There is a great blog post making the rounds on Twitter about a tiff between a professor at the Stern School of Business at NYU and a naive young student. The heart of the message is the advice the professor offers to this student so early in his/her career:
Getting a good job, working long hours, keeping your skills relevant, navigating the politics of an organization, finding a live/work balance…these are all really hard. In contrast, respecting institutions, having manners, demonstrating a level of humility…these are all (relatively) easy. Get the easy stuff right. In and of themselves they will not make you successful. However, not possessing them will hold you back and you will not achieve your potential.
I am a few decades farther into my career than this young MBA student and it strikes me that it’s important as ever to “get the easy stuff right.” Eat less. Walk more. Nurture the relationships that define my network. Read more. Fiddle less. Surround myself with people who share my desire to make a dent in the universe. Do not suffer fools gladly.
Please chime in the comments below with the easy stuff that you want to get right.