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I Have a Secret


I am extraordinarily persistent. There is a phrase "like a dog with a bone"; that's me. I have a difficult time stopping an activity once I start. This personality trait has been both a blessing and a curse. My family used to get frustrated while working with me because I never quit until the end of a project. That may sound like a positive attribute, but it can be frustrating if you have already worked for many hours. They now understand that I don't mind if they need to stop as long as they realize I probably won't. There are many times I have no choice, but if I do, I will continue. You may be wondering why I am telling you this secret. There is a method to my madness.

When appropriately applied, persistence can make you very productive. Over the years, I have developed an instinct for spotting projects where my persistence may pay off. At the same time, I steer clear of projects that will, for lack of a better description, drive me crazy. Warren Buffet, the famous Billionaire, discusses a 20-slot rule when giving interviews or speeches. The principle assumes you have a punch card with 20 punches or slots. Each time you invest, you use one of the twenty slots. Once you have punched all the holes on the card, you can no longer make any investments. The idea is that you will consider each investment carefully, then invest as much as possible once you have made a choice. Warren Buffet is often called the Oracle of Omaha; this principle helps explain why.

The 20-slot rule is not just about money. We can improve our productivity by applying this rule to time as well. Our productivity will increase if we spend time on critical tasks and delegate or relegate others. This technique should be equally effective at work or home. Going all in, or giving it our all, impacts time and investing.

Albert Einstein once said, "It's not that I'm so smart; it's just that I stay with problems longer." Since he altered our perception of physics, I would say smart has something to do with it. Einstein was known to be very persistent, but he was also open to new ideas. This flexibility undoubtedly aided him in selecting which projects to pursue.

Choosing a task wisely and committing resources to the project is crucial to its success. Staying with a project until the very end assures its completion. Choosing proper projects, allotting resources, and persistence are all essential for success. If we are obsessed with any part of the process, we may doom the project to failure. Isn't it sad that we have to age to gain experience?

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