Life Hacks for Dummies-not-so-much

Life Hacks for Dummies-not-so-much

I was recently reading a book called Built to Last. This book has been around for a long time now. The authors talk about visionary companies and the things visionary companies do that make up the difference between them and competing companies who also have been around in the same industry. Of course, the bottom line is that the visionary companies perform much better than just good companies in a competitive environment. I was also reading a book called The Selfish Gene which also has been around for a long time now. This book gives new dimensions to the non-biology curious student about what Charles Darwin set out to explain in his Origin of Species, how our understanding of genetics gives a new explanation to what he said, the world of living beings, altruism and game theory among other things.

I noted that evolution of an organism is tauntingly close to the way a company evolves its strategies to survive. Indeed the author of the first book mentioned, lucidly explains the evolution of a company by comparing it at one point with biological evolution. Given an environment that keeps changing, both organizations and organisms need to evolve in such ways as to not die out, thrive and protect their cores. The core in the case of organisms is their genetic content, while the core in the case of organizations is comprised of their principles.

While biological evolution does depend on a few freak accidents called mutations and also by some other random processes such as crossing over, evolutions of company strategies are more directed and efforts can be channeled to actually evolve the organization into a successful organism. Nevertheless, the modes of evolving in both cases hold a lot in similar.

Well, I did not start typing to provide a book review of these two books, though I will say I might even go as far as buying them for a person who wants to read. But then, reading these books did make me look at myself as a small organization, with its own principles, strategies, weaknesses and strengths. And this angle of view gave me a quick set of useful strategies or at least what I deem useful. I thought I might as well bounce it off others, so I can fine tune it better for my own consumption – far be it from me to start off a cult with dictums. So I have decided to compile them here for you to check out and provide feedback:

  • Have focus. Do the right thing. And don’t wait there to get a nod of approval from others.
  • Always have a backup plan (or two). When one fails/backfires, shift fluidly to the next available or make one, if required. Never fall in love with a single plan. There always are options. If there really is no other option, decide to be at ease with the inevitable. But keep your eyes open. It’s all about how adaptable you are.
  • Be proactive. Never allow mental sloth to prevail. Time is precious. Make every minute count towards knowledge gained for yourself and differences made to others’ lives.
  • The paradox of idealistic pragmatism works. Perfect the art of balancing idealism and pragmatism. After all, a man is but his principles. But he must have flexible ways of implementing them.
  • Never compromise on core ideology for short term benefits. However, on a much larger timeframe, even core ideologies are subject to refinements.
  • Do not fear change. Do not fear anything. Driven by sound ideology, there should be no fear.
  • Do not be overwhelmed by the situation you are in. Most serious things will look different 5 years from now.
  • If there are lots of things to do, prioritize. And start working like there is no tomorrow. The satisfaction of having worked hard and having given your best is an amazing feeling. Winning is extremely important. The focus is only to win and there can be no compromise on that focus. That said, however, winning is still not the most important thing in itself. The most important indeed is the way you played the game.
  • Develop the ability to concentrate. And listen. Do not talk much, but when you do, it should be crisp and full of sense.
  • If you can do all this (and perhaps a few more that you can add and customize), you can have trust in God. That’s because a God should be helping those who help themselves. If you are an atheist, never mind.

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