A LITTLE PERISTENCE PLUS A PLAN: Overcoming Your Weaknesses and Inadequacies

Written by William Pauwels on April 14, 2015

Most people know the talent, ability and strength – that has enabled them to achieve their present level of accomplishment.  Similarly, most people know their inadequacies, inabilities and weaknesses – that have prevented them from going further.  Most people know what they know – and know what they don’t know.  Most even know what they need to know in order to progress.  Yet for many reasons, the majority fail to address these shortcomings and solutions.
Why is that the case?  There are, perhaps, many reasons, but I think the majority fall under the umbrella of busyness – good and bad busyness.  They simply do not have the time or energy after all of their daily busyness to do what they need to do to progress in their life – in their career.
So what’s the solution to this reality?
To defeat the knowledge problem, one should consider reading material that will overcome that deficiency.  As a graduate electrical engineer, I advanced over the years more and more into management intensive positions of responsibility – that exposed my lack of professional business knowledge, i.e., accounting, finance, human resources, manufacturing, business law, etc.  It became clear to me that these deficiencies would hinder my progress and well-being.  Furthermore, I had difficulty focusing on many of these subjects for any length of time due to the busyness of my then current responsibilities. 
So what was my solution?  I decided to get up an hour early each morning before the busyness of the day overwhelmed me – and to devote 10 minutes of reading to six different business subjects – basic books in the areas of my deficiencies.  Short exposures to subjects like accounting, early in the morning, enabled me to focus and learn.  Six subject at a time overcame the boredom associated with many of these subjects (for my engineering oriented mind).  I did this reliably for over 10 years and mastered the fine art of professional business management: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, implementing, motivating, controlling, innovating, etc.
In addition, I made good use of listening time while commuting, jogging, dressing, etc. – by listening to educational tapes on various business subjects from the Tape Rental Library.  Over 30 years,  I learned more from recorded courses than I even learned in college.
So what’s my point?  You too can overcome many of your career deficiencies by prioritizing their solution – by devoting prime time (early morning?) to educational self-development.  10 minutes a day will finish most books in 40 to 50 days.  That’s at least six books a year with the investment of only 10 minutes a day.  And if you’re impatient, as I was, that amounts to 36 books a year.
What’s really neat about this approach is that it works if you prioritize properly and get ahead of the busyness and distractions of each day.  And you will feel so much better about yourself as you address and overcome what you once felt were your deficiencies and limitations.  Each year, you will be able to look back and recognize how you have grown via this simple investment of time and energy.
As a wise man once said: “Press on.  Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb!  Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”


William Pauwels
William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.