Shortcut to Success in Everything

Porter carrying supplies up mountain

going up?

It’s a six hour walk up a slippery wet trail – is this the best way to bring supplies to the top of the mountain? I asked why they didn’t use the 30 minute tram, at night when it is not being used by visitors, and my guide answered: it would put the porters out of work.  This provides a strong metaphor about efficiency and best practices.

Have you ever heard of an experienced golfer playing a round with the old clubs they first bought when they were learning the game?  Even while practicing at the driving range, they use their good clubs.

The easiest way to improve your golf game is not with hours of practice, but upgrading your equipment. The easiest way to improve your triathlon time is with the right running shoes, a faster bike, and a better designed swim suit. The right equipment helps to shed time from your finish– and makes you more competitive without extra practice.  What’s the best way to become a better photographer or painter?

A really good photographer or painter can probably produce something decent with the barest of equipment like a pinhole camera or a piece of calk. However, for most of us we are looking for any advantage we can find to improve our results. If you are standing in front of a once in a lifetime view, don’t you want to capture it with the best equipment. Clearly, the easiest way to improve your photos is to use a better lens. If you are spending the effort in learning to paint, the single easiest way to improve is to use better brushes, better paint, and better media. You can see it in any beginning watercolor class, hopefuls struggling with synthetic brushes, student grade paint and unsuitable paper – and with early failures, unfortunately, people give up. Sure upgrading always cost more, but calculate how much your time is worth, and consider how important your ideas are. Of course there is a time and a place for using scrap paper but if you are going to spend the time and energy to create, why hold yourself back. What’s worth doing is worth doing with the right tools. Of course good technique takes years of dedication but starting with inferior equipment makes it almost impossible to succeed. The best way to succeed in anything new is to first value your time and your ideas and start with the right tools and whatever you do, don’t be a porter.

– What do you think?


Not Just Cheese

According to The Economist World in Figures 2011, which country is in the top three for the following categories?

  1. Innovation Index (adoption of new tech, cooperation between business/Science)
  2. Technological Readiness (adoption of Communications and information tech)
  3. Lowest Brain Drain (talented people who leave home country)
  4. Business Environment (market/tax/labor, etc.)

The answer is Switzerland, what are they doing right besides cheese, banks, watches and new tunnels?