According to Dilbert creator Scott Adams, the answers are “yes” and “yes.” You can read the full article in today’s Wall Street Journal – just click here.
In this remarkable article, Scott Adams reveals some down-to-earth realistic business advice that’s refreshingly different from the typical “think big” cookie cutter business book.
Instead of goals, Adams says, you need systems. Adams learned this idea from a CEO he met on a westbound airplane trip. The CEO advised, “When you get a job it’s time to start looking for the next.”
In other words, it’s a system. Instead of celebrating your arrival, or lamenting your decision to take a job that’s going nowhere, you just scan the horizon to see what’s next.
Jobs don’t appear when you’re looking for them, Adams says. It’s best to have your radar set to “scan continuously. ” Additionally, this advice helps you answer the question, “After I get this job now what?”
This advice reinforces another Adams warning: “Beware of advice from successful people and their methods,” Knowing that Thomas Edison took naps won’t help if you’re starting a dry cleaning empire, he says.
These pieces of advice reinforce each other. For instance, I once heard a famous marketing guru respond to a request for advice on “getting started as a coach.” She responded by saying something like, “Well, I invited my women friends over to my apartment in the city. At the time I was into a form of wellness coaching. From those meetings came group coaching and then my empire.’
At the time I had just moved to a new city, where I shared a crowded home with two very furry cats and one very furry dog. Hosting a party would be challenging enough. A business meeting of prospective clients – mostly strangers – would be drowned out by itching, sneezing, and cries of “No! Don’t do that!!” Anyway, my clients were (and are) busy men and women who prefer to do business remotely.
The real takeaway from any “Here’s what I did” story isn’t the method, but rather the notion of having a system. You pretty much have to come up with your own, by trial and error. One coaching consultant used to advocate breakfast meetings in your home with local opinion leaders (a bad idea if your kitchen is small and your toaster tends to set off the fire alarm). Another is finding a market that’s desperate for solutions and writing ebooks for them.
Having a system, says Adams, is more important than passion or goals. “But being system-oriented,” says Adams, “I felt myself growing more capable every day, no matter the fate of the project that I happened to be working on. An every day I woke up with the same thought …. ‘Today’s the day!'”
Passion? When you’re successful, you’ll feel passion. When you’re heading down a dead-end path, your passion drains away with frustration.
And perhaps the most inspiring message of all:
“The universe has plenty of luck to go around; you just need to keep your hand raised until it’s your turn. It helps to see failure as a road and not a wall.”
This article, published in today’s WSJ, comes from Adams’s new book: How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big.
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