Jon M. Huntsman is founder and chairman of Huntsman Corporation. His foundation supports the Huntsman Cancer Institute. His book Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times is structured around old-school aphorisms (“Play by the Rules”; “Check Your Moral Compass”) from which Huntsman draws an informal moral code.
Winners Never Cheat is Huntsman’s explanation of the principles at the heart of his business success. They include:
Compete fiercely and fairly — but no cutting in line
Set the example — risk, responsibility, reliability
Revenge is unproductive: Learn to move on
Operate businesses and organizations as if they are family-owned.
Huntsman also stresses, among other principles, the importance of surrounding oneself with associates who listen to their conscience and act accordingly; of treating customers, colleagues, employees and competitors with respect; and of returning favors and good fortune by helping out those less fortunate.
There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business — or life. There are, basically, three kinds of people: the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.
Apparently, ballpoint pens don’t work in space because of the lack of gravity. It is said that NASA, troubled by this realization, spent many millions of dollars designing a ‘space pen’ that could function in the absence of gravity. The Russians used a pencil.
Whether or not this story is true, it raises interesting questions about how technology is used in modern society. Are we, like NASA, complicating life and wasting money on superfluous technology?
To what extent could we, like the Russians, find much ‘simpler’ solutions to the problems we face?
What role should technology play in living the simple life? In the 21st century, are there times when our lives could be improved by using less technology, not more? Or by using technology smarter?
My love/hate with technology is around communications. I love my computer/internet connection and have acquiesced to having a mobile phone, but the trick is not feeling like you have to be available 24 hours a day to people. They’re just tools, not the master you’re enslaved to.
To be sure, there is no ‘rule’ to follow, as such, that can tell us when technology is appropriate and when it is not. There is much, much more to say on the question of technology in future posts. But for now I will close this post with following comment:
The simple life is not just beautiful, it’s necessary. Technology can play an integral role to simplify our lives.
Life is about choices. Making the choice to live life in a simpler way is something that is becoming a necessity.
In case you haven’t read it before, you can read ithere. One most important lesson I have learned from it is:
Question your assumptions – The lady in the poem simply assumed that the cookies were hers and that the “cookie thief” was rudely taking them from her.
After reading the poem, I could totally relate to the many times in which I have hastily and mistakenly passed judgment of a situation or of a person. I think many of us are guilty of this. We make assumptions and judgments without having all the facts.
We like to think we know everything and we like to know that we are always right. This is who we are, this is what we all do. This is one of the reasons that many of us get stuck and can’t really grow. We need to keep an open mind and be aware that what we know might not be the truth and what we know is very little and that as long as we will live, we will be ignorant.
Begin challenging your own assumptions.
Your assumptions are your windows on the world.
Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.
~ Alan Alda
I want to share with you this beautiful poem of Valerie Cox called The Cookie Thief and I really hope we will all learn something from it.
The Cookie Thief
“A woman was waiting at an airport one night, With several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops. Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop. She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be. Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene. So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, As the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, Thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.” With each cookie she took, he took one too, When only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, He took the last cookie and broke it in half. He offered her half, as he ate the other, She snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, Why he didn’t even show any gratitude! She had never known when she had been so galled, And sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate. She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, Then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, There was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes. If mine are here, she moaned in despair, The others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologize, she realized with grief, That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.” You just don’t know what you don’t know, you know?
How many times did it happen to you to know something for sure and to believe that what you knew was the truth, the only truth, the supreme truth and later on to realize how wrong you were?
Penned by Chinese poet Yang Wanli in the 12th century, the poem, translated by Jonathan Chaves, is a renunciation of books as a distraction from the core Buddhist virtue of mindful presence:
Don’t read books!
Don’t chant poems!
When you read books your eyeballs wither away
leaving the bare sockets.
When you chant poems your heart leaks out slowly
with each word.
People say reading books is enjoyable.
People say chanting poems is fun.
But if your lips constantly make a sound
like an insect chirping in autumn,
you will only turn into a haggard old man.
And even if you don’t turn into a haggard old man,
it’s annoying for others to have to hear you.
It’s so much better
to close your eyes, sit in your study,
lower the curtains, sweep the floor,
It’s beautiful to listen to the wind,
listen to the rain,
take a walk when you feel energetic,
and when you’re tired go to sleep.
In my opinion, the poet is suggesting that context is important-at that time books would have a certain contemporary equivalent to TV or movies or video games.
Therefore when studying, study; when thinking, think; when being confused, be confused; when concentrating, concentrate; but don’t ever take book knowledge to be something other than what it is. Don’t confuse knowledge for experience.
“Money is not everything but it ranks right up there with oxygen.” ― Zig Ziglar
Is money really all that important? To some people money is the ultimate measure of success, to others it’s little more than abstract numbers in a bank account.
How important is money in your life? Would you put your entire life on hold for three years to launch a start-up if it meant you had a good chance of ending up a millionaire? Would you live on a lower salary in order to have more time with your family? I know people who have done both.
Once a student asked Bill Gates for advice on how she could become rich like him? Gates replied with:
“I can understand wanting to have millions of dollars, there’s a certain freedom, meaningful freedom, that comes with that. But once you get much beyond that, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger. Dick’s has not raised their prices enough,” he said, referring to the Seattle-area fast-food chain. “But being ambitious is good. You just have to pick what you enjoy doing.”
What would you do and how do you define success for yourself?
Developing an awareness of what you believe about money and its influence on your self-esteem and life experience.
When you set financial goals, they need to be consistent with your non-monetary life goals. If the two are not compatible, then you will be in a constant state of internal struggle and frustration. Remember, money is the enabler to help you to achieve your life goals, not vice versa.