Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

It's a new year and the old you wants to become a new you.

Or, perhaps, the you that you believe you are, as opposed to the one that you've demonstrated to the world so far.

In order to propel you in the right direction, I thought I'd offer five simple sets of words.

They were all uttered by people I've encountered over the last few years and somehow these words have stayed with me.

None was uttered by Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Tony Robbins or any other celebrity.

May they move you as they've moved me.

1. Don't Retire Too Late.

Said to me, after several glasses of very friendly Grenache, by someone even richer than all the desserts you've had in the last 10 days. He stayed in his astoundingly high-powered job for two more years, because he couldn't quite let go. He has even more money now. He also has so many regrets about the two years he missed, because he knows what he would have done with them. You see, once he retired serious illness soon struck. It took more than a year for him to beat it.

2. Admit To Yourself When You've Chosen The Wrong Career.

Here was someone who'd succeeded in her career. She spent more than 20 years grinding her way to the (alleged) top. "I could never allow myself to accept that I really didn't like what I was doing," she told me. "It was like being in a bad relationship, where you tell yourself you've invested so much that you have to make it work." Oh, she made it work. Most people think she was a success, but she wishes she had the chance to do it all over again. And do something else.

3. Don't Work on Sundays.

A successful tech type in his early 30's told me: "I know we're supposed to be always-on, but if you do that, you'll always be subject to someone else's system." His solution is to not work on Sundays. Not for religious reasons, but just to rest his mind. If, for some reason, there's an essential work happening on a Sunday, someone else has to deal with it. "Hey, it works for Chick-fil-A," he says.

4. No Single Day Is The End Of The World.

This was told to me by someone who'd made money in two different businesses and endured four failures, a couple quite spectacular. "If one day can really define you, it means the thousands of others are meaningless," he told me. "Now that can't be right, can it?"

5. It's a Lot More Fun Pleasing Customers Than Just Making Money.

This was told to me by someone who started on Wall Street and made money from money -- and then helped build a company that provided a simple product, but one that was truly appreciated by a very niche audience. He admitted he made more money on Wall Street. He admitted, too, that emails from happy customers moved him in a way that money never could.

Published on: Jan 2, 2019
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