At Sea on a Boat

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Imagine that you’re out at sea on a boat, voyaging to a far-off destination. Your boat springs a leak, which immediately becomes your priority. You jump down and start bailing water to prevent going under, but forget that nobody is left to navigate the ship. One day, after doing nothing but bailing water for who knows how long, you poke your head over the bow and wonder where the heck you are and how you got there. This is the purposeless life. People can become so preoccupied with just staying afloat that they fail to realize that nobody is at the helm.

Unfortunately, clarifying purpose takes time – quiet, uninterrupted time – which is something many of us feel we don’t have. We rush from one obligation to another without a “50,000 foot” view of where we’re going. It may seems self-indulgent to stop and reflect on questions of meaning and purpose, but journey will demand it.

Sean Patrick

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Business and Finance

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The most surprising feature of business as it was conducted was the large attention given to finance and the small attention to service. That seemed to me to be reversing the natural process which is that the money should come as the result of work and not before the work.

My idea was then and still is that if a man did his work well, the price he would get for that work, the profits and all financial matters, would care for themselves and that a business ought to start small and build itself up and out of its earnings. If there are no earnings then is a signal to the owner that he is wasting his time and does not belong in that business.

Money is not worth a particular amount. As money it is not worth anything, for it will do nothing of itself. The only use of money is to buy tools to work with or the product of tools. Therefore money is worth what it will help you to produce or buy and no more. If a man thinks that his money will urn 5 per cent, or 6 per cent, he ought to place it where h can get that return, but money placed in a business is not a charge on the business – or, rather, should not be. It ceased to be money and become, an engine of production, and it is therefore worth what it produces – and not a fixed sum according to some scale that has no bearing upon the particular business in which the money has been placed. Any return should come after it has produced, not before.

I determined absolutely that never would I join a company in which finance came before the work or in which bankers or financiers had a part. And further that, if there were no way to get started in the kind of business that I thought could be managed in the interest of the public, then I simply would not get started at all. For my own short experience, together with what I saw going on around me, was quite enough proof that business as a mere money-making game was not worth giving much thought to and was distinctly no place for a man who wanted to accomplish anything. Also it did not seem to me to be the way to make money. I have yet to have it demonstrated that it is the way. For the only foundation of real business is service.

Henry Ford

Twelve Steps to Set and Achieve Any Goal

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  1. Step number one is to have a desire. You must have an intense, burning desire for your particular goal.
  2. Believe. You must absolutely believe, deep in your heart, that you deserve the goal and that you are capable of attaining it.
  3. The third step to goal achievement is for you to write it down. A goal that is not in writing is not a goal at all.
  4. Analyze your starting point.
  5. Decide why you want a particular goal in the first place. Make a list of all the ways that you will personally benefit by achieving that goal.
  6. Set a deadline. If your goal is big enough, break your deadline down into sub deadlines. When you break down your goals into daily and hourly amounts and activities, you will be astonished at how much more you get done.
  7. Determine the obstacles that are standing between you and your goal. You can apply the 80/20 Rule to the obstacles and difficulties blocking you from achieving your goals. This rule says that, in most cases, 80 percent of the reasons you are not attaining your goals are internal. They are within you rather than in the world around you. Only 20 percent of the obstacles are contained in your external situation or in other people.
  8. Determine the additional knowledge, information, and skills you will require to achieve your goal.
  9. Determine the people whose cooperation and assistance you will need. Relationships are everything.
  10. Make a plan to achieve your goal. A plan is an organized list of tasks that you will have to complete to get from where you are to where you want to go. A plan is a list of activities organized by time, sequence, and importance. 
  11. Visualize your goal each day as if it were already attained. Imagine the pride, satisfaction, and happiness you would experience if you were already the person you wanted to be, with the goal that you want to enjoy.
  12. Back everything you do with persistence and determination. Resolve in advance that you will never give up. You must decide, in advance, that nothing will stop you. Then, when you face the inevitable obstacles and difficulties that occur, you will be psychologically prepare. You will bounce rather than break.

Brian Tracy

Trust and Leading

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Trust is a feeling, not a rational experience. We trust some people and companies even when things go wrong, and we don’t trust others even though everything might have gone exactly as it should have. A completed checklist does not guarantee trust. Trust begins to emerge when we have a sense that another person or organization is driven by things other than their own self-gain.

Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you – not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.

Simon Sinek

Principles of Service

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  1. An absence of fear of the future and of veneration of the past. One who fears the future, who fears failure, limits his activity. Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again.
  2. A disregard of competition. 
  3. The putting of service before profit. Without profit, business cannot extend. There is nothing inherently wrong about making a profit. Well-conducted business enterprise cannot fail to return a profit, but profit must and inevitably will come as a reward for good service.
  4. Manufacturing is not buying low and selling high. It is the process of buying materials fairly and, with the smallest possible addiction of cost, transforming those materials into a consumable product and giving it to the consumer. Gambling, speculating, and sharp dealing, tend only to clog this progression

Henry Ford


Enlightened Selfishness

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You need to find an activity that maximizes the help and value you can give to others while at the same time maximizing the fulfillment and satisfaction you can give yourself. Making a difference, if you are to get excited about a project, and sustain that commitment over a period of time, needs to be one of enlightened selfishness. This is why finding your purpose – and thus finding meaning – is so important.

Meaning manifest itself in many ways, but one unifying thread is the sense of purpose that comes out of who we are, and what we hold dear. Without it we are rudderless. We are no longer, in Oscar Wilde’s phrase, “captain of our souls”. Not only can we find no meaning in what we do, we can also fall prey to betraying what values we do have, resulting in a sense of emptiness, and depression.

Tim Drake

Simplicity

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My effort is in the direction of simplicity. People in general have so little and it costs so much to buy even the barest necessities because nearly everything that we make is much more complex that it needs to be. 

Real simplicity means that which gives the very best service and is the most convenient in use. 

As we cut out useless parts and simplify necessary ones we also cut down the cost of making. This is simple logic, but oddly enough the ordinary process starts with a cheapening of the manufacturing instead of with a simplify of the article.

Henry Ford