Have you ever been arrested?

BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - August 26, 2018 - 12:00am

Here is a story from across the seas.

The town was peaceful, but suddenly gripped with terror. The policemen did not know who to arrest.  And so, these two policemen are called to the scene of a crime at the Gateway local convenience store in Fareham, England. One asks the manager, Roger Cook, what happened. Roger replies solidly.

“There’s a man over there covered in Corn Flakes and, I’m afraid that he’s   dead.” 

“That’s odd.” frowned the first police detective, “Didn’t we have one covered in Bran Flakes yesterday and another covered in Weetabix last week?”

“You’re right.” agreed the second detective.

“This is obviously the work of a CEREAL KILLER.”

So, if you love cereals, stay away from that crime scene or you may be arrested.

There are people I know who have been arrested, and I will explain what this is all about. I have met successful professionals. I have interacted with successful business people and executives. I have conducted trainings and given seminars to many high-potential leaders and I see a recurring pattern with all these achievers. They are all diligent, display a stamina of interest and zeal. When I talk to them about their business or profession, I can see a spark in their eye, and their enthusiasm is so contagious.

I have also interacted with businessmen, professionals, and executives who would talk to me about their woes, the mistakes, the shortcomings of their companies, the unfair treatment of their bosses, the difficulties of their work, ad nauseam ad infinitum.

I keep the conversation short because misery loves company, and it is contagious too. Although I try to be polite and cute, but the unspoken thought in my mind has always been, “Well, if you know what the problems are, then what are you doing about it?”

Winners always improve things. Whiners do not, and they seem to relish in misery. All they do is to air their complaints, and perhaps even suggest solutions. They sure have a lot of opinions on how to improve things, but they don’t. They do not take the initiative to make things better. They just sulk, wallow, and tell people about how bad things are, and this leads them to being arrested. This is what I call “Arrested Development”.

Achievers are not afraid to hustle, and they are used to the daily grind. They show passion and perseverance. They have the inner drive to see results, and they know that in order to do this, they first have to develop themselves. They need to grow. And so, they embark on a journey of learning and development.

Angela Duckworth, in her book, describes grit as having two elements – passion and perseverance. Passion, according to her, is defined not as the intensity of one’s interest, but rather the consistency of that interest over very long periods of time – years, decades or even a lifetime. Perseverance on the other hand, relates to the tenacity with which we approach our goals – the ability to carry on through times of frustration, boredom, ambiguity and pain.

She argues that “gritty” people show the following traits:

(a) Set a stretch goal – something that is just beyond one’s reach at present, but is attainable with effort. I call this the personal aspiration to do better and achieve more

(b) Focus – block out distractions like mobile phones, social media, binging on TV series, etc.

(c) Seek feedback – experts are more interested in what they did wrong than what they did right. While they are quite happy with the positive feedback, they are more interested in the negative ones so that they would know which area of improvements they need to work on.

(d) Reflect and refine – this stage involves reflecting on what has been learned and what still needs more work, and then repeating the deliberate practice process again until they’ve achieved our goal.

In my book, high achievers know their purpose in what they do. They know that their work benefits others in some say be it friends, family, community or colleagues.

Those who constantly whine and complain have been arrested. I call this “Arrested Development”.

In my Culture or Personal Excellence seminars, I point out that there are four types of complainers:

1. Whiners and Groaners – “It’s not fair I do not deserve this.”

2. Martyrs – “Nobody appreciates me.”

3. Cynics – “We will never make it.”

4. Perfectionists – “Is that the best you can do?”

This is not a good thing.

We all go through difficulties and challenges. Work may not be easy and in many cases, work can be routine and boring. But that is the point. We get bored when we are no longer growing, and there are no challenges that face us.

You need to look for challenges outside your work. Get a new skill. Develop your ability to communicate. Join Toastmasters. Get into sports. Learn a new craft. Your growth is not your company’s responsibility for you, though they may support you with seminars, and you NEED to attend all those. But you make sure you grow first. When you do, you help the company grow. Do not allow your development to be arrested.

As Teddy Roosevelt famously said: “Complaining about a problem without coming up with a solution is called whining.” So stop complaining and start developing. And when you do, a miracle begins to happen, the complaining reduces itself and then the positive results begin to show.

(Attend two inspiring days of leadership training with Francis Kong in his highly-acclaimed Level Up Leadership seminar-workshop on Sept. 18-19 at Makati Diamond Residences near Greenbelt 1. For registration or inquiries contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at www.levelupleadership.ph)

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