Saturday, January 27, 2007

What Is Hard Work?

An interesting article from Fast Company. The following is a meat and potatoes excerpt.

Sure, you're working long, but "long" and "hard" are now two different things. In the old days, we could measure how much grain someone harvested or how many pieces of steel he made. Hard work meant more work. But the past doesn't lead to the future. The future is not about time at all. The future is about work that's really and truly hard, not time-consuming. It's about the kind of work that requires us to push ourselves, not just punch the clock. Hard work is where our job security, our financial profit, and our future joy lie.

It's hard work to make difficult emotional decisions, such as quitting a job and setting out on your own. It's hard work to invent a new system, service, or process that's remarkable. It's hard work to tell your boss that he's being intellectually and emotionally lazy. It's easier to stand by and watch the company fade into oblivion. It's hard work to tell senior management to abandon something that it has been doing for a long time in favor of a new and apparently risky alternative. It's hard work to make good decisions with less than all of the data.

Today, working hard is about taking apparent risk. Not a crazy risk like betting the entire company on an untested product. No, an apparent risk: something that the competition (and your coworkers) believe is unsafe but that you realize is far more conservative than sticking with the status quo.

Richard Branson doesn't work more hours than you do. Neither does Steve Ballmer or Carly Fiorina. Robyn Waters, the woman who revolutionized what Target sells -- and helped the company trounce Kmart -- probably worked fewer hours than you do in an average week.

None of the people who are racking up amazing success stories and creating cool stuff are doing it just by working more hours than you are. And I hate to say it, but they're not smarter than you either. They're succeeding by doing hard work.

Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you'd rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, drive through the other barrier. And, after you've done that, to do it again the next day.

Based on this article, I don't think I take enough risk in life. I've always thought that I was a risk-taker. And rightly so, but I don't face up to enough tough decisions to face up to fear. Hard work isn't about working long hours. It isn't about working till 9pm at night. It's about making tough decisions and making these tough decisions perhaps everyday and every moment. Hard work in the modern world is about making sacrifices. Not sometimes social life for your career, but it can also mean sacrificing your "career" for success. Being a success and having a career are not the same thing.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Don't Listen Too Much To The Media

Newspapers, TV and the rest of the mass media have the primary purpose reporting news. They are also regulated in the sense that they cannot tell lies. But they have the ability to choose what to tell and to choose how to present it. They decide what sort of information is "important" for each of us.

But the thing is, this basket of news stories that serve us daily may distort our views of the world. Intentionally or not, serving only sensational news or negative news can create a negative worldview. It can also shape our ambitions and direction.

De Bono mentioned ways to prevent a person moving from A to B. The direct way is of course blocking him. But another way is to not provide knowledge of B to that person or to provide another alternative C so that he moves to that.

We are masters of our own fate, we must figure out and find information for our own goals. We must examine ourselves and determine where we want to go and how to get there.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Living with Imperfection

We all live with imperfection, we do not choose where we are born, when we are born, who our parents were. Most of our early lives, were not under our control.

But, we can adapt to it. If life gives us lemons, we make lemonade.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

You Are The Laser Beams of The World!

You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)

We are the light of the world. Light sources can range from candles, to energy saving bulbs, to fluorescent lights, to heating lamps, to fireworks, to strobe lights, to chandeliers. Each light source is characterised by different effects. It can be diffuse, it can be bright, it can be reflected off ceilings without being seen, it can be bright daylight, it can be soft yellow. It can flicker, it can flash, it can be constant.

Each of us is important.

Each of us has talents.

Each of one of us is unique.

We have an impact on life and on the world.

Just by existing in this world, we affect others.

But to make an even greater impact, we must hone ourselves, we must focus our efforts.

The concentrated beam of light has power to cut through even steel. It can transmit information. It can decorate. We can become more useful if we concentrate our light in some areas.

In a way, that is what discipline is all about. The problem is that the word 'discipline' has negative connotations, with punishment or a spartan regimentation. Look at the goal instead, look at it as the passion, as the goal and the means to achieve a great goal. When it's finished, we will look at discipline as no more than a rocky path or jungle trek that we had to traverse through to find a lost treasure. Discipline is terrain we navigate in the adventure of life.