The meat and the bones

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - FRANCIS J. KONG

Do not sweat the small stuff, for ev­ery­thing is com­pleted by small stuff.

This has be­come the ti­tle of a very pop­u­lar book a few years back. It be­came a main­stay in the best­selling list for a long time. I bought one and I en­joyed it.

To­day, I re­al­ize that read­ing a book pro­vides food for the brains. But just like any kind of food, there are both healthy and un­healthy food for the of­fer­ing. There is a cor­re­la­tion be­tween read­ing books and eat­ing fish. Cooked fish is food for the body. Here is what I mean: watch­ing a movie, lis­ten­ing to a speaker, at­tend­ing sem­i­nars, and read­ing a book should be like eat­ing fish. We swal­low the meat but throw away the bones.

Not ev­ery point, opin­ion, thought, or even les­son pre­sented by the au­thor should be fol­lowed.

Per­haps, ab­sorb­ing ev­ery­thing was the norm and it worked in the past when knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion was not read­ily avail­able. Any kind of printed word was per­ceived as true. Ev­ery word ex­pressed by a per­son hold­ing a mi­cro­phone is pre­sumed trust­wor­thy. This is how cults are formed. Ev­ery­thing pre­sented by a talk­ing head or a pretty face in tele­vi­sion projects an il­lu­sion that the per­son­al­ity is cred­i­ble and that the pre­sen­ters are sub­ject mat­ter ex­perts.

I was given a reg­u­lar seg­ment in a pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion morn­ing show that lasted for al­most a year, and the pro­duc­ers per­sist in cast­ing me as a “Fi­nan­cial Ex­pert.” I re­quested to have the ti­tle changed to “En­tre­pre­neur” or “Busi­ness Con­sul­tant”, and in fair­ness to these hard­work­ing peo­ple in me­dia, they did. But the ti­tle per­sisted and the “per­ceived expertise” stuck with me for a long time. To­day, I still see some per­son­al­i­ties us­ing me­dia to project their lines of expertise. Know­ing them all these years, I know they are not. But that is the power of me­dia.

To­day, so­cial me­dia and other dig­i­tal plat­forms have ex­panded and am­pli­fied what is called “mind­less crowd or group-think­ing” wherein the vol­ume of the sound of these ex­pres­sions are deemed more im­por­tant than the qual­ity of the voice of their con­tent. This has dumbed down many none-think­ing peo­ple in the process, and this is not a good thing. What we need to de­velop to­day are crit­i­cal think­ing skills that in­clude the abil­ity to de­ter­mine which parts are bones and which parts are meat.

When ed­u­ca­tors are ag­i­tated be­cause stu­dents ques­tion their teach­ings, then get a vi­cious ver­bal beat­ing or worst, a fail­ing grade. When churches and re­li­gious groups do not tol­er­ate any­one who ques­tion their teach­ings, they start brand­ing them as “rebels,” “in­fi­dels,” or “peo­ple lack­ing in faith”. This is cer­tainly not the way to learn.

Crit­i­cal think­ing en­com­passes sus­tained in­quiry, and re­spond­ing to ques­tions en­tail a lot of work and study. This is why many ar­tic­u­late speak­ers and charm­ing train­ers speak so elo­quently be­hind the mi­cro­phone, but are scared out of their wits when it comes to ques­tion-and-an­swer por­tion, and I have seen so many of them break down in the process.

Let me go back to what I said about “not sweat­ing the small stuff”, then give it a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive this time. This time, ap­ply a lit­tle “sweat­ing” into it. Small things mat­ter and we re­ally need to sweat over the small stuff. Be­cause these small stuff build and bring us to big things. Au­thor Andy An­drews says:

“First, there is the big pic­ture and then, there are the small de­tails. Most peo­ple look at the big pic­ture in terms of their de­sired suc­cess and goals. But, they do not have the pa­tience to look at the tiny de­tails. How­ever, those who are ma­ture, dili­gent, pa­tient and those who pay at­ten­tion to the small de­tails will work on their projects bet­ter. They know that those small de­tails are the foun­da­tion to bring them towards achiev­ing their big re­sults or see­ing the big pic­ture. Those who fail or ne­glect to take care of the lit­tle de­tails will be dis­ap­pointed. They will be dis­il­lu­sioned, be­cause the tiny lit­tle de­tails would dic­tate the things we need to do—not ur­gent but im­por­tant—and those tiny lit­tle de­tails also will tell us the things we should not do. You must not imag­ine the worst but in­stead, stay faith­ful in what you are do­ing. One day, you will ar­rive at the place where you would have wanted to be in the first place be­cause you took care of the small stuff.

We are con­stantly mo­ti­vated with the big pic­ture of suc­cess, but we should also pay at­ten­tion to the small de­tails, for big things hap­pen only when we do the small things right. Yes, there are many things that mat­ter such as the big things and the small things. But what mat­ters most should mat­ter now, and the big things we dream about would one day hap­pen but only when we sweat about the small things and im­prove on it now.”

Now that is stuff I would con­sider as meat and it would be good to swal­low it, di­gest it and be nour­ished by it.

(Join Francis Kong as he presents a whole-day learn­ing event this Novem­ber 10, 2018 en­ti­tled: “Cul­ture of Per­sonal Ex­cel­lence” from 10:00AM to 5:00PM at the beau­ti­ful San­tolan Town Plaza, Lit­tle Baguio, San Juan. Lim­ited seats avail­able. For fur­ther in­quiries contact April at +63928-559-1798 or reg­is­ter on­line atwww. suc­cess op­tions inc/cpe)

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