Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Machiavelli’

Success Sunday (week in view): Preparation and Persistence

03/07/2010 Leave a comment

“How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I’m committed to?” asks Anthony Robbins, also affectionately known as Tony Robbins and considered a leader in self-help.  Billy Mays would be proud of this profiting self-improvement guru that is regularly featured on 30 minute infomercial style lectures selling the hope of success like it is a slap-chop.  Mr. Robbins has gained fame beyond his peers of cracker jacks and life coaches that preach to deaf ears.  I am reminded of my grandmother snoring with the home shopping network on in the background.  They lure in desperates with the sliced and diced carrots of money, success and stability.    Their multi-step plans and lists of tips have an overall common denominator: attain your desires with simplicity and ease. Simply and easily? Whoever heard of anything worth having being gained through simple and easy methods!  According to Danny Dreyer, famous as an expert in “chi running”, a specialized training program for distance runners, “Struggle is the food from which change is made.”  Deductive reasoning will lead us to assume the avid followers of these cereal box life solutions are not already successful.  We will root for them making the Wheaties box next year, but probably, they will just be taking down bowls of this stuff with no resulting change.

So how is success gained?  Mr. Robbins asked the right question.  What should a success searcher incorporate into their daily routine?  Preparation and persistence towards their individual goals.  Machiavelli recognized the value of preparation.  He wrote that a prince should always practice in action and in thought the art of war so he would be ready to handle it at the necessary time.  He wrote, “Therefore [the prince] ought never to lift his thought from the exercise of war, and in peace he should train more than in wartime.  This he may do in two ways: one is with his deeds, the other is with his mind.”  He went on to say about an example, “that because of these continuous cogitations there could never arise any accident when he was leading armies for which he did not have the remedy.”  Being ready and able is half the battle towards success, after all.  The other half of reaching success is the stamina it takes to prepare day in and day out for an achievement that is not yet within your grasp.  This week, my week will be about persistence.  I am in my second week of working out and launching my blog.  The hours and the struggle are wearing on me and the initial adrenaline is running out.  I know I must overcome this basic resistance and future challenges to be a success at these endeavors though.  Besides if I stop now, I will never get that cookie.

Note:  I am aware desperate is not a noun, but I believe in the malleability and creative evolution of the English language.

Advertisements

Growing: A Reflection on Self-Propelling Behavior

03/03/2010 2 comments

In pure and utter gratitude, I dedicate this blog to SwervePoint, my bosses, and the Programs team for all of the support, feedback, criticism, advice, assistance, praise, and general love that has fostered my happiness and growth as a young professional for an amazing, growing company.

I got promoted–officially!  According to urbandictionary.com, promotions are defined as “an increase in pay, title, and responsibility for an employee within a company that should be based on his hard work – but occasionally is based on nepotism, office politics, or sycophantic behavior while on the job. Example: No one seemed surprised by Joey’s promotion at work, as he is the boss’ son.”  So let’s see where my promotion came from?  Am I just another Michael Scott?  Well,  I cannot be enjoying the spoils of office politics.  My idea of office infantry tactics is generally retreat and build reinforcements.  The fallout left by office drama never seems to have a victor anyway.  And while sycophant does come from the Greek, συκοφάντης (sykophántēs), sycophantic personality traits have escaped my own personality and are not typically reflected in Greek culture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sycophancy).  Is it possible then that my mother had an illicit liaison with my much younger boss a couple of decades ago?  I wish so I could bring some sensationalist scandal to my blog and instantly increase my subscribers!

I have worked long and hard for this promotion. But growing is not about working harder or longer.  It is about working smarter.  Sadly, I know far too many young professionals, including myself, treading for hours in torrential waters, becoming weary of responsibilities and believing that survival through the storm is enough, whether the storm is the economy or a new huge project.  But growing, promotions, and careers–these things are brought to life by taking survival steps to the next level.  Thunder through major responsibilities by working efficiently and creatively, rather than wasting energy.  If you are wavering on this point, ask a much larger storm, ie. your boss, for constructive criticism on how to make waves instead of ripples.

Then embrace the opportunities you are given to let a little lightning illuminate how capable and accomplished you are lest someone’s cloud overshadow your surge.  There is a fine line between shameless self-promotion and self-propelling behavior, but it must be floated upon.  As Machiavelli said, “For, if everything be well considered, something will be found that will appear a virtue, but will lead to his ruin if adopted; and something else that will appear a vice, if adopted, will result in his security and well-being.”  So balance self-promotion with the virtue of humility by being gracious.  But be realistic–if your time and efforts deserve praise, if you are being a force of nature in the workplace, let others know the kind of impact you make.  After all, physics says a force of a nature requires a reaction, and hopefully a promotion!

I’ll leave you with the lyrics from Child in the Night and a quote from William Jennings Bryan, “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.”  Go forth and prosper!

