoughtful about how they spend—and TJX plays a valuable role from that perspective,” he describes. A big selling point of TJX is its great deals, and thanks to prices that are low relative to peers, that helps drive customer loyalty, according to Schoenstein.

Amid an environment where consumers are facing higher rents, mortgages and home-ownership costs, TJX stands to benefit from the subsequent “trade-down effect” and “bargain theory” as consumers cut back spending. The stock has outperformed the market in 2022—not to mention many other retailers–rising nearly 3%.

UnitedHealth Group (UNH)

Market Capitalization: $491.3 billion

12-Month Revenues: $313.1 billion

Another of Schoenstein’s top picks is Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group, the largest managed-healthcare and insurance company in the country, serving roughly 149 million people. In a slowing economic environment, not only is UnitedHealth a defensive play—with shares rising roughly 3.5% this year, but also “a growth company at the same time,” he describes, calling it “a long-term opportunity, albeit one that has generated some nice returns for us in an otherwise challenging year.”

Now a top five holding in the fund, Schoenstein admires the company’s resilient business model and ability to generate substantial cash flow—with stable earnings growth to limit volatility in the stock, he argues. “That is something that will be much more relevant in 2023, compared to the past where momentum was the play of the day.” UnitedHealth has managed through bumpy periods before, he points out, not to mention the company has grown, giving it the ability to scale up or down depending on the economic backdrop.

While the stock is susceptible to news of potential government regulation in the healthcare sector, “that particular threat seems to have died down somewhat,” with further upside ahead as more people get access to insurance and Medicaid programs around the country, according to Schoenstein.

Kenneth Kuhrt

Ariel Fund: Flagship value fund, primarily focused on small- to mid-sized companies.

2022 return: -19.9%, 10-year average annual return: 10.1%

Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL)

Market Capitalization: $12.5 billion

12-Month Revenues: $7.2 billion

The Ariel Fund has owned shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises, the number two player in the cruise line industry, for roughly 15 years. Like the other major cruise operators, Royal Caribbean struggled as pandemic lockdowns effectively crippled the industry with fleets under extended no-sail orders.

Still, the company is “frequently misunderstood in terms of the stability of the business model,” argues Kuhrt, adding, “not many companies can be shut down for a year and a half then survive and prosper on the other side of that.” Markets continue to take a very short-term outlook on the cruise industry in general, with investors growing fearful of headlines relating to everything from energy prices to geopolitics, he describes.

“We’re surprised the market isn’t giving Royal Caribbean more credit for their recent earnings guidance and business ramp up.” Despite a 37% drop in the stock this year, Kuhrt points to “significant upside” ahead, especially as management aims for double-digit earnings power by 2025. He also emphasizes that on a comparable basis, cruise pricing is now above pre-pandemic levels, while occupancy rates have also rebounded significantly. “A big part of the story is customer retention,” he says. “The cruise line industry is connected to and understands its customer base better than we’ve ever seen before.”

Zebra Technologies (ZBRA)

Market Capitalization: $12.6 billion

12-Month Revenues: $5.7 billion

This market leader in enterprise asset intelligence, which focuses on bar-code scanning and inventory tracking technology, trades at a “significant discount to its underlying intrinsic value,” Kuhrt says. Zebra Technologies’ large customers include Amazon, Target and many others spanning a range of sectors including retail, manufacturing, healthcare and transportation. While the stock was at $600 per share just one year ago, it has suffered a big dislocation–now down to $250and has undergone multiple compression because of its ties to the technology sector.

Still, investors are underestimating the fundamental earnings power of the business, Kuhrt describes: “Decades ago, the business model revolved around just scanning a barcode; Now, the complexity of logistics and tracking assets is ever increasing.” He is particularly optimistic about some of Zebra’s newer technologies, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID), which uses electromagnetic fields to track and identify different objects in transit. In the nearly 10 years that the fund has owned Zebra’s stock, the company has “continued to adapt and grow” and will continue to do so, despite Wall Street’s concerns about an economic slowdown, Kuhrt argues.

Amy Zhang

Alger Mid-Cap Focus Fund: Focused portfolio of around 50 mid-size companies.

2022 return: -36%, Average annual return since inception (2019): 9.1%

Waste Connections (WCN)

Market Capitalization: $34.3 billion

12-Month Revenues: $7 billion

Zhang likes this Woodlands, Texas-based waste collection, disposal and recycling company, which she calls a “defensive business that would be resilient in a slowing economic environment.” Waste Connections, shares of which are down just 1% in 2022, serves millions of customers across the United States and Canada—with a focus on exclusive and secondary markets that helps guarantee “durable revenue growth.”

