Once again I find myself trying to work out what is different from mere mortals like myself and the captains of industry, dynamic business leaders, and the driven individuals who dominate todays businesses. Sure they’re hard working with a vision of what they want to achieve but I’m sure there’s more to it than that. I’ve read a few biographies of people who fit into this category and the overriding thought I have is that these people seem to be slightly damaged in some way, the friends and family closest to these visionaries seem to suffer at their hands and end they up being described as ruthless, arrogant and ignorant of the pain they cause whilst being publicly lauded for their talent and vision with the shortcomings being conveniently papered over.
All of which begs the question, am I prepared to behave in the same way for the sake of success and wealth, am I indeed capable of behaving in such a way or are these people slightly broken or damaged and they find themselves forced to be the way they are and success is just a by product? Maybe I’m simply just not capable of acting and behaving in this way and hyper success will always evade me. Perhaps I should be grateful I don’t have to deal with the demons that great success brings and that I should appreciate what I have, or is it just that I just haven’t found my niche or calling yet and when I do I’ll be able to effortlessly unleash my inner genius and ruthlessly achieve glory.
If we were given the opportunity to turn on our inner genius, sat down at a table with a big red button on it and all we had to do was press the button and in an instant we’d be confidently championing our latest work or invention forcing our way to the top of our chosen field irrespective of the fall out. I suspect most of us would hesitate wondering if the grass would be as green as we hoped and perhaps we’d be better off staying where we are. But more likely we’d want a compromise, this reminds me of the ex leper in the life of Brian who had been cured of leprosy without consultation and as such had lost his livelihood. When pushed with the idea the he could simply go back and ask to be uncured this was his response “Ah, yeah. I could do that, sir. Yeah. Yeah, I could do that, I suppose. What I was thinking was, I was going to ask him if he could make me a bit lame in one leg during the middle of the week. You know, something beggable, but not leprosy, which is a pain in the arse, to be blunt. Excuse my French, sir”.
So I suppose my reply here is could I be a bit of a genius in the middle of the week?
I was listening to a podcast recently where the main protagonist claimed that the telephone on their desk had been reduced to ornament status as a result of email, at first I saw this as a good thing, thinking of the increased productivity that an email has over a conversation. I’ve yet to meet any known ‘waffler’ who recreates this skill in email, added to that you effectively have a fast forward button that allows you to skip to the pertinent part of any email. But the more I thought about it the more I was concerned about tone, the main element which is difficult to get right in an email but which is mostly effortless in conversation.
I’m reminded of a relationship with a former colleague getting off to a particularly bad start via email. He sent me a straightforward request but the tone was arrogant and condescending, I immediately replied but made sure I gave as good as I got, I was after all a long serving employee and deserved a little respect. After a couple of weeks of acidic email tennis another blistering mail landed in my inbox, I started to compose a withering reply but stopped part way through and though, no I’m going to have this out with him in person and marched downstairs to his office and asked him to explain exactly what it was he wanted, he started to explain and in a few sentences he told me what he was trying to do. It was like the clouds parting to reveal the sun, I immediately understood what he was trying to do and that I had completely misunderstood the ‘tone’. I explained my position and my reticence to proceed and we were able to reach a compromise in a few minutes that we could probably never have done via email. After that I learned to disregard any perceived tone in his emails and simply dealt with the facts, as a result our relationship was much better.
All of this leads me to conclude that whilst there are great benefits to be had in speeding communication up via email, but you must understand the tone that is intended by the sender and often the only way to do this is by actually talking to that person and finding out what their default tone is. We should never accept email as a replacement to face to face communication.
It really is good to talk!
Over the last few weeks the temperature has been steadily climbing to the point now where it never drops below 25º during the night. I can remember this from holidays in my youth but the tactics I employed then to ensure a good nights sleep don’t translate to well to the life style of a 44 year old. I could I suppose try to turn back time and and go out clubbing until the early ours safe in the knowledge that frantic dancing and heavy alcohol consumption would ensure instant sleep upon contact with my bed, but i don’t think this is sustainable. We have air conditioning in our room and have happily used it in hotels in the past but I feel that long term use can’t be healthy so we are determined to acclimatise to the heat. The first two weeks has been challenging with fitful sleep and a sticky sensation over the skin which is definitely not conducive to waking fully rested the next day. However the introduction of a fan seems to have done the trick as my sleeping now seems to have returned to normal. I’ll report back periodically as I don’t know if the heat has reached it’s peak or not yet!
I sat in a restaurant in Paris next to a guy with his mother, she looked to be in her late eighties.
My French is not great but I could gather that she was curious about what I was doing.
He explained that I was using the screen in front of me to read a book, she looked baffled.
It made me wonder what technology yet to be conceived will baffle me if I’m lucky enough to reach that age!