Monday, 19 November 2012

Dont make it hard for yourself

You know what I find hilarious? It's the amount of people with outdated methods that are vehemently defending them to the detrement of anyone who might have found an easier way to do whatever it is that they do. Like for example all the coding purists of the Web development community who are so absolutely against anyone getting creative with code and stepping outside the web standards to make things work. Seems a bit silly to me as people's experimentation is what drives creativity and innovation forward. There are always going to be places in which standards and best practices are kept to, but come on now lets be honest we need those folks who don't want to follow the rules because it is those guys that will be opening doors. This seems to happen all over the place in every profession. You need to prove that you are a hard worker. If your not a hard worker then you cant possibly be a team player, and if your not a team player then you must be a selfish person, and if your a selfish person then you don't deserve the benefits that the hard working folk of the world generated in the first place, and so the spurious claims continue. The thing about any kind of traditionalism though, is that whether it be in work, study, or culture, is that it doesn't allow for much deviation from the plan. It doesn't actually allow anyone who may have found a better, more efficient, or just easier way to do something to adapt the tradition. This is why it is a problem. It's another one of those things that just slows the process of change down. But that is not really the point here, its is more about people actively road blocking the change makers and then bundling it up in a negative, like saying "you are lazy and this is the way it has to stay because its the right way".

I get it really I do, why would anyone work so hard to have some undeserving person jump on the bandwagon at the last minute and reap the benefits of all your work. It's infuriating to say the least, so obviously this kind of emotive response is going to lead to certain conclusions on the part of the hard working individual. So what does one do about such a thing? Do we stamp out all lazy and worthless individuals until there is nothing left but an army of obedient and productive people left to take on the worlds work and toil. The answer to that should be pretty obvious and it is most definitely a no. We are not machines and nor should we try and emulate them in any way shape or form. If anything we should take a lesson or two from the "lazy" people of the world. People seem to forget that this set up of if you work hard you will be rewarded was invented in the best interests of industry, which in turn was invented in the best interests of capitalism. Capitalism is just one giant self serving set of equations that aid monetary growth. It's not for your benefit and it never has been. It is for its own benefit and it has gotten out of hand. Your endlessly working hard does not actually help you at all. I mean it helps you to generate money for yourself and the company for which you work obviously but it also takes so much more from you then you realize at first glance. It takes away from you things like liberty autonomy and choice, and as we all know in most professions you are not even allowed your own genuine reaction to people or scenarios you must act as a "professional" at all times which in my mind is just a zombie. (Yes I am being pessimistic about this). Did you know that the amount of people taking time off work due to stress and anxiety related issues has risen to 58%. That is basically the majority, and it says a lot of the rising expectations of the employer. What it also says is that it isn't healthy, and continuing to try and meet impossible standards is the very thing pushing the bar up endlessly in the first place. You are indirectly, by trying to work as hard as you are asked just making your life more difficult.

Bill Gates our favorite innovator once said. "I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job because they will find an easy way to do it". He wasn't the only to have cottoned onto this notion as some of the biggest and most successful tech and design companies of the age have raised the productivity rates of their staff considerably, by actually lowering the expectation on the employee. For example Steven Sagmeister who runs an award winning design studio in New York, (check that out here ) closes it completely every seven years and gives all his staff a whole year off fully paid and free to do what they want in their lives. He goes into great detail about the benefits of time away from work and how interesting and engaged people actually become, and how produce better work,  (you can check that out here Another company to utilize this flexible working pattern is Google, who have a kind of get it done when your ready approach. There are many more like them too that make fun office spaces and day trips etc to try and get the best out of their people. Facebook, Apple, Sony, to name a few. So as you can see giving people freedom is paramount to their productivity.

The thing to remember is that most of the innovations that have come to pass since the industrial revolution have been in order to make things easier for us in our everyday lives. That was always the point, so why do we continue to punish people for their doing things the easy way. We are all being sold a bit of a lie here and probably should get a little bit angrier about seems to work for the Buddhist's, they never get angry. There's probably an answer in their somewhere maybe we shouldn't be getting angry about it all and just try to take the path of least resistance. All I am really suggesting here is that you change your perspective a little and point that blame finger in another direction. Your feeling bad about someone doing less work than you only really stems from your feeling cheated because you just realized you didn't have to work so hard in the first place. It sucks I know, but once you have to come to this realization then you are well and truly on the way to enlightenment. I remember this feeling very well in relation to my university coursework. For those of you out there who have done or are doing an arts related course then you will know that you are marked not really on the final outcome per se but the process in which you got there. Usually in the form of a sketchbook. I know I am not the only one out there who finds this to be a ridiculous concept. The build up to the final piece of work is what you are being judged on and I understand that there needs to be some point of reference but if you are trying to hone your skills as a painter what you want to do is paint not research other peoples paintings. The learning as often is with most things is in the doing, and the back up just feels like extra work for nothing. It is no coincidence that most students will tell you that they found it easier to work backwards from the final product in there sketchbooks and that is because they all know that they are only doing the sketchbook thing because they have to. Nobody wants to do work that they don't need to it just isn't natural. So the long and the short of it really is you should'nt stress yourself out by working your self to the bone, and you should'nt srtess other people out who choose not to. You should just learn how to be relaxed and soon enough and you will naturally become happier more productive and more innovative as a result. Which was actually the original aim of all the hard work. How ironic.

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