On Tuesday, May 15th, Exceed Network hosted the Think Tank workshop series, a night of speaking engagements and breakout sessions led by industry experts in fields as wide ranging as wholesale, branding, real estate and e-commerce. Exceed members and guests sat in groups of 20 with industry leaders and discussed topics including how to launch a business, acquiring clients, marketing, closing deals, raising funds and much more.
Before the breakout sessions, the crowd was treated to a fun and inspiring keynote speech by Charlie Harary, author of Unlocking Greatness, a guide for entrepreneurs to achieve success in business. Harary’s clear and motivational words were the perfect segue into an empowering and educational night.
Harary, a fast paced investor and entrepreneur, quickly began his talk by discussing what makes people great. He shared that he has always been curious about what makes certain people great and has spent years “combing studies, podcasts and biographies,” ultimately writing his book, Unlocking Greatness. To drive the point home that greatness can be achieved by anyone, he shared some fun and interesting stories which proved that success really can be learned.
Harary started with the story of Robert Rosenthal, a Harvard psychologist who, in the 1970s, had elementary school students take a ‘blooming intelligence’ test. He claimed the test would highlight which students, no matter how poor their grades, would succeed that school year. What he left out was that the test was entirely made up with no real merit. After the students took the test, he picked students at random and told their teachers that those children would excel academically that year. After a year, the students he chose at random were at the top of the class. Their IQs went up, their grades went up. What happened? Harary explained that, “We think we know our reality. I know myself. I’m bad at math, I’m not a people person, I can’t dribble a basketball. We know everything about us. Therefore, we project out what’s possible for our lives based on our reality. But Rosenthal said this is backwards. In life, reality doesn’t shape reality, our beliefs shape our reality. After the teachers shared with the students that they would excel, it became their reality.”
Harary then shared how everyone has a small gap in their lives, “a gap between where we live and where we could live. That feeling of wanting more, that hunger, that sense of dissatisfaction, it comes from knowing that you are more. And that gap of where you are and where you could be is shaped by your beliefs because your beliefs change your reality.”
Harary doubled down on this sentiment by sharing another study by Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist. A few years ago, Langer conducted common aging tests on a group of 75 year old men, then placed them in two separate environments. One group was placed in a hotel where they were encouraged to sit around and discuss their lives. The other group was placed in a hotel which was redesigned to look like it was the 1980s, and for a week, the group of old men were told to discuss events, both societal and personal, that occurred during the 1980s. They spoke about old politics, old sports games and their younger families and selves. After a week, she tested the groups and found that the group of men who acted like they were 20 years younger showed significant improvements in their aging tests. The experiment was so successful that the pictures taken before the test of the 1980s group looked nothing like those taken after, so much so that her students could not match up the old to the new. “What happened?” asked Harary. “Your brain impacts your body. It impacts how you age, what you see. It’s that simple and that amazing. Harnessing that energy can change your life.”
Harary finished his talk with three important factors for greatness.
Vision- “The most sophisticated people use their time imagining. Visualize the ideal. Imagination isn’t just for kids. It’s the most powerful tool we have to understand the world and figure out what it needs.”
Ritualize- “Successful people ritualize and keep habits. Concentrate on the schedule and you will be more successful. And, make sure to stick to one task. Multitasking is the best way to be mediocre.”
Understanding failure- “Whenever you fail, it is you rounding out your expertise. You must analyze the failure and see it as a small victory on the road to success. Failure isn’t a fail at all. It is you learning and growing.”
The Think Tank workshop was designed to bring hungry entrepreneurs and business people face to face with industry leaders while giving them a boost in confidence. The event succeeded in these areas and so much more. Exceed once again actively supported and encouraged a growing community of young entrepreneurs and business people looking to make their mark on the business world.
An Exceed member’s survey note summed up Exceed’s efforts perfectly. “I love the events. I am constantly growing from them, motivated by them and I appreciate what Exceed is doing for the community. I hope they keep such powerful events coming.”