Balancing the Equation 17 March, 2010

A philosophical introduction to embarking on a journey through B-School (my forward if you will):

What does it mean to be great? It could mean being the best at something, or being in the top nth percentile. It could have reference to being able to swiftly complete tasks in an area not well known to many. It could be physical, mental, or intellectual.

I've heard it over and over from executives and people who have had to give something of their selves to get where they are, that people at the top have either given up a lot to get there, or will have to give up a lot soon. Even Michael Porter, a highly influential professor from Harvard Business School teaches the idea that growth comes with trade-offs. There is a theoretical maximum amount of work that can be done by an entity. When this maximum is achieved, the only way to get more is to give up something else.

There has always been a thought in my mind that anyone can be great in whatever they want, as long as they are willing to accept the possibility of needing to give everything else up. But what if it is deeper than this. What if the sacrifice needed to attain something must be as great as what is being aimed for? I think that people are able to be great because they give up great things.

Everyone has infinite potential, and to the extent that you give up that infinite potential, you can accomplish anything. Social life, family, religion, wants, and emotions play into this and decide what that number one priority is.

What is the one thing that you value the most? What would you never give up? Is this the same as what your number one priority is? It it the same as what you are striving to be the best at?

I'll leave you to answer those questions. In the mean time, my interim priority is to learn about the business world. I don't have everything figured out yet, but for now an MBA is my means to being able to teach and make decisions and prepare for the unknown future. We'll see where it leads me.