Saturday, November 18, 2006

Success Books - Chuck Norris/"The Secret Power Within" Part 1

Is there a connection between Zen and personal success in today’s world? Chuck Norris’s intriguing book The Secret Power Within presents many such connections (disclaimer: I am neither a martial arts expert nor a Zen practitioner). Of course, Chuck Norris is an international film and TV star and equally famous martial arts superstar. But his rise from obscurity in Wilson, Oklahoma involved his ability to internalize many of the Zen principles in this book. As we pursue our goals in personal and business life, Norris’s principles might be worth considering. Here are a few:

Stay with the moment. How many times in a meeting, or even a casual business lunch do we miss crucial clues, remarks, hints, etc. that might change the nature of our response? Was a new competitor’s mentioned? Did we miss the new baby’s name? What about a magazine article or new restaurant? Frequently, the best ideas for a project will come up at the last moment. Like a martial artist...can we instantaneously adjust our entire plan, or will we unconsciously fall asleep just as the crucial idea is presented, rejecting it in favor of something we are already comfortable with?

See the world as it is. Can we block preconceptions? Can we see the world as a flow, and not through the tunnel-vision of our previous plans? A good example is the famous Bill Gates “Internet Tidal Wave” memo that “turned the battleship” of Microsoft in time to catch a good portion of that wave: or Andrew Grove’s abrupt shift from low-margin RAM to microprocessors. Think of the internal organizational inertia these men had to overcome!! Certainly there was a willingness to adjust: to weight the NOW more heavily than the past

Get out of your own way. The biggest obstacles to our progress may be within. Here’s an example: that intern down the hall may be your boss someday. Do you still see him as an intern? Will you miss important information because of his low status in the organization? Will a harsh word from you now destroy your career later because of the roadblocks you yourself have erected? Is your aloofness or elitism blocking vital input from subordinates, friends, or clients?

Slow Down to Speed up. How many individuals were on the fast track and flamed out because they moved too fast to keep good relationships with their co-workers? Or over-extended themselves financially? Or burned bridges that should have remained intact for life? How many Corporations grew too fast and refused to hire “adult supervision” to manage that growth? Or took on too many lines of business without a sober analysis of which ones were effective? A little Zen-like reflection might go a long way.

Part 2 of this review

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