Zhang notes that in a business less focused on volume growth and more concerned with pricing, Waste Connections has a strong track record of industry-leading margins and cash flow. Waste management is a stable, defensive business that typically does well during recessions, Zhang points out. Thanks to the company’s pricing power and “superior market selection strategy,” she thinks Waste Connections will be “even more resilient than its peers” going into next year.

Zhang expects margins to improve in 2023 as inflation headwinds dissipate, while also emphasizing that the company could “continue to be an M&A flywheel” if it keeps making smart acquisitions to shore up market share.

Insulet (PODD)

Market Capitalization: $20.7 billion

12-Month Revenues: $1.2 billion

Zhang is also excited about “long-term compounder” Insulet, a medical device company focused on treating diabetes patients through its body-worn Omnipod insulin pump. One of the fund’s top 10 positions, shares have risen nearly 10% this year, outperforming peers in the medtech sector. Beyond the classic Omnipod and Omnipod Dash DASH insulin management systems, Insulet’s sales have gotten a massive boost this year thanks to the company’s newest device, the Omnipod 5 automated delivery system, which received FDA clearance in early 2022 with a full U.S. launch in late summer.

Zhang calls it a “revolutionary new product,” as it is the first tubeless, automated insulin delivery system on the market. “With many diabetes patients still using tube-based pumps or administering injections, Omnipod has a clear advantage to both alternatives,” she says, adding, “it’s been gaining significant market share and has huge potential market penetration.” Insulet’s “high revenue visibility and predictability,” especially with further adoption of the Omnipod 5 next year, makes this a “recession-resilient stock” that is “particularly appealing in an economic slowdown.”

Nancy Zevenbergen

Zevenbergen Growth Fund: Mostly large-cap consumer and tech companies.

2022 return: -52%, 5-year average annual return: 7%

DoubleVerify (DV)

Market Capitalization: $3.6 billion

12-Month Revenues: $424 million

Zevenbergen likes DoubleVerify, a small-cap software company focused on providing verification and safety for digital brand advertising. DoubleVerify’s technology helps brands and publishers with viewability, by detecting fraud and by protecting brand safety. Zevenbergen’s fund has owned the stock since its IPO in April 2021, but despite being profitable with top-line growth, shares have declined over 30% this year and are now trading below their initial share offering price of $27.

DoubleVerify has seen a major market correction this year, but within that there is a major opportunity,” says Zevenbergen. Though overall ad spending could go down during an economic slowdown, markets are also “incredibly concerned about brand safety with advertising,” she adds. “This kind of ad spend should preclude the fear of a recession.” Zevernbergen also sees further opportunities as new entrants beyond social media platforms, such as Netflix, enter digital advertising. “Risk of fraud or poor content placement makes DoubleVerify’s insurance very important… advertisers are going to want to have brand safety.”

Bill.com Holding (BILL)

Market Capitalization: $11 billion

12-Month Revenues: $753.5 million

Another of Zevenbergen’s stock picks for 2023 is $11 billion (market cap) cloud-based software fintech Bill.com, which assists small businesses on accounts payable and receivable. Bill.com helps smooth out back-office payments and could benefit as they move money in a rising-rate environment.

After a 54% drop in share price this year due to macroeconomic headwinds, the founder-led company could present an “incredible opportunity” at an attractive valuation thanks to its high-growth and profitability, Zevenbergen describes, adding, “all the negatives have been priced into the stock.” The company is well-positioned, compared with its peers:

“Being able to digitize or substitute software for labor—a tight resource these days—will be a spend that you want to make,” she says. “Competition from fintech startups is also likely to erode slightly because money isn’t free anymore.” While Bill.com’s payment volume has fallen slightly due to a more challenging economic environment, that has been offset by pricing power and new-customer momentum.

Kirsty Gibson

Baillie Gifford U.S. Equity Growth Fund: Concentrated portfolio of growth companies.

2022 return: -53.5%, 5-year average annual return: 7.2%

Duolingo (DUOL)

Market Capitalization: $2.9 billion

12-Month Revenues: $338.7 million

One of the fund’s more recent additions—from the company’s July 2021 IPO—is education tech company Duolingo, known for its app that teaches languages. Shares of the company have fallen roughly 30% this year, and while Duolingo has fallen victim to the collective selloff in growth stocks, “not all growth companies are alike,” Gibson describes. The edtech company has shown promising trends—reporting five consecutive quarters of accelerating user growth, with revenue in the latest quarter rising roughly 50% year over year..

The app, which boasts roughly 15 million daily users, offers entirely free language courses in the form of missions that are unlocked in sequence–with different lessons that are dynamic and adaptively constructed to each individual learner. “One of the hardest parts of learning a new language is staying motivated to keep studying–particularly if you’re not living in that country,” she adds. “Duolingo has taken a gamification approach to overcome this.”

