Thursday, March 24, 2011


My father's family is Swiss German. They came slowly from near Zurich, Switzerland starting during the late 1600s to late 1700s. They made it to America by the 1720s. However, even when I was born in 1948, there was still a tradition of efficiency in everything that I was taught. It served me well.

So, as an American I tend to look at anything I want to accomplish and ask myself always, "How can I most efficiently do this? How can I do this the quickest, fastest, most efficiently so that it is done quicker, faster and more efficiently than anyone else ever could?" This is how I tend to approach almost anything. And when one thinks this way there can be no competition from anyone. Because part of the process of thinking efficiently also eliminates competition. Because if there is competition you tend to do something else which is more efficient than dealing with any competition at all. Because competition (at least as far as any one person is trying to accomplish something) isn't efficient. So that is the first thing you eliminate in your quest for efficiency in anything that you do in life.

So, I found myself at age 50 almost dying from a heart virus. But at the same time because of a lifetime of efficiency, surviving that heart virus but being forced to retire. However, because of efficiency this was not a problem in my life. Because I had been efficient enough to be able to retire at 50.

However, the problem for me ever since is: What do I do with myself? I had been so efficient in the way I had dealt with everything in my life that there was nothing left to do in some ways. You might laugh at this but I wasn't laughing. Because I had made my life so streamlined and efficient that there was nothing left for me to do. And that was kind of scary.

So I guess my lesson about efficiency is: Be efficient but remember to leave something for yourself to do in case you live a long long time. Think about what you are going to do if you live to 100 or beyond that. Prepare for a really long life because that is only efficient.

I know if you are 15 to 25 you are going to tell me that, "Look at the world! We're all going to die!"
I know I thought like that too. I was 12 to 22 from 1960 to 1970. Kennedy got shot. Bobby got shot. Martin Luther King got shot. Cuban Missile Crisis. Viet Nam War. "Oh My God! We're all going to die!"

Yes. We thought like that too. But I'm still here at 62. And even though my friends and family seem to be all dying one by one I'm still here. And I may still be here at 100 or more. And so may you. So you better get ready. Efficiency isn't only for when you are young!

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