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10 Things Successful People Do When Things Go Wrong

10 Things Successful People Do When Things Go Wrong

It is easy to imagine that successful people have always had that magic touch, when everything they do turns to gold. The reality is that they too have screwed up and failed. This article will tell you how they cope when things go pear shaped. If they can get over failure, then so can you. Lots of useful life lessons here.

 1. They know how to adjust their goals

Successful people are not going to give up that easily. If X went wrong, it does not affect Y which is the hallmark of their success. They are adaptable, resilient, and determined to go on. That means having a plan B ready so that the phoenix will rise from the ashes.

 2. They are realistic optimists

They know that optimism is what counts and their glass is always half full. Research suggests that the realistic optimist is more likely to be successful.  In addition, they are grateful for what they have achieved and will concentrate on their successes.

 3. They learn from their failure

“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” – Dalai Lama

If successful people fail, it means that they were prepared to:

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  • move out of the safe comfort zone
  • take calculated risks
  • experience the joy of growing and fulfilment

When and if they fail, they are able to sit down and assess calmly what went wrong. There is a lesson from every failure and they know how/where to find it, accept it, and above all apply it to future projects.

Bill Gates’ first company called Traf-O-Data was a failure. He was able to adapt and try again with Microsoft and we all know how successful that is.

“Success is moving from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill.

It is interesting to note that Churchill was defeated in many elections until he finally became Prime Minister at the age of 62!

4. They know that failure is a prelude to success

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”- Michael Jordan

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Michael Jordan kept at it and made sure that he perfected his technique. You can do the same by assessing your skills set and see how they can be improved. Or maybe you need to spend more time on networking and building relationships. Is there a way you can take the initiative the next time?

5. They ask for advice

Many entrepreneurs were able to crawl out from the ruins of failure and start again. But some were wise enough to seek advice from friends or mentors. Obviously these have to be the kind of people you would trust your life with. They are also upbeat, confident, and can boost your morale.

Those who make it to the top also know how to get help from their networks and connections, when they want to start over after failure or setbacks.

6. They are persistent and courageous

“We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking post, and we’ll not fail.”- Lady Macbeth

Thomas Edison failed over 6,000 times when inventing the light bulb. The courage to go on is essential. All successful businessmen, inventors and politicians have one thing in common. They never quit.

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7.  They know that nothing is wasted

When asked about success and failure, Robert Kiyosaki, author of ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ said that successful people are always pushing their boundaries. They are the ones who know how to invest in what remains after failure, so that they are always growing.

8. They know when to slow down and take a break

Very often, entrepreneurs are slow to admit their failure and make things worse by trying to back pedal and recoup losses. The secret is to know when to let go if you have failed, sit back, slow down, and regroup.

9. They never blame

“When people are lame, they love to blame.” – Robert Kiyosaki.

When successful people fail, they know where to lay to blame – on themselves.

10. They never wait for the right moment

“Carpe diem (seize the moment).” – Horace

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The great successes of our time in inventions, research and in finance were all achieved because the entrepreneurs never thought for one moment that the ‘time was not right’. They went ahead and did it.

If you think that the difference between failure and success is just a matter of luck, think again!  As Betty Liu, the ‘In the Loop’ anchor has said, it has nothing to do with chance. She summed it up as: “Opportunity + Preparation = Luck”.

 

Featured photo credit: Do not fear failure/ Tomasz Stasiuk via flickr.com

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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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