Since the app is free to use, the company has been able to grow organically with relatively low marketing outlays, allowing more cash for product development. Gibson predicts that it will be difficult for potential competitors to come in and disrupt Duolingo’s “great product,” not to mention that the company has room for growth in the form of new products and paid subscriptions that allow users to bypass ads.

Shopify (SHOP)

Market Capitalization: $43.6 billion

12-Month Revenues: $5.2 billion

The fifth-largest holding in Baillie Gifford’s U.S. Equity Growth fund is Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify, shares of which have tanked more than 70% in 2022. “The company is looking to be the central nervous system that powers millions of businesses around the world,” Gibson describes. While Shopify’s stock was “very much a pandemic darling,” it has since seen a significant price decline as companies that are taking losses for future growth have been pulled down by market sentiment, she adds, describing the business as “discretionarily unprofitable” in that it is choosing to invest in new areas for the long run at the expense of short-term margins.

Gibson also likes what she describes as exciting changes such as the company moving into enterprise markets and launching Shopify Audiences, a premium tool that helps businesses find new customers through focused digital advertising on different platforms like Facebook or Google. “We believe we will continue to see Shopify’s ability to adapt and be resilient in this current environment,” she summarizes.

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I am a staff writer at Forbes covering wealth management, money and markets. Previously, I worked on the breaking news and wealth teams at Forbes, covering the stock market..

Source: 20 Great Stock Ideas For 2023 From Top-Performing Fund Managers

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10 Most Important Leadership Skills For The 21st Century Workplace (And How To Develop Them)

With the rise of the gig economy and with many companies adopting flatter, more flexible organizational structures, now is the perfect time to refocus on what good leadership looks like. Because, in our rapidly changing workplaces, leadership will apply to more people than ever before. You may be overseeing a project that requires you to coordinate several team members. Or you may be a gig worker collaborating with other gig workers.

Or you may be occupying a traditional management role. Whatever your job title, this precious ability to bring out the best in people will be a vital part of success.Of course, being a good leader really requires us to polish up multiple skills at once. Here are ten skills that I think are essential for leaders – with a few pointers on how to develop them.

1. Motivating others

The ability to motivate others is all part of inspiring people to be the best they can be. So how can you better motivate others?

· Ensure people know how their role contributes to the company’s vision. That their work matters, basically.

· Be clear on what you need people to do, why, and when. But, importantly, give people the autonomy to accomplish those tasks their way.

· Show your appreciation and celebrate success.

2. Fostering potential

Great leaders look for potential, not performance. Here are three ways to foster potential:

· Don’t fall into the trap of getting people to think and act like you. Encourage them to think and act like them.

· Let people know that it’s okay to fail sometimes. This is all part of inspiring people to take risks, step outside their comfort zone and test new ideas.

· Don’t let people grow complacent. Encourage them to develop their skills and think about the next stage of their career, whatever that may be.

3. Inspiring trust

What makes a leader trustworthy? The following behaviors are a good start:

· Being ethical. This means being honest and transparent, keeping promises, and generally making sure you don’t say one thing and then do another.

· Making your values clear and, of course, living those values.

· Standing up for what you believe in.

4. Taking on and giving up responsibility

Good leaders take on responsibility, but they also know when to let go of responsibility and delegate to others. When doing this, try to:

· Play to the strengths of those around you and allocate responsibility accordingly.

· Ensure people have the knowledge, resources, and tools they need to succeed.

· Decide how you’ll monitor progress without micromanaging. For example, you can agree on how the person will report back to you and how often – as well as the best way for them to raise any questions.

5. Thinking strategically

Strategic thinking requires leaders to take a wider view, so they can solve business problems and make a long-term plan for the future. To enhance your strategic thinking skills:

· Remember the difference between urgent and important. Urgent fire-fighting tasks can suck up a lot of your time and energy, leaving very little bandwidth for those things that are important from a big-picture perspective but not urgent. Constantly remind yourself of your priorities, and manage your time accordingly.

· Use critical thinking to gather data and find solutions to your most pressing strategic questions. For example, “Where will our growth come from in three or five years’ time?”

· Don’t rely on assumptions or gut instincts when answering such questions.

6. Setting goals and expectations for everyone

Setting goals is a great way to drive performance. But have you considered a more dynamic way of setting goals?

· Instead of the traditional, top-down approach (where leadership sets strategic goals, then managers set goals for teams and individuals), you might like to consider the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) approach.

· With OKRs, leadership sets some strategic OKRs for the business, then each team and individual designs their own OKRs that contribute to achieving the company’s strategic OKRs.

· OKRs should be simple and agile. Forget annual goal-setting; OKRs are typically set on a monthly or quarterly basis.

If you’d like to know more about OKRs, check out my related articles.

