What is more important – Doing things that are valuable or doing things efficiently even if they are not so valuable?
There were these people called the ‘knocker-uppers,’ way back in the 1900s, in England. Every morning it was their task to walk up the streets and wake up people. With long sticks in their hands, they would tap on the windows of houses until people woke up.
Most of these knocker-uppers were very efficient in their jobs.
Then one day the alarm clocks came into the market. And all these people lost their livelihoods within a jiffy.
The Knocker-uppers took their jobs seriously and worked really hard. Yet they lost their jobs. So, where exactly did they go wrong?
It was the choice of their job. They chose to do a lesser valuable task rather than a valuable one.
No matter how efficiently you do your task, if it is not something valuable there is no use doing it.
It is about what you do; not about how you do.
That said, not all tasks can be valuable. Nevertheless you can prioritize your tasks.
Use the 80/20 rule – 80% of your energy should be devoted to the most important 20% tasks of your daily life.
One thing that you need to remember here is that you cannot do everything and be everywhere possible at one time. Most of us, unfortunately think that this is possible through multitasking.
But did you know that multitasking can cost you 40% of your efficiency?
Moreover, it can be hazardous to your health by creating brief mental blocks as you shift between tasks.
Striving hard is very important in life. However, before you do so it is also important to think hard. Find out if what you are about to do is valuable.
It is often the game changers that win the race. You need to innovate 10 times more than your competitors. You need to focus on moving things from zero to one. This is what the big companies like Google, Apple and Amazon did.
It was not about building better phones, selling books through an easier distribution channel or improving search algorithms. It was about revolutionizing their respective industries.
They didn’t just do things efficiently and differently – they did different things altogether. This is what you need to do too.
No matter how good a cook you are; if the recipe is bad, there is no way the dish is going to turn out good.
So you can no longer live by the mantra – “Karm Kar; Phal ki Chinta na Kar.” (“Work hard; Don’t worry about the result.”)
We are often inspired by big names from Google, Apple and Harvard. But what we forget is that at one point of time they were also sitting and dreaming in their living rooms. Nevertheless, the only difference is that they worked towards those dreams and turned them into a reality. They dare to think differently and it is this courage that takes them towards their success. Don’t fear failure. Failure is the key to success.
Many successful people have made many sacrifices to get where they are today. Dropping out of college was not an easy decision for Steve Jobs to make. But if he hadn’t made that decision, Apple wouldn’t have been where it is today.
There are many entrepreneurs who work 365 days a year. But their competitors always outdo them by spending a lot more time on similar projects, building bigger times and coming up with expensive marketing campaigns. However, that doesn’t mean startups cannot accomplish their goals. In fact some of them have accomplished much more than what large corporations can.
Instagram was a 13-employee company; but Facebook spent a billion dollars to buy them out.
Snapchat, a 30-employee startup has been turning down big-time offers from tech giants like Google and Facebook.
It could be luck; but they have done things very differently. It is just like what Mac Donald’s did by turning its food production process into science through automation. The fast-food giant taught us to expect consistency when it came to food.
The key to innovation is to think differently. You will have to look for those needs of your consumers that haven’t been met by any of your competitors. This is what CEMEX, a Mexican Cement Company did. It came up with antibacterial concrete as a part of its innovation. The product was a huge success.
Thinking differently doesn’t always happen at the launch of a startup. There are many brands that started with something else and switched over to achieve success.
Flickr was launched as a tool for Ludicorp’s Game Never ending. It was a chat room with a real-time photo sharing option. With the photo-sharing becoming more feasible, the Game Never ending was eventually shelved and the chat room was buried. In March 2005, Flicker was bought by Yahoo for a sum of $35 million.
William Wrigley, the founder of Wrigley Chewing gum, was selling baking powder and soap door to door, way back in 1891. To entice his customers, he started packaging a chewing gum with every can of baking powder. Eventually, the chewing gum became more popular and Wrigley became a chewing gum company instead.
Not having an idea is not a reason to not start off a business. You can start by selling anything under the sun. What you sell might change over time; but your principles should remain the same.
Ideas are not the monopoly of any one person. You, me and in fact anyone can have a brilliant idea, at any point of time. All that you need to do is change the way you think. Start thinking in terms of “I can” and “I will.” Try to look for possibilities in every limitation.
As Sam Ewing, the former baseball star, once said… “nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done.”
Slow and steady no longer wins the race in today’s world. If you want to succeed you will have to think fast, think ahead and think big. If there is anyone who can make a difference, it is you.
So, get ready to take life in your hands and start focusing your energy on creating something extraordinary.