Posts Tagged 'work ethic'

A Lesson in Leadership from Jerry Seinfeld

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I recently read a New York Times Magazine article that says that in the late 19th century there was a theory about how human beings improve in their activities. The theory said that a person “could improve at mental and physical activities until he hit a wall, which he cannot by any education or exertion overpass.” In other words, there’s a point for each of us where we can’t improve anymore.

Turns out that’s not altogether true. Current research, as the ...

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Don’t Ignore the “Small” Opportunities

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How many opportunities (including BIG ones) are you leaving on the table because you’re ignoring the small game?

I was just reading an interview with Paul McCartney’s bass player, Brian Ray (and what kind of pressure must that be—playing bass for one of the greatest rock bassists of all time?!). The interviewer asked the obvious question: “So, how did you get the McCartney gig?” I think Brian’s answer is a great business lesson for all of us. Here’s what he said:

“In ...

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What It Takes to Be a Champion

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Marathon match scoreboardJune 23rd, 2010 is a date that will go down in Wimbledon history. This is the date that two guys whom you’ve probably never heard of—Nicolas Mahut and John Isner—battled for ten straight hours in a match that had to be completed the following day because, well, because it got dark!

Ten straight hours! Even before it was completed the ...

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Stop Lying About “Going to Work”

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There’s a guy at my gym whom I call Burl. Not because he’s burly, like you’d expect a gym regular to be, but because he looks like Burl Ives. (For you younger readers, Burl Ives was a rotund, congenial-looking man, whom you may know as the voice of Frosty the Snowman. He was not known for his rock-hard abs.) Burl is there every morning, sitting on an exercise bike, watching TV. Not actually exercising, mind you. I’ve never seen him ...

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Are You Preparing for Success, or Just Waiting?

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Are you preparing for success, or, to paraphrase Shakespeare, waiting for success to be thrust upon you?

My first job in television was basically that of a glorified secretary (and by “glorified” I mean “unglorified”). My primary function was to answer viewer mail. At around 2:00pm on my first day, while I was answering the 50th inane request for the Chicken Kiev recipe that some local chef had made on our morning show the previous day, I recall thinking what a ...

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The Unseen Details Make the Difference

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How committed are you to the quality of your work?

If you go to the British Museum (and you really should, you know), you will see the Elgin Marbles. These are a collection of ancient Greek marble sculptures that used to grace the Parthenon. (And by the way, contrary to popular belief, the “g” in “Elgin” is pronounced like the “g” in “goat,” not “gin.” Mmmm, gin.) These are magnificent statues, but what’s really amazing is what you see when you ...

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Are You a Real Leader? Here’s One Test

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For fifteen years, I produced a sketch comedy TV show in Seattle, Washington. And for fifteen years, I was routinely asked the question, “What, exactly, does the producer actually do?” Many times, this question was asked by my mother. My stock answer was this:

“The producer is the person who apologizes the following day.”

As hilarious as this answer might be [How hilarious? On a scale from 1 to 10…about a 4], it’s only partially in jest. The producer is the person ...

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Are You Passionate About Your Work?

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Let’s see, what’s Paul McCartney been up to lately? Well…

  • He just kicked off a new European tour with an energetic three-hour show in Hamburg.
  • He just spoke to the European Parliament about climate change and healthy eating.
  • He just wrote a new song for the new Robert De Niro film.
  • He just announced that he’s been writing lots of new music, and will have a new CD out in 2010.
  • Oh, and he’s also planning a major U.S. tour for next year.

All of this, ...

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Are You In the “No” Business?

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There’s a little Italian restaurant near my home where I go when—well, when I want to eat Italian food. Duh. So I was there the other evening (because I wanted to eat Italian food), and the hostess was seating an elderly couple. I wasn’t really paying attention, but apparently they asked if they could be seated closer to the window. The hostess very nicely explained that that wasn’t possible, for some reason that I didn’t catch. But the owner, who ...

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Where Will You Be In 5 Years?

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“Where do you see yourself in five years?” That’s a pretty common job interview question. The answer, of course, is “Someplace better than the pathetic job I’m applying for right now.” I was talking about this question recently with a friend of mine who works in Human Resources, and she said that most applicants respond to this question with what she called “lofty, unrealistic goals.” She went on to say, “The truth is, five years really isn’t all that much ...

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