When I first read the excerpt from Geoff Colvin’s book ‘Talent Is Overrated’ in a Fortune issue I was so excited that I could barely sleep that night.
I was excited because it was not your typical self help manual where the author charts out life strategies based solely on his personal experience or worse based on what he claims is the golden bullet while he himself is living a life without results. This was a book excerpted in a most unlikely, place the hard nosed business magazine, Fortune. Further this was based on research, not the kind, where all kinds of crazy conclusions are extrapolated from studies that involve all of a less than a dozen participants. No this book was based on research conducted in the last 30 years in many places such as the INSEAD school of business. Finally the ideas outlined by this apply to every area of life not just the normal haunting spots of talent such as sports, music and so on.
When I was in India recently I saw several signs proclaiming that the disabled are ‘differently abled’.
Back in the USA I witnessed first hand an inspiring example of this. It happened at a concert for kids.
I went there because it was free but got far more than I bargained. A life lesson where I was expecting a performance for kids.
Tony DeBlois was in town to give a musical performance for kids. It was a Saturday afternoon with nothing planned for the kids. So I took the brood to the show. Tony is a 36 year old man who plays more than 20 musical instruments. He first started playing with a musical instrument when he was 2 years old! He is famous internationally and has now been invited to perform at the 2012 London Olympics.
When you encounter a person with such impressive achievements you tend to get inspired especially when he still appears so enthusiastic and down to earth.
A few days back my neighbour strayed into my lawn with her tractor. I was upset that she was hellbent on ignoring the small fence I had put up demarcating the property boundary. The thought stayed with me just below the forefront sapping my mood. I felt stressed and physically fatigued. I was going through the motions but I was not there in spirit. I even took my family out to watch a movie. It was great while the movie lasted but I slipped right back into my oldself after the movie.
That was on a saturday. Today is sunday and I could not be feeling better. No I am not on drugs. I just took action. No specific action I just started working on the yard. My spirits lifted, my fatigue disappeared and I was gloriously happy.
‘Action’ is the central message of the Bhagwad Gita. It goes as far as saying ‘Action is life, Inaction is death’. I could not have agreed more.
In Steve Chandler’s “Re Inventing Yourself” a mixed work of powerful prose and distracted poetry ( read my review of Steve Chandler ) he quotes a scientific study conducted on two groups of Amoeba. A study that I will probably never forget. In the study a group of Amoeba were allowed to grow in the most optimal growth conditions possible. Another group suffered whipsawing changes in temperatures, and given little food. Surprisingly it was the second group that emerged stronger and fitter.
“Effort is Good Fortune” – Steve Chandler.
I think some of the reasons for why taking action, any kind of action, helps is that it raises your self esteem, it gets you pre occupied, it give you a sense of purpose (unlike vegetating in front of the TV) and it gets the blood moving.
So next time you feel the blues take up a worthwhile task and then check your emotional pulse for life.
Your thinking style improves when your state of mind improves. Never ever take a decision or act when you are under emotional stress. Maintain a positive attitude to get into a peak state of performance. Research in the field of sports psychology has proved beyond doubt that a positive attitude is not just for dreamy eyed idealists.
You might feel that you are a multi tasking genius. But science has again shown that when it comes to performing demanding tasks multi tasking actually makes you dumber.