Imagine yourself walking in a historical city such as Paris, Vienna, Rome, London, Tokyo, Seoul, and Athens. Their unique long history is well presented in their culture that it charms travellers around the world. In their dazzling culture are architectures that have been keeping their grounds for centuries. This type of ages-old buildings that whisper distinctive stories of the past have one thing in common: Hidden beneath their remarkable and eye-catching exteriors lies a robust and enduring base, that has upheld them for a very long time. It is this very foundation that has preserved these buildings through numerous events and turmoils for centuries.
There are lots of similarities between buildings and lives, especially when it comes to work. On any given day, new buildings are planned and built. At the same time, some old buildings are abandoned and demolished. The same phenomenon goes to work. In the US alone, there are approximately 30 million registered businesses today. Among them, only a thousand get to achieve good enough to be named as Fortune 1000 companies. Among these one thousand, only a fraction of them gets to survive and thrive from generation to generation.
There are several factors that determine a business's success. All uncontrollable variables aside, I wanted to find the core elements that genuinely successful people or businesses share and those mesmerizing buildings have in common.
In this article, I would like to share two findings that I strongly believe will help you to lay down a strong enduring foundation to produce long-lasting fruits.
Start from 'Why': It's More than Work-and-Life Balance
Work-and-life balance is a term that we hear on a daily basis. When we take a closer look at what people mean when they say this word, we find different meanings are in fact jumbled into this word.
We spend a substantial amount of time in our entire lives working. Regardless of the situation, work should not be elevated to the status of an idol. Numerous studies have proved that it is detrimental to have work as the sole wellspring of your happiness, contentment, and life's fulfillment.
Then it bears a question. How do we know a good place to draw a line between work and off-work?
One of the popular ways is to apply the conventional 40-hours-week standard to determine when they need to take off from work to prevent overwork. In other words, they might refuse to stay after 5 p.m. worrying if such a thing will harm the work-life balance they're trying to uphold.
I'd like to propose that this mindset could foster an intriguing, potentially detrimental perspective on one's career. If we are to work only for 8 hours during weekdays, which only makes up a quarter of the day it could reshape our attitude toward employment. We might begin elevating the notion of working only 8 hours or less too much above all else. Then the primary focus shifts from whether the job aligns with one's talents and aspirations to the number of hours spent on the job. As a result, you might end up with a job that may give you a good salary for an 8-hour-per-day job but does not fit with your vision or give you internal joy.
No matter what kind of job you have, your life goal must be to have a healthy, productive, and rewarding life overall. If working 8 hours per day has become too rigid a standard so that you can't allow anything to intervene between you and that standard, you should raise a yellow flag. You need to be comfortable with adding a few more hours when it is necessary and also finish off the day early when it is deemed efficient and productive. The primary priority in finding your job must never be limited to the number of hours you will be spending. Let's not forget that we must avoid and prevent toxic work cultures that exploit employees by all means. At the same time, it must be equally avoided that we settle down on what's only palpable in the present when it will rip us off future growth and opportunities.
Let me rephrase this for you: What you choose as your job or jobs and how you manage your career life play a huge influence on your overall life. Numerous contents including books, seminars, or even posts on social media published every day arguably to teach you how to have a good career. Amidst choke-full arguments that won't hold them accountable even if their statements turn out to be false, a sense of discernment is needed more than ever. Truth is, if you do not decide your own principles, someone else is going to enforce that on you.
So I want to tell you this. Pause and take a close look at yourself, your current situation, and your life. What story are you writing? What is your "why" that motivates you in the morning, pushes you to go further, and encourages you when things are not going well? Do not be swept by what the world says because they simply can say a totally different thing tomorrow. Embrace the courage to be the writer of your life because, in the end, it is always worth it.
Time is Your Best Friend for Your Growth
In the hustle and bustle of modern life, we constantly seek ways to save time. In fact, time is the most valuable asset. Time-saving equates to efficiency and productivity. Across industries, in every effort we make, whether it is the application of the latest technology or the newest management system, in essence, we strive to save as much time as possible to accomplish more, and ultimately, acquire better returns.
Among all the efforts to save time, however, there is a 'but'.
When there is a strong wind that seemingly sweeps everything, something might break. It is just like the saying, "You may go farther and fare worse." In life, there are occasions where spending sufficient time is a must. It is simply non-negotiable. When you are overly focused on saving time, however, you may be tempted to cut down the corners, when it must not happen at all.
A good example is nature. If you want to grow a tree from a tiny seed, it takes time. The seed must first germinate, grow its first leaves and roots, and grow in length and volume before it sprouts branches. Every step is crucial and you cannot rush them. Passively waiting for sufficient time to pass might feel boring and meaningless. However, to get a majestic, sturdy, fragrant, and fruitful tree, however, waiting is a must.
Likewise, in emergency management and professional property restoration, there are certain areas where spending sufficient is absolutely vital. An obvious case is restorative drying.
This process of extracting moisture and dehumidification to dry out structures and contents is the foundational work for any water-related restoration. If the affected area does not fully dry, it will cause more serious problems down the road. Imagine wooden structures that are severely weakened because of undealt moisture that was trapped. Think of it as your bones becoming brittle more and more. One day, you will need to pay a hefty price. Deficient time in fully finishing up the work is extremely dangerous and must be avoided at all costs.
This teaches us a life lesson. Invest sufficient time in where it needs to be spent for the best results. Do not rush through just to show how quickly you can finish the given job to people who do not know the details you hide. That's a deception. Choose to exercise the highest work ethic. Exercise craftmanship. A master never wastes time and never hurries either. Because good things always take time to occur.
For a startup company to reach profitability, it needs to go through the first initial years of building the foundation. Depending on the industry, economic situation, and size of the company, it can take up to 10 years to reach solid profitability.
In the stock market, there is a term called 'Ten Begger'. Coined by the legendary American investor Peter Lynch, it refers to an investment that returns 10 times its initial purchase price. In general, most stocks that experience such dramatic returns take an average period of ten years to grow. Sufficient time with the right investment gives you sweet and tangible returns.
There's an adage I greatly admire: "Festina lente," with its paradoxical message of "Make haste slowly." This age-old wisdom has found favour with luminaries including Augustus and the Medicis. In my opinion, it penetrates to the heart of true success. We don't squander time; we maintain a consistent forward momentum. However, we don't recklessly rush ahead, which could lead to more significant problems down the road. We progress at the right speed, doing what's necessary while minimizing time wasted.