Saturday, December 10, 2005

Going Against the Grain

“Studies reveal that people in executive positions read two to four hours per day. So to be as productive as you need to be, you often act in ways that run counter to what society tells you is ‘productive activity.’”

This quote is from a Christian leadership book, written for those who want to make it to the top in business. But I think a key point can be extracted for all of us. If you want to do your best and be your best for the Lord, you may have to do some things that run counter to your culture’s values.

I recall being stunned when I first read that quote. I had always pictured people in executive positions having an even more frenzied work life than I had. I imagined them zipping from one high-powered meeting to another, on to a power lunch, then more meetings, and then racing off to catch a plane to start over the next day in another town. I had not pictured them taking half a day to read! For a blissful moment, I tried to imagine getting to read two to four hours per day during the day, instead of late at night when I’m too sleepy for more than a few pages. According to this leadership book, the intensive reading program was a key factor in every executive rising to the top.

What counter-cultural things might you need to do to be as productive as you want to be? Go to bed early instead of watching movies with your friends till 3 a.m.? Eat well balanced meals instead of the daily diet of artery-clogging burgers and fries? Instead of settling for doing less than your best, ask the Lord what you need to do to max out your performance. It might not be what you think, and others might not understand. That's okay. Let the Holy Spirit guide you. Instead of urging you to work more, harder, faster--he just might tell you to go curl up with a good book!

1 comment:

Camy Tang said...

Hi! I just found your blog thanks to Carrie Rivera. I work with my church youth group and write for 20 and 30somethings, so I think this blog is great.

I think I've heard this quote before. I think I once heard one secular success writer recommended one hour everyday of reading a book pertaining to your field of expertise.

I don't know if I do that, although I do admit to reading an article from my Writer's Digest when I have a free moment--they only take a few minutes. I keep my magazines in the bathroom, in the kitchen, one in the dining area--so I can utilize any free minutes to read.

I also try to read a "competitor's" book every week to keep up with the market and know what's being published.