7. Giving (and receiving) feedback

Good leaders are able to give and receive feedback, both positive and negative (or, as I prefer to call it, constructive). When it comes to giving people constructive feedback:

· Don’t put it off. You don’t want to overwhelm someone with a loooong list of everything they’re getting wrong. Instead, have a process in place for regular catchups, where you can chat through progress and give feedback.

· Don’t dilute constructive feedback with praise. While it’s important to regularly give people praise, I wouldn’t do it at the same time as constructive feedback. When you sandwich negative comments with a positive comment on either side, there’s a risk the person may only hear the good stuff.

· Be specific, not emotional. Just treat it as a straightforward conversation, using specific, concrete examples instead of opinions or emotions.

8. Team building

A good leader is a bit like a football manager in that they have to pick strong players who perform different roles and then shape those players into a cohesive unit. As part of this:

· Remember, each person will bring their own unique skills and experiences, be motivated by different things, have different working styles, and so on. Embrace this rather than trying to get everyone to behave the same way.

· Model the behaviors you want to see: connecting as human beings, showing an interest, listening to each other, treating people with respect and dignity, and supporting one another.

· Give feedback and reward a job well done.

9. Positivity

If you show up with a negative “this won’t work, that thing sucks, why do we bother” kind of attitude, it’ll soon spread throughout your team. Here’s how to lead from a place of positivity:

· Think carefully about the language you use, verbally and in writing. Use words with positive connotations – turning a “problem” into an “opportunity” being a prime example.

· Celebrate successes, big and small. Highlighting the little wins frequently can be just as impactful as sporadically celebrating the big wins.

· Resist the urge to complain in front of your team. As Tom Hanks says to his band of soldiers in Saving Private Ryan, “Gripes go up, not down. Always up.”

10. Authenticity

For me, being an authentic leader is a key part of building trust. So as well as being ethical (see earlier), you’ll want to:

· Practice self-awareness. A good leader is aware of their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

· Be open about those weaknesses rather than trying to hide them.

· Bring your whole self to work, as opposed to having one persona for work and one outside of work.

To stay on top of future trends and future skills, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter and have a look at my new book, Future Skills: The 20 Skills & Competencies Everyone Needs To Succeed In A Digital World.

Source: 10 Most Important Leadership Skills For The 21st Century Workplace (And How To Develop Them)

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To Speed Up Your Productivity, Slow Down

Imagine this: you step into the elevator and instinctively reach for your smart phone, only to discover that you’ve mistakenly left it at your desk. A sense of panic sets in as you wonder what to do. What will you think about when you can’t have your “thoughts” fed to you?

We live in an age of information, when there is always a new browser window to open, pop-up to click, post to like, and headline to react to. According to Pew Research, 31% of adults are online nearly constantly. This has led to as many as 75% of adults feeling better informed about national news and 65% perceiving themselves more knowledgeable about health and fitness.

More people being more informed sounds like a positive development. With the benefit of receiving more input than ever, we might expect our output to be greater, too. A higher volume of information readily at our disposal should better equip us to make decisions, connect the dots, and share knowledge with one another.

Yet, the power of information comes with an asterisk. We are facing a moment in time when people are feeling more disconnected than ever. Mental health problems are more pervasive among young people who frequently use social media. Not only are Americans generally feeling more isolated, anxious and depressed; they are also becoming less creative. Torrance creativity scores have been steadily declining since the ’90s (University of William and Mary), which many scientists attribute to the increased time we spend staring at our screens, presumably consuming information.

As someone who credits my track record of launching unlikely social ventures like KIND (at least in part) to my penchant for daydreaming and “talking to myself,” I suspect that the gap between information and creativity lies in our distracted movement away from self-reflection. I have no doubt that those moments I spent whistling and singing on the walk to school; the countless times boredom forced me to use my imagination; and the brainstorms I still conduct unofficially in the shower, have helped me uncover what gives me meaning, and have led to some my most creative ideas.  

Self-reflection is the transformative process of converting information into something far more valuable: ideas. It is an exercise through which we make sense of inputs, critically evaluate them, and consider what we might have done wrong so that we can do better next time. It can help us sort fact from fiction. It can help us relate information to our own life experiences to inform our own purpose. By combining information in unexpected ways, we practice creativity. If material simply goes in, but doesn’t get analyzed, it’s not only worthless; it’s an impediment to productive thought.

One of the reasons children are considered more creative than adults is that they know less. They have less information about how the world works, which leaves more space for them to imagine what it could be. This does not mean that we should all go ahead and succumb to ignorance, but it does mean that we should be wary of information overload drowning out self-reflection.

Digesting thoughts requires more energy than does simply consuming information. It follows that self-reflection requires commitment from our part. Especially in the age of information, we are fighting against addictive properties of dopamine-triggering constant reward-systems. It is easy to get distracted. It is easy to be entertained. It is easy, but also damaging, to slowly let our own creativity slip away.