Child in the Night, by none other than Ludacris

It’s gonna get in ya, child of the night
.. and the hood rolls on
How do I begin to, do this shit right
.. get my hustle on

[Ludacris]
Look here!
Now I’m a man of many talents and a man of my word
But on my path to see the light sometimes my vision gets blurred
It’s all a part of growin up and seein life at it’s worst
Then tryin to iron out my wrinkles, puttin family first
It seems like the whole world is out for sinkin my boat
But with God as my navigator I’ll be stayin afloat
And I admit to bein caught by many foolish distractions
Then I’m forced to pay the price as the result of my actions
I’m battlin with MYSELF and every DAY it’s a war
Curiosity killed the cat, why am I Curious George?
Gotta keep my nose up outta thangs that ain’t none of my biz
And just cause somethin looks don’t really mean that it is
Get through the agony and anger, the pain and strife
And take the necessary steps to try to change my life
I got some questions for you Lord cause my mentality’s hood
So why is everything that’s bad for me feel so good?

[Chorus]

[Ludacris]
Now I’m a only child, so excuse some of my selfish ways
I got spoiled when I was young, spoil myself today
Oh but I feed at least a thousand stomachs and how I’ve done it
is from the ground up a hundred miles and runnin
Dodgin and duckin everybody tryin to hammer me down
A self-made millionaire, baby look at me now
Can’t tell me nothin still hungry as the day I began
Cause all I ever really needed was a pen in my hand
And a, pad in my lap, didn’t matter in fact
Me and my momma lived in one room, and what’s badder than that
was a young man forced to grow up at the age of 12
Tryin to get in where I fit, streets givin me hell
But yet I give it right – back, so how you like – that
Continue doin wrong ’til I was on the right – track
Tell me ’bout heavy money I might give it a PUSH
But a, bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Come on

[Chorus]

[Ludacris]
No matter how much older we get man, we all still children at heart
We all make mistakes, it’s all good

Now I’ve tried plenty of times to get rid of my bad habits
Livin life on the cuttin edge, takin a stab at it
And learnin from my mistakes, try not to make ’em twice
Just admittin when I’m wrong, tryin hard to make it right
And baby, nobody’s perfect in this world of ours
There’s plenty people gettin stitches in this world of scars
But over time, pray to God that he can heal your wounds
Try to love and love again until they seal your tomb
Cause life is short if you don’t know this it’ll pass you by
That’s why my head is in the clouds tryin to pass the sky
Never blinkin for a minute, keep my eyes on my foes
They wanna catch me in the open, bring my life to a close
Meanwhile that’s why I’m bringin so much life to my shows
I’ve seen smiles I’m makin changes turnin glitter to gold
Don’t let these devils play you down or belittle your soul
Just be happy with yo’self and it’s so simple to grow
Come on

In pure and utter gratitude, I dedicate this blog to SwervePoint, my bosses, and the Programs team for all of the support, feedback, criticism, assistance, praise, and general love that has fostered my happiness and growth as a young professional for an amazing, growing company.

Google: The Prince of Search Engines?

02/24/2010 3 comments

“But the difficulties are in the new principality… men willingly change their lord if they believe they will be better off,” translated from Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince.  Machiavelli has long been revered as a business, strategy, and management genius centuries before his time.  Previously hated for what many judged as the advocating of ruthless tactics, it is interesting to see how this century has embraced many of his concepts.  Companies and individuals alike have recognized the value of his thoughts in the pursuit of market takeovers and economic success respectively.  As I delve into the first few chapters of Machiavelli, the book is beginning to read like a manual for Google’s struggle operating in China.

Last month, Google claimed, “Free expression and security are important issues for governments everywhere, and at Google we are obviously great believers in the value to society of unfettered access to information. We’re excited about continuing our work with governments, human rights organizations, and bloggers, to promote free expression and increased access to information in the years ahead.”  The statement reads like a perfect political platform to start winning over a nation with.  Falling in line with Machiavelli’s basic recommendations, the company has attempted to win over the populous so the search engine is welcomed into the market rather than resisted.

But the execs at Google need a refresh on their realist friend, Machiavelli.  The company went so far as to threaten to shut down all Google operations in the country if they were not granted the free expression takeover they insisted on.  With a backlash from China matching Google’s doggedness,  a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Google’s actions are ”harmful to China-U.S. relations.”  China’s opposition could have been predicted by Machiavelli.  The opening quote of this blog goes on to say, “[The same belief] makes them take up arms against [the prince].”  Google may have over-stepped and now the country is fighting back against Google’s bullying.

Google executives should be careful because Machiavelli was clear that taking over an area, while not living in the area, is bound to be met with challenges that may not be overcome.  Google should recognize the need to be on good terms with China so the company can make sure they continue operating in the country.   This will help to secure the market they are focused on because as Machiavelli wrote, “if the lord lives there he can lose it only with very great difficulty.”