Saturday, February 28, 2009

The World's Shortest Course in Success

I wish I could say that ethics is paramount but if I am to be honest, nothing is more important than intelligence and drive. 

Balance is overrated. Most people of accomplishment work 50, 60, even 80 hours a week. And that imbalance need not be deleterious to their health. A person who works slow and steady on work he or she is good at will be far less stressed than someone who's annoyed by their children's or spouse's shenanigans or who get frustrated with every bad golf shot.

Also key to success: As long as it's ethical, ask for what you want. People who don't ask--for fear of rejection, failure, imposing, etc.--usually doom themselves to far less success than they otherwise could achieve.


Grace said...

What is your definition of balance? Equal time spent in everything? I thought balance was just making sure all your emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual needs were met. If that happens with a 70 hour work week, fine.

Still, I don't think we always know what is best for us, and even when we think we are doing well, we might not be at our best. A regular pause (like a Sabbath) can help assess that.

Marty Nemko said...

I believe one can reassess during a half-hour break to walk in the woods. A regular sabbath feels very wasteful of the most valuable and fleeting commodity we have for being productive: our time.

Grace said...

I disagree. Of course I can get by on a regular break here and there, but I want to do more than just get by. Some things take time. You shouldn't cram for your exams because your mind needs time to process information. You shouldn't marry someone you've known for only a couple of days because whatever intimacy you feel with them is based more on hormones than on understanding. A half-hour nap might give you the energy you need to keep going, but sooner or later, you are going to need some longer restortative sleep.

I know that taking a day of rest can seem wasteful, but that's the reason we should put ourselves through the exercise of taking it.
To go against our own grain. A half-hour break isn't enough to stop us. At first, it will not feel good to take a longer break, but that doesn't mean it's not good for you.

We each should take whatever abilities we have and use them to the full. But working non-stop with only short breaks, even to the benefit of others, is actually a self-centred task and leads to a distorted world view. I believe we become driven, not by the need to help others, but by the need to satisfy our desire to accomplish more.

Marty Nemko said...

There is nothing wrong with the desire to accomplish more.

Grace said...

Accomplishing more for what purpose? Accomplishing more should be a means, not an end.

Marty Nemko said...

Of course, by definition, accomplishment must be of significance: whether marketing a good product, healing a patient, fixing a pipe, writing a helpful blog post.

Leslie said...

I agree that life balance is overrated. I also think that the popular notion of "having it all" is somewhat overrated too. Excelling in one or two areas is preferable to me than trying to do everything and feeling stretched too thin or worse—doing everything badly.

VoteNovember2008 said...

I believe that every one has a different internal drive. Different ideas of the definition of success. I also believe that because of these differences in people, we have different classes of people. This should not be a crime.

Some people are so crippled by fear that they can't make a decision to do anything but the status quo.

I also believe that we all need time for reflection, that time of reflection can mean many things to many different people.

Some people may need time to sit on a river bank and fish, some may need time to fly their airplane. The energy of the universe that I identify as God, doesn't care when or where you commune, but he does prefer that at some point and time you get off the carousel and listen to answers to life's questions that are being whispered through the wind. Love our blog! VN8