Anyone who has decided to be an entrepreneur is not looking for easy. Entrepreneurs depend on their creativity, and that creativity relies on spending concerted time and space away from your devices to let your mind wander, think critically, and create. The next time you are stepping out of the office, consider leaving your phone behind and see what happens.

By : Daniel Lubetzky

Source: To Speed Up Your Productivity, Slow Down | Inc.com

How Distractions and Delays affect Speed and Productivity

What is the impact of these distractions? Of course, it makes employees lose focus on their work, and also slows down their work speed and productivity. The Udemy survey also revealed that once an employee is distracted, it takes 23 minutes to refocus on a task. So powerful are these distractions that they sometimes side-track the regular project work.

The reality about distractions caused by social media or surfing the Internet is that they become ongoing tasks, one news item prompts the employee to browse through other related articles. It is like a bottomless pit – the employee gets sucked into it and loses track of time. In the beginning, employees are able to snap away from these distractions and refocus on their work, but once they get addicted to these distractions, their work speed and productivity go for a toss.

In addition to distractions, delays in business processes also affect the speed and productivity at work. The most common delays are approval delays. Delay in the approval of invoices or requisitions causes bottlenecks in the business process.

Here are few tips to bring back the focus and speed up your work:

1. Sharpen your focus:

Narrowing down your focus on work-related stuff helps in increasing productivity. Steering clear from distractions and focusing on your work helps get work done faster. This doesn’t mean you cannot take breaks; all you need to do is the time your breaks so that you don’t lose focus from your work.

2. Set deadlines:

Self-imposed deadlines motivate employees to speed up their work. You can set everyday deadlines or weekly targets to complete your work. Still better, you can reward yourself once the targets are achieved. You can treat yourself to a movie or a meal at your favorite restaurant, or as simple as a candy bar when you achieve targets.

3. Set work schedules:

being organized in your work is a great way of increasing your productivity. Sketch a work schedule that times your work, breaks, and meetings. If you set a schedule for a week, then you can review and make changes whenever required.

4. Leverage technology:

Adopting the latest technology like automation can speed up business processes. Redundancies are eliminated and business processes are streamlined by automating the repetitive, mundane steps in a process. Approval delays can be avoided by automated approvals.

By: cflowapps

Related contents:

Automation on the Docks Means Fewer Jobs — and Often No Improvement in Productivity Jacobin

Royal Mail chairman says firm is at ‘crossroads’ as it balances union action with productivity City AM

A fountain of creativity for Americans in Rome CBS News

18:26

 

Why a Bear Market Is an Investor’s Best Friend

In the USA, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are in bear market territory. A bear market is often taken to mean a 20% fall. That’s either from a recent peak, or over a set period of time.But generally, investors tend to think of any sustained upwards run as a bull market. And any significant downwards spell is a bear market. Typically, the average bull market has lasted around five years. The average bear, meanwhile, continues for a little more than a year.

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Might long-term investors be better of if that was the other way round, with more falls than rises? Wouldn’t we have more opportunities to buy cheap shares? To answer that, I can’t think of anything better than looking at how the billionaire boss of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, deals with stock market falls.

In the few weeks after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the S&P 500 fell 30%. The recovery was surprisingly fast, with the index regaining its ground by August. The FTSE 100 took quite a bit longer, mind. What happened the next year, in 2021? The S&P 500 gained 28.7%, while Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway slightly bettered it with 29.6%. Buying shares while they were depressed by the pandemic was clearly a good plan.

Major bear market
But that’s nothing compared to the carnage resulting from the the financial crash, which kicked off in 2007. Between a high point in October that year, and the beginning of March 2009, the S&P 500 crashed by a whopping 56%.

Berkshire Hathaway suffered too, albeit with a softer fall of 32%. Now what do we see if we wind forward a decade? From the depths of the banking crash in 2009, the S&P 500 had gained 280% by the same point in 2019. Buffett’s shareholders did a bit better on 290%, and they’d started from a significantly lower initial fall.

Just like the Covid market slump, the financial crash provided investors with a great time to buy. And those who were panicking and selling while shares were down? Well, we can see what they missed.

Fear and greed

Buffett is famed for buying heavily when he sees great companies unfairly marked down. In his 1986 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, he explained how he avoids trying to time the market bottoms. Instead, he said: “Our goal is more modest: we simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.

That approach to bear markets has served Buffett, and his shareholders, well.From Buffett taking control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 up to the end of 2021, the S&P 500 managed a total return (including dividends) of more than 30,000%. Berkshire, meanwhile, soared by a total of 3.6 million percent!

We’re not all going to be as good as Buffett. But even investors who make regular purchases in an index tracker will benefit from bear markets over the long term. The simple truth is that when markets are down, we can buy more shares for the same money.

