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When People Stop Getting Better

One way to break down a lifetime would be to think of it as two portions-- the part where the person became better, and the part where he coasted. 

In a normal person's life, the getting better part would include everything from his first breath of air, as he learned how to see and feel and breathe, through school as he learned different things, and probably through the beginning part of his job as he developed a baseline proficiency in his trade. The coasting part would be most of his career, as he put his educational investment to work, and, of course, retirement. 

There are a lot of ways to get better. You can learn new things. You can travel and see the world, thus gaining new perspective. You can build your personality. You can create a body of meaningful work. You can become more healthy and more fit. You can actively cultivate relationships with people.

Learn to Get Things Done

I have a group of friends that I have dinner with every Sunday. One of them owns a chocolate factory / cafe called Dandelion Chocolate, and another owns Three Babes Bakeshop (side note: best chocolate and pies ever, respectively). Once in a while the conversations swings to business, and the rest of us get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run a brick and mortar.

Last night they were talking about hiring more people, because both of their workloads have increased during the holiday season. The one skill they specifically sought: the ability to actually get things done.

People email me once in a while for advice, which I like to give if I haven't overloaded myself with other work. A good portion of those emails make it clear that the person has no idea how to just get things done. They ask questions whose answers would be immediately obvious upon any amount of independent investigation.

It's funny to me that in this age of computers, people have become computers themselves. Most are able to follow instructions, but as soon as anything even slightly out of the ordinary comes up, the person freezes and waits further instructions. And if there are no instructions, nothing happens at all.

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