Today, I experienced one of those moments that remind me how much my profession influences my life.
A middle-aged couple consulted me about a month-old baby they had just adopted, and only afterwards discovered had a heart defect. Fortunately, it was a simple condition that may not require surgery, so I reassured the anxious parents that there was little to worry about at the present time.
But then, as I was getting their back-story, a sad tale unfolded. They had 4 children of their own earlier, all boys – and 3 had died of other birth defects, with the last waiting on a liver transplant list!
As I listened to them share their stressful life experiences, I couldn’t help but marvel at how much courage, fortitude and faith this amazing couple was showing every day – and at how trivial my own problems seem in contrast.
Many things were disturbing my peace of mind this past week. After consulting with this family, all of them faded away. I’m left with nothing but a deep sense of gratitude for life, and all that it has given me.
What were you upset about before reading this post?
This was the tweet that set off the thought that caused this post.
Twitter – like life – has never been a ‘popularity contest’… regardless of how hard some folks have recently attempted to make it one. That’s why, when I tweeted this last night, so many picked up on it and retweeted the note:
Live like you’ll die tomorrow. Learn like you’ll live forever. Tweet like you’ve got a MILLION followers. I mean – RESPONSIBLY!
When the celebrity juggernaut descended in force upon Twitter, it crushed all existing limitations – and dogma. Almost overnight, the ‘old Twitterati’ who were proudly proclaiming their meteoric rise to 10,000 or 20,000 or maybe 30,000 followers were dwarfed beside the Ashton Kutchers and CNN Breaking News behemoths with their one MILLION plus follower counts!
All of a sudden, these have-been Twitter mega-stars are seeing the facade of big follower figures for the “Emperor’s New Clothers” that it has always been. And are making compelling arguments to justify its elimination from the Twitter interface itself.
Why, pray, did they not consider the ever so simple alternative? Ignore the meaningless number altogether!
When celebrities come to Twitter, they don’t start all over from scratch. No. They port their already massive following from across multiple channels to this one. And then, they add more fans from the existing Twitter user base of millions – some of whom will be fans who earlier had no way to connect with their heroes and stars.
That’s why ‘follower count’ is irrelevant. It has always been. Irrelevant to everyone ELSE. Irrelevant even to yourself!
Do you go through life obsessed by how many people are ‘following you’? Not unless you’re a celebrity. Or a paranoid delusional, but we won’t go there 🙂
So why should this be any different on Twitter? On Twitter, as in life, no one should have to care about how many others follow anyone – or you.
Then what is Twitter about?
Twitter is a movement. Twitter snuck up silently behind us. It took us by surprise. It revolutionized online networking and communication.
Who would have believed that a micro-blogging service with a 140-character limit would catch on to the point where Oprah, Sylvester ‘Rocky’ Stallone and Stephen R.Covey among others would consider voluntarily getting on the steep (if short) learning curve to Twitter mastery.
But they have. And with good reason.
What if Twitter decided to remove follower counts from its interface tomorrow? Will it change the way you use Twitter? Why?
It shouldn’t. Because the key to effectively engage on Twitter – and in life – is simple, straightforward and sweet…
Tweet for 2 followers as you would for 2 million. Responsibly. With compassion, care and concern for others. From a platform of authenticity, generosity and sharing.
Just as you would live your life – in an ideal world.
Twitter – like life – is not about numbers. Not followers. Not even money. (Heck, they don’t even have a publicly stated or understood profit model yet!)
If you live your life chasing a number – ANY number – you miss out on a lot of the variety and spice of living. Ditto for Twitter.
Immerse yourself into the experience, though, with a spirit of exploration, enjoyment and exchanging value, and you’ll understand how much more there is.
The most effective time management skill is one which can transform your level of success, skyrocket your productivity and turn you into a hyper-efficient worker. And there’s just one skill that fits the bill. It’s called delegating work you’re not excellent at doing.
Here’s a great time management tip. Find the areas you are indispensible – and spend more time on them.
