22 November 2011

Check Your Assumptions - Success Secrets from I-Ching #25 无妄 Not Bizarre – Be Realistic

Most people have the common misunderstanding that entrepreneurs are big risks taker. That is completely false except for unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs are realistic people that try to minimize their risks. They check and test their assumptions for validity against the real world happening. They ask people. They conduct experiment and trials. Only when there are reasonable grounds for the assumptions, do they then go in fast and with strength.

A famous Chinese Classic Master says that it is not the lack of planning but the lack of activities before the planning that causes failures.

To be successful, we must be very down to earth and to keep track of the what is happening at the ground. This is the teaching of i-Ching Hexagram #25 无妄 Not Bizarre – Be Realistic and Follow the Principles. The details of the teaching is at #25 Not Bizarre (registration is needed). Here is the summary:

Summary of #25 无妄 Not Bizarre – Be Realistic and Follow the Principles:
  • We must follow the principles and seasons of working of Heaven and earth in our relationship with others and with nature. 
  • We must be watchful, practical and realistic. 
  • Breaking the principles will bring forth calamity. Don’t be fooled by short-term success. We will eventually have to pay back and in much greater amount. 
  • Even if misfortune happens, we should not move away from sticking to the basic principles.
The stage lines teach us additional wisdom:
  1. Get started by being realistic and practical. 
    Don’t be bizarre and be not building castle in the air.
    Follow the principles of life.
    • It does not mean that we can’t have high aspirations. It is just that we need to achieve our high aspirations with practical steps and in due time.
    • Stephen Covey wrote a book about "Principle Centered Leadership".  It shows how advance, practical and lasting are the teachings of i-Ching.
  2. No short cut. Consistent ‘Step by Step’ to success.
      Don't be discouraged by little progress. A journey of thousand mile is accumulation of many steps beside the initial step.  See Seven Easy Steps to Great Success According to LaoZi.
  3. Misfortunes beyond our control happen. Don’t be to quick to judge and blame. Stick to the foundational principles.
    There are many factors beyond your control. When bad things happen that you have no control over, don't be upset. They happen to everyone as well. In fact, it was worse for them. You may need not do anything at all but to just stay the course and stick to your principles. They will go away. Keep your attitude up and don't blame.
  4. Continue the good work. Don’t quit.
    The danger has passed, we just continue the course. We can see some success.
  5. Misfortune not caused by us will pass. Don’t over react. The strong foundation will bring you through.
    The bad thing happens again. But it goes away without any of your action. In fact, taking any action to correct it may create a bigger problem. Always stay observant, objective and be realistic in assessing and understanding the issue. Follow the statistical control system. E W Deming teaches us not to meddle with statistical events within the control limits. Any meddling will make the error greater! If you are unhappy with the large variance, then look into improving the system to reduces the variance, otherwise, stay put.
  6. Reach the plateau and don’t know what’s next. Don’t take bizarre action. Stick to the foundation that bring you the success and act wisely.

    Success is the greatest danger to watch out for. We may have forgotten what bring us here and venture into things that we know not just because we can afford now. Success should not make us blind to being realistic and down to earth to monitor the happening at the front line and the customers and markets.
Lim Liat copyrighted 22 Nov 2011

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