The hotshot analysts at The Motley Fool UK’s flagship share-tipping service Share Advisor have just unveiled what they think could be the six best buys for investors right now. And while timing isn’t everything, the average return of their previous stock picks shows that it could pay to get in early on their best ideas – particularly in this current climate! What’s more, all six ‘Best Buys Now’ are available to access right now, in just a few clicks.

by Alan Oscroft

Source: Why a bear market is an investor’s best friend – The Motley Fool UK

Critics by: principal.com

If you have reviewed these basics and you still have money at the end of the month, here’s a quick look at further investment options to consider.

1. Increase your deferral to your 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan.

The maximum amount you can contribute each year through elective salary deferrals is $19,500.1 And if you’re 50 or older, you can also make a “catch up” contribution of up to $6,500.2

“Bumping up your deferral, even by 1 or 2%, may not seem like much. But with the power of compounding earnings, it can make a big difference over 20 or 30 years,” says Heather Winston, CFP®, assistant director of financial advice and planning for Principal®. Also, weigh the difference between saving in a tax-deferred account vs. a taxable one.

Winston says if your account has taken a dip, increasing your contributions may help you reach your retirement goal sooner. If the markets have dropped, the money you defer to your retirement plan may go further by allowing you to buy more shares.

To get started: If you have a retirement account from your employer with services by Principal, you can log in to increase your contribution. First time logging in? Here’s how you create an account.

2. Add to your traditional or Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Good news: You have until July 15, 2020, to make a 2019 contribution to an IRA, thanks to recent legislation. (And you can always make a 2020 contribution now, too.)

The maximum annual contribution to a traditional IRA is $6,000. If you’re 50 or older, the IRA catch-up contribution limit is $1,000. (Read the basics of IRAs.)

Depending how much money you make and if you’re not covered by a retirement plan at work, you may be able to deduct all or a portion of your traditional IRA contributions from your taxes (details are on the IRS website). The more you save today, the more you’ll likely have years down the road.

With a Roth IRA, you can contribute up to $6,000 per year using after-tax money. If you’re 50 or older, you can add an extra $1,000 per year. To contribute the full amount to a Roth IRA, you need to make less than:

  • $124,000 if you’re single or file as head of household.
  • $196,000 if you’re married filing jointly.

You can withdraw your annual Roth IRA contributions without taxes or penalties at any time. If you have earnings, you can withdraw them tax-free in retirement.3

To get started: Review our IRA solutions to see what may be best for you.

Tip: Monitor and rebalance. If you’re investing in the market through a retirement plan, IRA, stocks, or mutual funds, consider putting this on your to-do list annually: Rebalance your portfolio (PDF) and make sure you have a diverse mix of investment options within various asset classes. A financial professional can help you learn how to do that.

3. Open a brokerage account, if you don’t already have one.

If you’ve never invested in stocks and mutual funds outside of your workplace retirement plan or IRAs, you could start by opening a brokerage account. (Not sure if you’re ready? Read “Four signs you’re ready to start investing.”)

You’ll need to know your risk tolerance. A risk profile (PDF) places you on a scale somewhere between conservative (more averse to risk) and aggressive (more tolerant of risk). Your profile can help you select investments and build a portfolio at a level of risk you’re comfortable with, while continuing to work toward your goals.

This year is a good test of investors’ tolerance for risk. If you find yourself worrying about whether your portfolio is gaining or losing day-to-day, or certainly if you’re losing sleep, you may need to adjust your risk profile. When your risk tolerance matches your investment portfolio, volatile times can be less concerning for you.

To get started: Connect with a financial professional to discuss your options.

Asset classes you might consider

If you invest, consider diversifying—spreading your money across multiple types of investments—to help reduce the risk of losing money.

  • Large companies and technology stocks will likely continue to perform well.
  • Look at small companies and sectors like energy, materials, consumer discretionary (non-essential goods and services), and financials to improve.
  • Stocks in emerging countries may perform better than those in developed countries outside the United States.
  • For bonds, go for higher yields on high quality corporate and municipal bonds at short-intermediate maturities.
4. Set aside money in a 529 savings plan for a child or grandchild.

A 529 savings plan allows you to invest your money to be used for qualified education expenses such as college, apprenticeship programs, and K-12. This includes tuition, room and board, mandatory fees, and textbooks. You designate how and where it’s spent.

Before opening an account, get a full understanding of the plan, including its tax benefits, fees, expenses, and investment options. You can open a 529 plan offered by any state, so shop around for the one that best suits your needs.

To get started: If you’re interested in learning about our 529 plan, visit scholarsedge529.com.

5. Contribute more to a Health Savings Account (HSA).

If you’re enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), you can add a total of $3,550 a year for single coverage or a max of $7,100 for family coverage in 2020. If you’re over age 55 but under 65, you can also make “catch-up” contributions to your HSA, to the tune of $1,000 more per year.

