Get Back On The Horse

I was staying late for a regional call with Asia and before I left the office I walked around the floor to see who else is there at this hour. I saw one of my colleagues on another team who was just promoted to VP. I walked into his office and said, what’s going on? 

And then I noticed a book on his desk The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw (the collection of mini-bios from the generation of WWII), and I asked him, do you enjoy reading bios?

He said, “yes, I’m just starting this one, but my latest read and my all time favorite was Winston Churchill’s biography”, his eyes lightened up, “and actually I still remember very clearly the 5 things about him and his life.”

I was intrigued, and he started writing on the whiteboard hanging next to the wall. 

  1. Aim high (you know what this means)
  2. No substitute for hard working (you know what this means but focus on whether you are doing it)
  3. Get back on the horse (meaning no matter how many times you fail or fall off the horse, you stand up, be strong, and get back on the horse)
  4. Never be revengeful (Don’t spend even a second on thinking how to get back to those who may have hurt you or sabotaged you, this is politics, but you have more important things to focus on)
  5. Help others (again, probably easier said than done)

And then I asked a critical question which landed my writing here today. I asked, if you are to rank the importance of these 5 things which one will come on top?

He said: the author suggested the third one. And I agree. It’s the hardest thing to do, but it’s the most important one, for sure.

Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940-1945, he lost the 1945 election and spent the next 7 years writing books on his experience of wars and thoughts on politics, and became the Prime Minister again in 1951. This reminds me of Deng Xiaoping, who is probably the most influencing politician in the recent history of China with his “opening up” policy and “economic reform” initiatives. Again what is remarkable about Xiaoping is his very-famous “three ups and three downs”.

I couldn’t stop but wonder: why can they do it, and how can they do it?

And then I realized in order to be someone that strong you have to 1) be really passionate about what you do, 2) and have unparallel faith in what you are good at.

PASSION is an over-used term these days. You get a decent job, you make some money, you work some long hours, then you walk around and tell other people you are so passionate. I would just laugh it off. It’s far from the case if you really think about the motivation of what people are doing what they are doing, because aside form passion, fear and money will come up too.

FAITH is over-rated these days as well because you need to have capabilities backing up your faith. I see no reason why you should have faith in yourself walking to this direction while knowing it is a dead-end to start with. Many smart, capable and hard-working people failed to achieve what they want to achieve not because they don’t have a passion for what they do, but because they don’t see the difference between what their passion is, and what they are really good at.

Get back on the horse. It is hard but it CAN BE DONE. And it will be a lot easier if you are aiming FOR THE SAME THING when you align your passion and what you are really good at.

And finally, have courage, because you might fall off again.

  1. February 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

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