Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stop Working and Start Thinking


Stop Working and Start Thinking.

We live in a culture that admires busyness.
We applaud the fast moving, hard driving entrepreneur, always on their phone, endlessly moving from meeting to meeting.
We respect the urgent executives, with mountainous To Do Lists, no time for breaks, as they get tasks done at a rocket like pace.
But our obsession with busyness can be incredibly costly.
Because usually, the busier we are the less quality thinking we are doing.
And it's thinking that really improves businesses, not just doing.
As Henry David Thoreau put it, “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?"
Most business executives need to do less and think more.
Michael Dell didn't become a billionaire because he worked harder and faster than everyone else.
He became a billionaire because he came up with a great idea: to sell computers direct, cutting out the dealer network, which was the prevalent and ubiquitous business model at the time.
Howard Schultz didn't become a billionaire because he worked hard either. He became one because he travelled to Italy and had an idea: that European specialty style coffee shops would do well in America.
Anita Roddick didn't become one of the richest women in the world because she was busier than other women entrepreneurs.
She became rich because she conceived the idea of opening a specialist bath and body shop, supporting native cultures.
Sure, we should all work hard, but working hard doesn't create a competitive advantage, as most of our competitors are also doing it.
Where we can get ahead is by devoting at least 20 minutes a day to just thinking - alone, with a blank pad of paper and a pen.
Resisting society's urge to do, do, do all the time.
It's ideas that created the modern world and it's ideas that will revolutionise your business.
But they need time to originate.
So every day, stop working for awhile and do some quality thinking. It sounds simple, but it's not an easy thing to do.
As Henry Ford said, "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it." end quote.

I was helped in becoming a thinker by starting working at after school jobs like a paper route by the time I was 10 years old. I soon became aware that I was being misused, abused and not treated right and defrauded often out of the money I was making in various ways by adults. This got me to thinking that the people hiring me were just mostly trying to manipulate me into being their slave most of the time and not paying me right or even keeping the machines I was working on for them safe enough to work on. At age 12 one Saturday I worked in 1960 8 hours with a shovel and a pick digging a ditch, a trench for building a new house for the foundation. I was paid 8 dollars. I remember looking down at my bleeding hands and my back was hurting and I thought to myself, "That was so difficult and I'm only getting paid 8 dollars?" So, having to work for money after school from age 10 for things I wanted like bicycles, movie tickets, and later motorcycles, cars, money to take girls out by age 16 etc. made me think all the harder and made me learn that one should always "Work Smarter Not Harder" which was sort of the motto of the 1960s generation. Many of us had the abusive situation of not being paid enough or abused in various ways by our employers. What I learned is that I wanted to work for myself as soon as possible. By my late 20s I found myself capable of this and all my suffering and work experience led me to becoming a businessman owning my own businesses. I don't know if I would go so far as saying "Stop Working" but I might say, "In your spare time think up a good business and start it or buy a business you think you can run and try running it. Start low budget first until you are sure you can handle both the work and the debt and build up from there. So "Start Thinking!"

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