Sept. 17, 2012
Minimalist Monday: It's an Investment, Not a Waste of Time
I overheard a conversation between a mother and her teenager in the waiting room of my dentist office that made me rethink the concept of "a waste of time."
The teenager was saying something we've all said: "WHY do I have to study algebra? I'll never use this!" (or maybe substitute "algebra" for another subject you didn't care for.)
I've certainly felt that way at times -- both in high school, and college and even law school (i.e. "WHY are they making me learn property law? I don't have any intention of being a real estate attorney!")
But something happened while I was eavesdropping. I realized there's no downside to learning. You never know when those experiences and lessons will come in handy.
For example, I worked the customer service desk at a large retail outlet when I was in high school and college. I dealt with all kinds of people, but mostly those who were angry and ready to take it out on me. I hated that job. I didn't think it would do anything for me other than pay my bills. Little did I know I would one day run a company -- my own company -- that's success is driven from it's impeccable customer service. Would I have known how to give good customer service to my customers had I not been once knee deep in it?
Or what about all those angry customers? I had to learn how to diffuse the situation. There have been a few times "fights" broke out on HH's Facebook page and I stepped in to sort of nip it. Each time this has happened, someone has always paid me a kind compliment about how I'm level-headed. I see now it was all those years in customer service that gave me the ability to do just that.
Then there were the seemingly pointless college electives like Speech & Debate. I had no desire to take that class but I'd heard it was an "easy A" and since it was open and fit nicely into my class schedule, I signed up. Little did I know ten years later I'd be speaking in public to crowds of 500 people.
and I could go on.
Call it fate. Call it the path. or just call it an investment.
If you take a few minutes to think about it, you'll find your own example. Something you thought you'd never use, but it came back and helped you.