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Monday, April 25, 2022

32. Duration

The Lines

Bottom. [6] The works of man that endure do not come about quickly. Rather, they require much planning, a foundation that is constructed carefully, and a structure that is built laboriously over a long period of time. If a man wishes to build something overnight with the expectation that it will endure through the ages, he asks for a result that is contrary to the nature of things. Things that endure have longevity and solidity as characteristics of their every element, and those characteristics are not created instantaneously. They take time to become established and to grow.
2. [9] When a man's ability exceeds the material resources available to him, he naturally hesitates to begin something for fear that he cannot carry through on it because the supply of necessary materials will not endure. But if he can control his efforts and limit himself to the employment of what is readily at hand, there will be no problem. Just because he is capable of more does not mean he must do more.
3. [9] When a man's character is affected by forces in the outer world, when his attitude varies depending on the responses he receives from outside, he loses his ability to endure and to conduct himself with stability. This, in turn, creates constant distress, and he can never be sure from what quarter the distress will arise. This is the consequence of his lacking a reliable view of what he is about, a solid center that will allow him to act according to his goals and objectives. This lack of consistency will result in an endless stream of humiliating blunders.
4. [9] Persistent effort alone is not enough. To be successful, any effort must be directed intelligently in ways that are likely to accomplish the goal. Misdirected effort, no matter how much energy is expended, will accomplish little or nothing. An important part of any endeavor is an efficient and well-focused employment of energy. Men too often prefer to expend physical effort without applying their minds to the best way to arrive at the end. Thought should precede action, and certainty about means should precede the employment of any means.
5. [6] A subordinate should always follow the instructions of his leader or supervisor, but a leader must examine carefully the aims and purposes that are relative to any endeavor and let that be a guide to the direction in which he leads others. A leader cannot follow the directions of someone else, much less can he look to his followers for the path they want or expect him to take. It is no error for the subordinate to follow directions. But for a leader to be unable to discern what is the proper direction he should take and to look to others in order to know the steps that must be taken, is a disgrace. If he does that consistently, he is no leader. The subordinate expects to be told what to do and how to do it. It is not his job to do original thinking and discover new ways of doing things. But original thinking and discovering new ways of doing things is definitely the responsibility of a leader. To do that he must remain open-minded and willing to experiment with new and original ideas for accomplishing the work that he has set out to do.
Top. [6] A man who is in a constant state of turmoil, who is never certain about what he is doing, and always jumping from one project to another, or leaving one task undone to work on something different, will bring misfortune to whatever he attempts. Putting out fires is not good management of affairs. Stepping aside, quietly reflecting on overall objectives and carefully examining the way things are handled is a far superior way of accomplishing great tasks. But running around and fixing first this problem and then that one as they arise is a method that never settles into an enduring method of managing things. Such constant activity actually prevents a studied way of management. It takes the place of an enduring procedure for accomplishing tasks, keeps everyone and everything in a constant state of uncertainty, and inevitably brings misfortune
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