Many people – professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other workers – have the same flawed way of thinking. They want to do it all by themselves. They are convinced in their minds that they can do it best, and that no one else can do it as well.
This makes them nervous about letting others handle it. That’s a silly way to run a professional practice, a business – or your life. Unless you are perfectly happy being a slave to your work. If you’re not, then it’s time to learn and practice the most effective time management skill.
Focus on your strengths, delegate your weaknesses.
Your success as an entrepreneur hinges on your ability to correctly define your areas of weakness – and surround yourself with others who are strong in these areas.
Let’s say you are a creative genius with excellent marketing skills – but you suck at math or accounting. Have a strong finance person manage your accounts and enjoy 2 big advantages:
you get top quality expertise in your weak zones
you get more time to concentrate on your strong spots
Of many skills and values you bring to the table – at work, at home, in your business, in your life, anywhere – there are some that are uniquely yours. No one else can match you. You simply are best at it – and others are not. Those are areas you should focus on.
But there are also many parts of your work that anyone (or at least someone) can do equally well, if not better than you. Those are areas where you must practice the most effective time management skill.
Identify these things. Then STOP doing them yourself. Delegate these tasks to others – leaving you with more time to focus on the critical parts you do best.
Do you think your business will grow faster this way?
Can you see your life getting better following this prescription?
Do you think you’ll have more spare time and less stress?
The key here is in defining what your areas of weakness are – and that isn’t always easy. The next thing is to identify competent people to fortify these chinks in your armor. But those can be learned and practiced once you believe that it’s the most effective time management skill that will multiply your impact and turbocharge your efficiency.
Delegating work to the person or resource best capable of handling it is one of the 3 tenets of the Time Management Tao system which is based on learning how to
Money, Money, Money It’s so funny In the rich man’s world – ABBA
As I drove to early morning surgery on Saturday, I had an interesting insight – about money. And drew an interesting parallel – with cars!
When you fill your tank with gas, do you do it because it makes you feel good? Or give you a sense of security?
Or is it because now you know you can drive your car to where you want to go?
Having money is like that. Money is energy. ‘Fuel’, if you like. It lets you do things, go places, experience stuff.
But money is just the means to an end.
In and of itself, having money means nothing. When I got back home, I asked my wife a question.
“What if I gave you a BILLION dollars – under one condition… that you CANNOT spend it at all, but must continue to live just the same way as you always have. Would simply having a billion dollars make you happier?”
Not surprisingly, she answered “No”.
So, when money is the means to an end, it becomes obvious that it is the END that matters most to those who have a lot of money.
Donald Trump says he prefers going to the office to taking a vacation – because what he does at work is more exciting, enjoyable and satisfying than anything else he’d rather be doing!
I happily devote hours to performing heart surgery and taking care of my little patients after their operations – even though I don’t get paid for doing it. And the time and effort invested into writing and selling books is only fulfilling because of what the money it brings in lets me do – fund these operations!
That’s why you hardly ever see folks with a lot of money ‘retire’ and just ‘relax on a beach’.
That’s a fantasy many have before they get an infusion of the energy called money. Once they get fueled up, they’re raring to go.
It’s why John Doerr continues to invest in new ventures, why Sabir Bhatia took his Hotmail millions and built new companies, why Biz Stone and Evan Williams didn’t rest content with Blogger.com and went on to create Twitter.
It’s why Seth Godin keeps churning out more best-selling books, why Guy Kawasaki continues to invest in new companies and encourage entrepreneurs, why Marc Andreesen built Ning.com after winning big with Netscape.
They all could have ‘retired’ and ‘relaxed’ after earning their fortunes.
But the money was only the means to an end.
Or many ends.
All of them exciting and fulfilling in far deeper ways than merely big bank balances can ever be.
I'm Dr.Mani, a pediatric heart surgeon and author. I raise funds to sponsor heart surgery for under-privileged children in India. On this blog, I'll share my thoughts, travel photos, fitness tips and book reviews.