An HSA offers a triple advantage on federal income taxes: Money put in isn’t taxed, it grows tax-free, and you’re not taxed when you take money out for medical expenses. Plus you decide how the funds are invested, and how you’ll use the money for health care expenses.

To get started: Talk to your employer’s human resources department about how to contribute more to an HSA associated with your HDHP.

Want To Change Your Life? Don’t Think One Year Into The Future — Think 10

You may be familiar with the saying “The future starts now.” As catchy as this phrase may be, it is fundamentally not true. The future doesn’t start now, or tomorrow, or next month—at least not if you want to get the most out of mental time travel. It takes much longer than that for the full benefits of the future to kick in. But when exactly the future starts depends on who you are and what your life circumstances are like. Let me tell you about a simple game I invented. If you play along, you’ll get a pretty good idea of when the future starts for you.

Every time I teach a futures-thinking class, I begin with a quick game of When Does the Future Start? I ask everyone: “If the future is a time when many or most things in your life will be different than they are today, how long from now does that future start?” I ask them to write down their answer in days, weeks, months, or years.

This isn’t a trick question, and there’s no single correct answer. In fact, usually there are dozens of different answers, all of them valid: a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now, twenty years from now. (If you want to play along, go ahead and think of your answer to this question now.) That said, 10 years is far and away the most common answer to the question “When does the future start?” In the responses I’ve collected from more than 10,000 students, almost everyone agrees: Ten years is enough time for society and my own life to become dramatically different.

What makes 10 years such a magic number for the mind?

Most of us have internalized the power of 10 years to create change through a combination of our own lived experience and social convention. We think about our own lives as a series of 10-year-long periods: our 20s, our 30s, our 40s, and so on. We use these milestone birthdays to reflect on what we want our next decade of life to be like.

And we talk about decades as units of time in which society changes: think about how different the 1920s were from the 1910s, the 1960s from the 1950s, or how different the 2020s have already been from the 2010s. Anyone who has lived through more than one decade, or studied history, already has a clear mental model of just how much can change in 10 years.

If you look at recent history, 10 years really does seem almost like a magic number. You can find myriad examples of new ideas and actions creating a previously unimaginable social reality over the time span of a decade, give or take a few months. This is particularly true when it comes to social movements achieving historic victories, and new technologies achieving global impact. To consider just a few examples, it took, give or take a few months:

• 10 years for the civil rights movement against racial segregation in the United States to go from its first boycott of segregated bus seating to the successful passage of the federal Civil Rights Act (1955–1964)

• 10 years for the first international economic sanctions against South Africa’s segregationist apartheid system to lead to a new constitution that enfranchised Black South Africans and other racial groups (1985–1996)

• 10 years for same-sex marriage to go from being considered controversial when it was legalized by a country for the first time (the Netherlands) to being supported in global surveys by a majority of people in a majority of countries (2001–2010)

• 10 years for marijuana to go from being legalized for all uses in one US state, Colorado, to being decriminalized in 44 out of 50 states (2012–2021)

And it took:

• 10 years from when just 16 million people, mostly scientists and other academic researchers, were using the internet—they thought it would be used mostly to share scientific data—to when 1 billion people were using it (1991–2001)

• 10 years from the first iPhone release until a majority of people on the planet had smartphones, creating a new era of always-on communication (2007–2017)

• 10 years for Facebook to go from one user to 1 billion daily users, on its way to becoming the first product used by more than 1 in 3 humans on the planet (2004–2015)

• 10 years for Bitcoin to go from being a hypothetical idea discussed in a scientific article to having a nearly $1 trillion market capitalization, larger than the three biggest U.S. banks combined (2008–2019)

• 10 years from Airbnb’s and Uber’s foundings for a full 36 percent of U.S. workers to be engaged in some form of “gig work” (2008–2018)

• 10 years for Zoom to go from its first user testing session to becoming a critical lifeline for humanity during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the de facto tool for learning, work meetings, and staying in touch with friends and family (2011–2020)

In other words: Things that are small experiments today in 10 years can become ubiquitous and world-changing. And social change that seems improbable or unimaginable—well, in 10 years that can change, too.

Of course, not all goals for change can be achieved in a decade—many social movements take much longer. And progress doesn’t just stop after 10 years. The purpose of looking 10 years ahead isn’t to see that everything will happen on that timeline—but there is ample evidence that almost anything could happen on that timeline. And for that reason, 10 years helps unstick our minds. Ten years helps us consider possibilities we would otherwise dismiss.

Ten years even relaxes us a bit as we try to imagine preparing for dramatic disruptions or for a radical rethinking of what’s normal—because 10 years gives us time to get ready. And it’s for this reason that whenever I send people on mental time trips to the future, I almost always send them 10 years ahead. Futurists want people to go somewhere they believe anything can be different—even things that seem impossible to change today.

