Yesterday, did all of the following to work and stay connected with the world:
- Remotely administered three computers in three different cities (and printed documents on a printer during one of those interactions)
- Talked on my cell phone
- Used Skype to call people (when my cell phone battery was dying and had no outlet nearby)
- Used instant messenger to communicate with customers, friends, and family
- Sent and received emails
- Sent and received text messages on my phone
And all of this was done at a small table underneath the stairs by the coffee bar at my church.
And yesterday I realized that cell phone text messaging capabilities have probably made a "technology" of days past obsolete: passing notes in class at school.
Giving money away while you are making it? Novel idea. Getting caught up on some reading and read an article in September 24th BusinessWeek called “Giving It All Away” about a book called The Billionaire Who Wasn’t, which is about Chuck Feeney who quietly gave away his fortune before he amassed it. He could be worth $4 billion today, but instead, is currently worth only $1.5 million. Over the next 12 to 15 years Feeney’s offshore foundation called Atlantic Philanthropies will “spend itself out of business…giving away $350 million annually to four causes: disadvantaged children, the care and treatment of the elderly, global health problems, and human rights.”
I’m not sure if that’s the exact quote, but it’s the gist of an idea Gary Christensen, former CEO of Pella Corporation, communicated to create a sense of urgency. When do we tend to be most “on top of our game”? When there is a challenge…an obstacle to overcome…a new market to be fastest into…a threat to our existence. If you get complacent that things are going well, “create crisis” to work on the next big thing.
Part of this mentality is established by people and organizations who recognize the opportunity to improve, that they have more potential to contribute to their vocation, family, or society. I appreciate people who have done great things, but then humbly recognize that, “hey, I’m not perfect, I can do better.” It’s usually these people that are most successful…the best parents, best athletes, best business people, best spouses. I was reminded of this today when I read an article in Lean Insider which quoted a Nissan VP as saying “weâ€™re a very self-challenging company; we are never happy.” Now, I would argue that being “never happy” is probably an inappropriate use of creating a crisis. I think “self-challenging” is good, and maybe a better way of stating “never happy” would be “never content”, and then I would be fully on-board with his quote. But it reminded me how much I like to be around people who see potential to grow. It’s exciting to be around these people because life isn’t static…things are going to change…maybe not necessarily always for the better, but over time always in the direction of progress.