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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Work, Work, & More Work!

So, I was watching Fareed Zakaria, Sunday, as usual; I’m geeky like that. Fareed’s guest was Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point “an examination of the social epidemics that surround us”. This guy looks just like what I think he is… A GENIUS!

[Admittedly, despite being a big nerd, I don’t read a lot, so I had never heard of Gladwell. I’m more of an audiophile. However, I love the idea of reading… so, occasionally, I go to the library, scan the shelves, lug a huge batch of titles over to a table, open one of the books, begin reading, and promptly fall asleep. Worse, sometimes, I go to the book store, scan the shelves, and buy a bunch of (inexpensive) books that I never get around to reading. So, what does this have to do with Gladwell? Nothing really; I’m just trying to excuse the fact that I haven’t read his book. Pretty bad, huh?]

So, what does Gladwell’s book have to do with this blog, or with YOU taking a jab at work? I‘ll tell you.

In The Tipping Point, Gladwell suggests that small things pick up momentum, and essentially snowball into larger things. Specifically, he compares social change to epidemics. (Perhaps this is where we get the expression, “going viral”). That is exactly what is happening to us today with networking and blogging; it’s becoming infectious. (Even I’ve caught the bug, which is impressive, since I’m a proactive germaphobe.)

In his new book, entitled, “Outliers”, Gladwell equates talent with work ethic. He suggests that the difference between people to whom we attribute the label, “talented”, and others is that so-called talented people are really just people who work harder and therefore achieve higher quality results. He fuses the ideas from Tipping Point & Outliers, suggesting that from an early age, when we demonstrate an ability (even in a small way), we receive positive reinforcement, which drives us to improve those capabilities, causing us to build skills, or “talent“.

This social cycle is what causes individuals to excel in a field, seemingly superiorly to others. So, for example, (in ajab-utopia), I blog; you read my blog; I get encouraged; I keep blogging; the more I blog, the more I learn; the more I learn, the more I excel at blogging; then, because I become an avid blogger, others draw the conclusion that I have a particular talent for blogging.

Still, the realization of talent is affected by other factors, such as others’ interests, system failures (“glitches”), competition (for time), limited resources (human, monetary, technical, or other). Provided that I persist, despite a dearth of reinforcement, and I continue to work very hard at blogging (or acting, basketball, day-trading, ditch-digging etc.) and refuse failure, I should learn even more about my area of interest and create superior work outputs. (But just in case, feel free to leave positive feedback.)

So, what will be the tipping point for you? Hopefully, this blog, or another discussion forum, a television show, book, song, video, email, or chat session will encourage you to take that first step toward your next success. Make work its own reward. Engage in some activity. Try something new. People will see you doing it, and they will encourage you. Their encouragement will be the mechanism that will drive your transformation to viral reality.

Gladwell is saying, No one is intrinsically better than you, but someone could be more dedicated. So, you just have to apply yourself, be diligent: work harder!

Executive Summary: Know Yourself & Help Yourself

1) Brainstorm. Think of things that you might enjoy doing.
(Painting, Researching, Writing, Blogging, Cooking, Surfing (Web/Waves whatever), Marketing, Photography, Exercising, Giving Speeches, Teaching/Tutoring, Gaming, Day-Trading, Swimming, House- flipping, Horseback riding, care-taking, nursing, baby-sitting….)
2) Engage your interests.
3) Apply "SWOT Analyssis" Identify & Address your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats.
4) Learn from your mistakes.
5) Repeat. “If at first you don’t succeed, TRY, TRY again.” (Palmer/Hickinson?)

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A Jab At Work Poetry (Poetry about Work)

“Work” by AJA-B, 08/30/09

The life I live is full of Joy,
But fool of sadness have I been,
If rumblings uttered prove us coy,
Then, truth be told both where, and when,
Was once a pair that teetered then,
O’er brinks or hills,
That they could scarce,
Find liquid, bars of salt, but bills,
And toil, though notice paid none dare’st,
To sweat, and pack, and tape, and wrap,
To call, and quest, rebuffed for cost,
To drive five states, and back, for gas
Traverse, from here to there to drink,
While aching back, and sweat-soaked shirt,
Proved naught the laborers’ worth, but stink,
And why should hecklers, wreckers blurt,
And hurl insults until they hurt,
While hypocrites sit conditioned in,
Till out a pair sent all they’d earned,
To others seeking extra, win,
‘gainst those that taught themselves, and learned,
Volumes, nearly choked and burned,
As plumes of hate, and stacks of smoke,
Sparked flames, which brinksmanship, did stoke,
Hellacious fires that GOD awoke,
& Smote the devils’ flames whose’ fire,
Could not the heights of clouds aspire,
& Up the pair in now a shell,
found seeds to plant that vines did swell,
Fat, filling, fruit and tasty cheer,
Revealing teeth, “from ear to ear,”
Now brimming, happily forgiving, hope,
Refilling cranial stores to find,
Surviving, counts for little more than sustaining life, and wasting time.

Digressing now though more is there,
I advise you work, but ne’er care,
Hard work, and success are not the same,
But without the first you’ll reap the blame,
For being weak, and seeming lame,
To end I wish you all the best,
Catharsis exhausts, I needs must rest,
Good luck, “You’re hired” I hope you’ll find,
To ease your cares, and soothe your mind.

© 2009 AJA-B

A Jab at Work Survey

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