When we think on a 10-year timeline, it’s not just that we are more likely to believe that dramatic change can happen in the world. We become more optimistic and hopeful about what we can change through our own efforts. This has to do with a psychological phenomenon known as time spaciousness. It’s the relaxing and empowering feeling that we have enough time to do what really matters—to consider our options, make a plan, and act more confidently to create the future we want.

It is almost impossible to create a sense of time spaciousness when we’re thinking in a matter of days or weeks. But when thinking ahead 10 years … ah, it’s so much time! On a 10-year timeline, we don’t feel rushed. We have plenty of opportunity to develop new skills, collect resources, recruit allies, learn from our mistakes, bounce back from setbacks, and do whatever else we need to do to get the best possible outcome. This feeling of abundance makes us less risk-averse and therefore more creative. We have all the time we need to play with ideas, try new things, and experiment until we figure out what works.

Interestingly, brains respond to abundant space in the same way as they do to abundant time. Studies have found that we also think more creatively and set higher, “maximal,” goals for ourselves when we’re in rooms with higher ceilings or outside in a wide-open environment. With maximal goals, we focus on the upper boundary: What is the highest and best possible outcome we can imagine? So I like to think of a 10-year timeline as a kind of cathedral or Grand Canyon for the mind. It lifts the ceiling on our imagination.

When we feel time-poor, on the other hand, it’s like being stuck in a tiny, depressing room with no windows. We shrink ourselves and imagine less. We adopt “minimal” goals, which means we try to do just enough to avoid a bad outcome. As one team of expert psychologists put it: “A maximal goal reflects the most that one could wish for, whereas a minimal goal reflects bare necessities or the least one could comfortably tolerate.”

Do you have a sense of whether you’re waking up each day focused on maximal or minimal goals? Whether you’re feeling time-rich or time-poor? Setting goals for yourself (or your family, or your community, or your organization) on too short a timeline usually creates the feeling of being time-rushed. So does being too busy, but that’s not something you can always control. So rather than drastically reduce what’s on your schedule, it’s much easier to control how far out in the future you’re imagining when you think about changes you’d like to achieve.

You may not be used to goal setting on a 10-year timeline. We usually think about making personal change year by year, most commonly by making resolutions at the start of the New Year. But a one-year resolution won’t help you think maximally, and you won’t feel a sense of time spaciousness if you’re trying to achieve a big goal in just one year. So next New Year’s Day, why not try a new tradition? Make a 10-year resolution.

What could you (or your family, or your community, or your organization) accomplish if you had 10 years to do it? What would the long-term impact of a new habit be if you practiced it for 10 years? Let your mind play with some bigger possibilities. Now this idea may not sound appealing to you at first. When it comes to making resolutions, you don’t want to be different in 10 years; you want to be different as soon as possible! So go ahead and keep making short-term resolutions. And try to stretch your imagination a decade further too, while you’re at it.

If you want to get a taste of time spaciousness right now, here’s a trick you can try: pick a tiny task—and give yourself 10 years to do it. You might think that having all this time will make you more likely to procrastinate, and you’ll never actually get around to doing it. But procrastination, paradoxically, is more likely to happen when you feel time-poor. When you feel like you have less time to get things done, you do less.

And when you feel you have ample time, you do more. Studies show this is true completely independent of how much “free” or unscheduled time a person has. What matters is whether your brain perceives an abundance of time. So give it a try. Give yourself luxurious 10-year deadlines. You might be surprised at how much faster and more happily you do things you’d otherwise put off when you feel time-rich, and therefore more in control of your timeline.

I want you to try this, for real: go ahead and put a deadline, or some other small goal, on your personal calendar, for 10 years from today. Google’s and Apple’s calendar apps will let you schedule things 10 years in the future. While you’ve got your mental or digital calendar open, let’s try a mental time trip. Imagine it’s 10 years from today, and you wake up incredibly excited about … something. You’ve got a special event on the calendar. What is it?

To help you imagine this future more clearly, skip ahead in your digital calendar to 10 years from today. Now, fill in the blank space. What do you have planned, 10 years from today? Who are you doing it with? What will you be wearing? What supplies will you need? Why is this activity important or exciting for you? And how do you feel now that the day is here? Try to answer all these questions and imagine the day ahead as vividly as you can. Be sure to think about how you and your life circumstances might be different from today, and how those differences might change what you want or are able to do.

As with any mental time trip to far in the future, it may take a few moments for your brain to start filling in the blanks. Sometimes it helps to plant the seed of imagination in your mind now and come back to it later. Just keep the calendar open and keep playing with possibilities. My challenge for you is to put something exciting—maybe even something life-changing—on your real-world calendar for 10 years from today. You’ll have a whole decade to decide if you want to actually make it happen.

By Jane McGonigal

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