Tuesday, 31 January 2012

I read this book a while back called "Good to Great" about how businesses can achieve lasting success and institutionalize high performance. The observations were the businesses you think are going to be the most successful are usually just trends and very volatile, and the long lasting success stories are not producing wild innovations on any level.

There are a few aspects that I find resonate with me on a personal level.

Instant gratification is one of these misleading fallacies we all to various extents tend to gravitate towards. The idea that everything must be good or perfect, and it must be this way now is how so many of us operate. You need to get the top marks in school to be the smartest, or you'll never be successful. You need to acquire all these personal items: house, degree, career, or even the perfect family, to be successful in life. What does it mean to succeed though? Does it mean that we need to be on top of trends, work in jobs we don't agree with to fulfill consumeristic needs to fill a void left by unfulfilling work? Is weight loss a thing that must be achieved at 5 pounds a week, and if we don't achieve it we won't be happy? Maybe just educate to learn, work to live, and be healthy and active to feel good.

What we believe is up to us, but the general perspective on life has become a hand to mouth reaction, and we are surviving on the need of everyone to fulfill their own instant needs, than look farther down the line to notice there are other ways to reach a more fulfilled life. Jennie and I have heard the phrase "you're so lucky" about our trip so many times, but we forsook instant gratification for a larger goal down the road. We have chose to sacrifice a few security blankets others hold so dear, to put ourselves in a position that to some seems unattainable.

That is one reason I love the idea of cruising, it requires commitment, sacrifice, and many tradeoffs. No matter how much money you have you are faced with the tradeoff between time and money. No matter how old you are you have to choose to leave the safety of the harbour. And the ocean does not care how big or small a boat your is, it will demand your respect.

Another aspect of the book that I can translate to a personal level is the flywheel theory. The concept that you choose a goal, and determine a plan. Once the projection is determined you must work, and work hard. Results will not happen immediately, at first you must push as hard as you can just to get that wheel to move an inch. Eventually the wheel starts to move, but you need to keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing. The wheel starts to build momentum, and eventually your job is to try to keep up. All of a sudden after lots of hard work and determination, life starts to carry you; but you have to keep pushing that flywheel until it starts to hold its momentum.

The author also talks about a hedgehog concept. This is just understanding your identity, your uniqueness. We all strive to achieve, by beating others at their game. Why not look for blue oceans instead of red waters (Blue Ocean Strategy).

Today we picked up our vessel registration, perfect timing. We had to cut through some red tape, and get documents that we didn't know we needed. It all worked out; just a few more things and we're off.

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