The art of not screwing up again!

Here’s what my mind almost always defaults to — if there’s a problem, fix it. I said “almost always” because there are always a few key areas in our lives that warrants fixing time and again. I’m not different. Besides those, however, mere fixing just doesn’t cut it for me.

And this is to darn true when it comes to work — I would not only like to solve a problem but also prevent it from recurring. The Japanese have a term for this — Saihatsu Boshi, which literally translates to “prevention of re-occurrence.” It’s part of their culture, which is why, most Japanese professionals end up frustrated working with their international colleagues. Because we just don’t get it.

Of course, in our defense, we can talk about the “better” alternatives or come up with case studies to prove that permanently resolving a problem is resource-intensive or even highly impractical! But logically, it’s far more efficient to get things done without screwing things up. And if the expectations don’t match reality, we’re better off figuring things out to close that gap than leave it open. So, why not strive for that?

But where do you start from? For me, the most important question is this — what can I do or create to solve this problem? It’s a simple but powerful question that usually kickstarts the thinking process that’s been shutdown due to emotional overwhelm.

I can hear you say, “Sunil, that’s easier said than done and perfectionism isn’t helpful at all!” I know it’s not easy, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Complaining wouldn’t help and this isn’t about perfectionism but holding yourself to a higher standard. Isn’t that the whole reason why you started doing what you’re doing right now? If that’s a yes and you strive to be a high-performing leader/manager/team-member, you’ve got to own this thing up!

Stefan Sagmeister, a New York-based graphic designer, storyteller, and typographer, said it the best, “Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.” Remember, a professional would always choose to act and when they do, they see it through.

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