Month: May 2014

Production/Production Capability

Stephen R. Covey utilizes an amazing fable to describe the definition of effectiveness.

In short, this is how it goes:

A farmer had a pet goose, and day after day he would pick up the eggs laid out by the goose. One day, however, the pet goose laid out a golden egg. The farmer got really excited, and from that day on the goose would lay out one golden egg per day. The farmer got rich, which lead him to greed and impatience. So one day he decided to kill the goose and get all the golden eggs at once. However, when he opened the goose there were no eggs in there. Now, he had no other way to get more golden eggs and he had just killed the only goose who was able to lay those out.

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The value of Production (golden egg) and Production Capability (goose/chicken).

The moral of the story is how having the capability to produce (pet goose) is more important than what is produced (golden egg).

And there comes the P/PC relationship – P being Production and PC being Production Capability.

Covey describes how there are three kinds of assets – physicalfinancial, and human.

Physical Asset

Let’s assume you purchase a vehicle. For the next years your car runs perfectly well and takes you from point A to point B with no problem. You decide that you won’t take it to the shop to maintain it on a regular basis because you don’t think that it is that important if the vehicle is doing the job. However2 years later the vehicle breaks down and now you have to purchase a new one. Had you only maintained it on a regular basis you would not have had this problem, and now you will have to spend much more money to buy a new one in comparison with the maintenance costs you would otherwise have had.

Keeping a balance between your P – the vehicle – and your PC – maintaining and preserving the vehicle – is essential for extracting the most value out of your physical assets.

Financial Asset

Let’s say you have some money in the bank – your P – and day after day you make money on top of it with the interest you receive – your PC. The more you spend your money, the less interest you will receive. And you will eventually reach a point where there will be no P nor PC if you don’t continually add more money into your account.

Human Asset

This is the most important asset, because it controls the physical and financial assets.

A basketball coach, for example, teaches his players that the only thing that matters is getting the points, and not how correct your fundamentals were in the process of making the basket. In the short term this might bring positive results and even lead the team to win some games against the weaker teams. But once they get deeper into the playoffs they will begin facing better teams which will challenge their ability to score baskets.

If the players do not have their fundamentals properly trained they will not be able to score baskets against a great team, and therefore, leading them to a loss.

The same goes to someone who just joined a gym. You might experience muscle gains in the beginning even if your trainer teaches you poor form, but once you begin lifting heavier weight, if your form isn’t correct, you will hurt yourself. Getting injured leads to time off, and time off leads to muscle loss.

There is the other side of the coin, as well. If your trainer spends all your time focusing on form (lifting lighter weights), and little time on increasing the weight, you will also not experience muscle gain.

Focusing on form is just as important as focusing on adding weight.

Focusing on form is just as important as focusing on adding weight.

With that, it is very important to keep a balance between P – weight – and PC – taking the time to learn proper form.


This is the first principle Stephen R. Covey teaches in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The habits taught throughout the book revolve around this basic principle. From being dependent, to independent, and finally to being interdependent, people need to keep a balance between their P and their PC if they are seeking long term results.

 

PA

 

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Nebraska (2013)


In this movie Alexander Payne (director) does a great job portraying the lives of most North Americans.

The main character, Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), gets a sweepstakes in the mail saying he had just won $1million and he had to go pick up his prize in Lincoln, Nebraska. He lives in Montana, and the movie revolves around his 860 mile journey with his son David (Will Forte), an electronics salesman, to Nebraska (and there comes the name of the movie).

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Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) in Nebraska.

As the film develops, Woody’s family keeps telling him how crazy he is and that he has won nothing. But his son decides to take him to Nebraska because he feels that his father should leave his home for a while, since his monotonous life had been taking the best of him for the past years.

On the way to Lincoln they stop at Woody’s home town where everyone greets him with joy after finding out he was the newest millionaire around. People begin bringing up past stories of how they had lent Woody money years ago and now it is only fair of him to pay them back. However, Bruce Dern does a great job portraying a confused man who seems to have had his life sucked out of him throughout the years. He never gets angry, nor happy. He just coasts through all these frustrating experiences, while his son stands up for him when people try to take advantage of his dad.

With a great soundtrack done by Mark Orton which fits perfectly well with the atmosphere of the film, the viewers keep expecting something great to happen. But nothing ever does. When we think that something is building up, the outcome is nothing short of a disappointment.

But isn’t that what life tend to be?

As we are constantly chasing “That Moment” which will revive our soul and make us thrive over everybody else, when we believe that success is just around the corner, when we believe in that Hollywoodian finale…

“That Moment” tends to always be just a quick rush. Nothing outside of norm.

As you might notice when watching the movie, the picture is in black and white. You should get that right after you press play. Alexander Payne does that with the intent of portraying the lifeless and monotonous spirit of Woody Grant. And as the film develops, of everyone else.

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Will Forte as David Grant (Left) and Bruce Dern as Woody Grant (Right)

Payne does a great job by throwing in small hints here and there of Woody’s qualities (always doing things for others without expecting anything in return), and his defects (cheating on his wife years ago). It seems like all these things go unnoticed by the characters, they don’t give much value to anything that is being disclosed. And Woody is indifferent about it, as well. He doesn’t seem to care all that much.

All of these things are so subtle that they also go unnoticed by the viewers.

In life society is constantly trying make us conform to the reality around us. We are in the constant battle of balancing our disappointments with our dreams. As humans we tend to believe in everything we are told, and often we end up hitting walls, just like Woody did.

And just like that child inside all of us has in the past.

We all have a little bit of Woody Grant in us, a far from perfect hopeful soul tirelessly striving towards “That Moment” which we all believe is just around the corner.

Although, some of us might experience “That Moment” in life (mostly during our teenage years), the vast majority of people won’t.

Nebraska is the perfect real life drama. Something we can actually relate to.

 

PA