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9 Things No One Told You About Difficult Times

9 Things No One Told You About Difficult Times

Who likes difficult times? I know I don’t. I don’t think you do either. But guess what? I am in love with difficult times. Obviously when they happen, they make you feel totally alone, worthless and even stupid. But after they have gone, and I reflect on the things that I’ve learned rather than the bad times, I feel I have gained a gold mine because these times reveal who I am, and they teach me many important life lessons. It’s how you react to those situations that shows your true identity.

Here’s what happens when you go through difficult times.

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1. You learn new things.

When you go through difficult times (those times that you hate), you are under pressure, worry, anxiety or all of the above. You learn how to manage them, you learn how to work under pressure, you learn how other people behave, you learn if you are the one who always gets help from people or the one from whom people run away, you learn to stretch your limits and know that you are capable of doing more than you think.

2. You learn to be proactive.

There comes a time when you have to take action even if you don’t want to. That’s why they’re called difficult times. And the more action you take, the more results you get. When you become proactive, you gain the advantage over others as 80% of people hate being proactive. It’s the remaining 20% — the proactive people — that bring the results.

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3. You really learn what responsibility means.

Being personally responsible for everything we do is a trait very few people have and if you want to get an extra advantage, grab this opportunity. When you are going through difficult times, accept your responsibility and start doing work. Don’t grudge over past mistakes or waste time complaining. Responsibility is accepting the task you were supposed to do and doing it without any complaints. When you make it a habit, things will begin to change and you’ll begin to see results quickly.

4. You become master at difficult things.

The person who is proactive and is willing to accept responsibilities will not be afraid of doing difficult things. He knows he’s learning so much and the only way to be great at something is to do difficult things first.

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5. You get support of other helpful people.

When people see you working hard, they genuinely want to help you as they know that you are a kind of person who will always help them. And also because they know that by helping you, they’ll be helping many people in the process through who you are connected.

People want to make some impact and when they see someone making it, they naturally feel inclined to help them.

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6. You earn the trust of your subordinates.

People are tired of office politics and mean co-workers. When you stop complaining and take personal responsibility for your task, your behavior is rare and you gain the trust of your subordinates. Everyone wants to be around the person who is genuine and helpful.

7. Your self-confidence increases in an amazing way.

Slowly, as things begin to change around you as a result of your behavior and you begin to see positive results, you become confident in your work.

8. Things don’t seem hard to you now.

We don’t need more skills, we only need more confidence. When you have the confidence in you to do the difficult things with the required support, things that seem hard to others are part of the routine for you as all the hard work and efforts have finally paid off.

9. You become fearless.

The only way to overcome fear is to take action. And you are by now fearless because you took action, you took responsibility and when the right people supported you, your confidence grew.

More by this author

Dhaval Gajera

Author and Speaker.

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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