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Tim Ferriss Was Right, After All

Graphic by me. Balloon via and Woman With Juice via Freestockphotos.

It is hard to believe that you can actually work less and have more. But Tim Ferris was right, at least in concept. The "4-Hour Workweek" is an achievable ideal -- not a pipe dream.

Being calm, cool and collected frees your mind. It creates the space within which you create, innovate and learn. To achieve this state of mind, you have to "work" less.

(True creativity is a different kind of work -- it's the "zone" or the "flow" within which you achieve exponential gains.)

The free and sharp mind solves problems innately. Avoiding unnecessary work. Saving money.

Too often we look at busy people and think, "Wow, they must be so productive." But that is so not true. Crazy busy is a sign things are out of control, or that the person is unable to stop working - not healthy or balanced at all.

Other people make a living out of doing very little with the appearance of business. It is almost an art form to be typing away, shooing people off, looking very purposeful and yet having nothing to do and nowhere to go. It's actually an amazing skill.

Finally there are those who make no pretense of the matter. They simply don't do very much, they don't care who knows it, and they're glad to be left alone as much as possible.

The truth is we always need a balance of people to make the workplace hum. Some people do well at a busy pace, and that's fine. Others like to take it slow, and they're happy to do things that others don't have patience for. 

But we shouldn't mistake a mix of personalities for an acceptable level of drag. Unhelpful people, useless projects, initiatives that cost more than they benefit -- we should not be afraid to ruthlessly cut. 

Initially this approach feels painful. But in the end it benefits the person, the team and the whole organization.

* All opinions my own.

10 Things Your Employees Can't Tell You (But Wish You Would Figure Out Already)

Photo by Ianus via Flickr

1. You're overloading us without making priorities clear.

2. You're not holding the slackers on our team to account.

3. We can't get the approvals you insist on in a timely fashion.

4. You are inconsistent about rules.

5. We can't find you when we have questions.

6. Stop acting like a "friend" and start listening to our feedback.

7. We have no idea what's going on around here.

8. That thing that happened...what's the real story?

9. Everything's changing and I can't keep up. (Or you refuse to change anything.)

10. I'm giving this job my best, and you don't seem to notice.

* All opinions my own.

Sandra Bullock, 'Gravity' & America's Comeback

Revolutionary War - The Capture Of Yorktown. Lithograph by Turgis. 148-GW-565. Image via the National Archives.

In 'Gravity' Sandra Bullock plays a mother who lost her child "stupidly." And she walks around in a stupor of grief.

When we first see her in the movie she is battling a cold and her grief to complete a NASA mission with two colleagues.

Almost immediately "Houston" announces a problem - serious debris is headed their way, so bad it's knocked out "everybody's Facebook" on Earth. 

It shouldn't stop the mission. But of course it does. And Sandra Bullock isn't safe in her little cocoon anymore. Not the cocoon of her family. Not the cocoon of her ship.

There are many ways to look at this movie. At the end of it I was thinking of America.

We are looking at problems too numerous to mention. We do not want to think they will hit us like space debris, and knock out the life we currently know. In a serious way. The kind that will leave us gasping for oxygen -- dead or enslaved to poverty, disease, terrorists.

But those problems can hit us. And it will be worse if we hide from the possibility.

In the movie Bullock's problem is not the inability to survive. She has the tools.

The problem is lack of will. She is so grief-stricken she no longer wants to live.

It is only when she decides to fight back or die that she achieves her own kind of victory.

America can learn from Bullock's character in the movie. 

We can overcome all the troubles that we face.

But first we have to break the cocoon of denial.

Decide we won't accept less than abundant success.

And fight our way back to realize our true potential as a nation.

'Gravity' shows it is never a negative situation that defines us. Rather, we are successful when we face trouble directly and decide that we will fight to overcome it or die trying.

* All opinions my own.