Timing is everything, right? So what happens when time stops? Or when time speeds up? I’m beginning to wonder if time is a man-made function that is designed to keep track of productivity. Do you believe that the more productive you are, the more successful you are? Is it admirable to be the last man running on our 24/7 Hamster Wheel of Work? As you might imagine from my last post, my silent meditation retreat gave me a new perspective!
In the absence of noise, one hears things that are otherwise overlooked. Mental noise (Ugh – my to-do list!), emotional noise (XXX is SO annoying!), soul noise (Why can’t I be more like Pema Chodron?), and physical noise (Why is that idiot running the leaf blower when there is still snow on the ground?) When all that noise is present (and we’re experiencing it right now whether we realize it or not), one cannot hear the gift of the songbird. I’m embarking upon a small adventure this weekend, a noise deprivation experiment of sorts -a full day silent meditation retreat. I’m pretty much consumed with anxiety over it.
Mastery is a complicated and difficult goal. What does it mean to master your craft and “be your best?” How do we get there? Research shows it is a 10,000 hour commitment, whether you’re learning to play piano, speak French, or become a brain surgeon. Let me put this in perspective. If you dedicate yourself to improving your craft with 5 hours of concentrated effort each week, that equals 260 hours a year. At that rate, you’ll be a master in 38.5 years. Ouch.
Have you seen the young dynamo on Jeopardy? His name is Arthur Chu, and he’s a brilliant young man who has won over $200K in 9 days. Can you imagine? What an amazing feat. And yet…. There is something about his style that makes watching him achieve greatness a less enjoyable experience, and it can be a lesson for us all. For sustainability in the workplace, success is not enough – likeability matters.
My friend, Karin Prinsen, sent me a link to a video about one of the world’s most studied innovation design firms called Ideo, noting their cultural emphasis on strengths. As always, Karin was right! You don’t want to miss this one.