The Road You Travel
Posted on February 3, 2012
If you don’t set your own path, someone will set it for you. There was this discussion we had in class the other day about what we wanted to do with the amount of work we were being given. Classmates were complaining that we had too much to do in too little time. While I did not necessarily agree with what they were saying, I listened and started taking notes because the teacher took things in a really interesting direction. What he was trying to prove by overloading us with work was that you cannot always do everything. You have to prioritize, sometimes by pushing back, and make sure that you can keep delivering high quality content without killing yourself. I thought this was a pretty cool message, but I didn’t think people were taking it in the right way. Just to clarify, this is a Business Writing Class which teachers you how to write and how to act effectively in the workplace. After listening to the conversation for about 20 minutes and hearing people’s requests for having the teacher tell us what is important and whatnot, I spoke up. “If you don’t set your own path, someone will set it for you. By having the teacher tell us what is important and what is not, we are just developing more bad habits…the same habits he is trying to break. There are many times where I have gone to work prepared for certain things and they either get skipped or never happen. The fact of the matter is that you are prepared. You are ready. Karma has a funny way of biting you in the ass if you say you are ready for something and you are not. It will test you every time.”
The 5 P’s. Poor Preparation leads to Piss Poor Performance. So every morning I write out my battle plans for the day. I act as the general in my life and write out what I would like to accomplish and a rough sketch of what is going to be happening that day. After I play the part of the general, I play the part of the soldier. I carry out these plans with diligence and strike when opportunities are hot. You cannot just be a thinker, you also have to be a doer. I understand where the students were coming from in my class, but I also understand that they were complaining a little bit more than they should have. There are plenty of ways the workload could have been managed. Writing papers the night before they are due is not a great way of doing things. This is the specific reason why 90% of the class was stressed out. If I end up writing a paper the night before, I accept the consequences of that decision and never complain about them. I have a motto in my life which is “complaining is illegal.” Shit is going to hit the fan. Who are you going to be when it does? The guy that runs away from it or the guy that struggles through it. I think you probably know my answer by now.
I have another little nugget for you today. Perfection is the enemy of done. Things do not always have to be perfect. Do not waste your time on things that don’t matter and spend your time on the things that really do matter. Demanding perfection of every single task is insane. It doesn’t mean you can’t put your heat and soul into it, but it does mean that you should give yourself some leeway…especially if the task isn’t demanding perfection. I understand that there is a time and a place for perfection, but those occasions are rare. Give it your best shot…but don’t kill your sanity.
The Better Man Project