Let me start with Bloomberg news on the US-China trade war. They make it sound like the world is changing, because of Trump and his agenda.
Here it is from my perspective:
The total amount of goods that China sells into the US economy is about $557.9 billion with US exports at about $179.3 billion. That is less than 3% of US annual GDP, the imports, exports less than 1%.
Now, is this worthy of headline news? It’s a meaningless distraction, like a mosquito biting somebody in Alabama. No impact on the economy whatsoever.
On a more serious note, I am convinced that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. It takes discomfort to grow and here is one way to look at it.
Turn the Audi’s four ring symbol by 90 degrees in your mind, and I credit Bill Eckstrom with this idea. The lowest ring represent stagnation – many rules, steps, permissions and politics. It stifles creativity and action and it happens way too many times.
The top one is chaos – defined as having zero predictability or control over inputs and outcomes.
The second one from the bottom is order, and it feels good, like the sleepers beside your bed, it is knowing that what you do leads to a predictable outcome. But science shows that every time you think of something and do it the same way – you stop growing.
The third one up is most interesting - complexity, which is nothing more than a changed order. But when your order is changed, outcomes are no longer predictable. It doesn’t feel nice, but it’s the only environment where sustained growth can occur.
In 1942 Albert Einstein was teaching at the Oxford University, and one day he gave an exam to his senior physics students, and then he was walking through the campus with his assistant and she said “Dr. Einstein, the exam you just gave, weren’t the questions exactly the same like a year ago to the same class? How can you possibly do that?”
“Well,” said Einstein, “the answers have changed.”
And this is even more true today, the questions didn’t change, but the answers have.
If you want to have results that you never had before, you have to start doing things you’ve never done before.
When it comes to high performance the majority is always wrong, but how you can use that to get everything you can out of everything you’ve got?
Looking at data, approximately 3% of people are even inclined to do different things.
Perhaps the question we need to ask ourselves is this - “what is the purpose of thinking?”
If you ask the question to a brain scientist, she will tell you that the purpose of thinking is to stop thinking. We’re all creatures of habit, most of us don’t like to think, which is a scary thought.
Bottom line is this - if you feel like you’re wasting your life potential – you are, and it takes a lot of courage to grow up and become who you really are.
It takes a life journey, and it’s both – the best of times and the worst of times, as Charles Dickens put it in the “Tale of two cities”. And I know exactly what he meant.
Let’s come down to earth.
I was in Schaffhausen for the weekend, by the beautiful waterfalls, trying to park and the sign said “first 15 minutes free, conditions apply”.
“What are the conditions?” I asked the lady in the uniform.
“You have to pay.”
Let’s face it – it’s a beautiful life, the earth moves nicely and since this time yesterday, you’ve been all around the world. And that you didn’t need to pay for.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler