I have been working a lot lately, but also rapidly studying historical eras. It is refreshing to realize that I do not have to do any one thing myself; in fact, is is ineffective. On our staff, I'm the most knowledgeable and effective historian, strategist, recruiter, trainer, marketer, and project manager. I'm also adequate-to-good in dozens of other roles, but I'm dispatching with almost all of them - and now, I'm starting to dispatch with project management (my first professional love) and marketing (my most recent professional love).
We have better legal, financial, sales, administration, management, and creative people than me. That's nice.
My time will be largely spent doing grand strategy, recruiting, training, and studying. I will mix in a little statistics and analysis, but this will be the bulk of my role going forwards. I do not need to laundry, I simply need to find someone competent to do it, and pay them well. There is something like a 1000x gap between successfully defining strategy with all the relevant contingencies, constructing completely workable models in identified big opportunities, and staffing those and training/compensating the staff well - and washing socks. The socks? I will not be doing that, because it would mean less time studying history, identifying opportunities, and finding/training/compensating very good people.
Thought of the day: Sparta and the Soviet Union both excelled at military arts by concentrating immense amounts of their society's total creative, intellectual, and productive output into military. This led them to be fierce warrior societies immediately after their rise, but with a gradual decline as they were out-paced by societies with a smaller military concentration and faster growth.
"Flex" societies that can gear up and gear down on war production can maintain a larger credible military presence with less resource drain. "War concentrated" societies show stronger than flex at first, but must win quickly or be defeated. Time is their enemy. Of course, pacifist societies are quickly conquered if they do not have allies, and thus do not enter the discussion.
Offered by a dumb college kid:
Keep your feet on the ground though while your head is up in the clouds.
It sounds like you are setting yourself up to be a grand strategist who just pulls the strings behind the scenes. Great place to be, really good for visionaries and big thinkers, very risky in the sense that you lose touch with the reality of the situation on the ground.
Sure, to do something that hasn't been done before, you do have to take leaps into nothingness. But if you don't ever look back from where you came from in your quest for fire, there might come a time when you have gone too far conceptually that not even the brightest treasure can show you a way back.
Worst comes to worst, you crash back down and start over with the bitter memories of a brillant but lost idea clouding your judgement as you try to piece your life back together. The standard advice is to stay just a little bit ahead of what your customers want conceptually and keep pulling them forward into the bright promised land you have found.
Stereotypical reference to Steve Jobs: the further he thought ahead, the harder he had to work at staying in the now. I'd argue that his perfectionism was necessary to keep him in now, and keep his LSD addled brain from floating away into the soft comfortable world of "This is a great idea, what if I did this, and then OH, what about that, it would be perfect, people would love it and me, this is such a good idea, it's perfect". It's easy to be a visionary, thinking ahead of your time, while realizing those dreams are exponential harder the further ahead you think. Tortured geniuses and what not.
I've been thinking about how you're a strategist. What does that entail? How do you go about getting into that area of study? How do you start learning about such a broad field?
My ideas for my life are fairly big and broad, making it difficult to know where to start. I know about the principles of kaizen, taking small steps that compound into something big, but there's still the question of which small steps (out of the 1000 possibilities) to start with. I'm hoping your experience with being a strategist might give me a few ideas.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Gay male (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"][/caption]
I was watching The Graham Norton Show on BBC1 Friday night and I noticed that guest Zac Efron was wearing a pair of bright rainbow colored socks. The next time I refreshed my Twitter feed (@justxjosh for those that don't already follow me) I was bombarded by tweets of "I love how Zac Efron promotes gay equality" and other such drivel and I was genuinely a little disheartened by how much people in support of gay equality find meaning in the most abstract of ways.
Is everything around us now a symbol for something? If Zac's technicolor sock choice automatically present him as a supporter of gay rights rather than a lover of quirky undergarments does that mean my love for watermelon makes me an advocate for Martin Luther King month? Has my favourite military style jacket now become a symbol for my supporting of our troops? Does the fact that I know all the words to Nicki Minaj's 'Super Bass' now mean I'm a passionate spokesperson for woman's equality, freedom of expression and the peoples right to wear wigs?
No, no and no. Can we all just take a second to breathe and remind ourselves that sometimes a pair of socks is nothing more than a pair of socks, a watermelon is just a delicious way to get one of your five a day, a military jacket is just fashionable and that Nicki Minaj is just fierce. Not everything we say, do or wear is fraught with hidden meaning and symbolism. Our lives are not discarded plots in a Dan Brown novel. Just chill out and enjoy them for what they are.