Time to Make, not Manage

2 min read

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

There are lots of things you can pay people to do for you. You can pay them to mow your lawn or do your taxes. You can pay them to drive you from one place to another and you can pay them to sell things for you. But the one thing you cannot pay people to do for you is think.

No one can “reflect” on your behalf. No one can think about the big picture for you.

Paul Graham has a great essay on the difference between “making” and “managing.” This is another good distinction. You can pay people to manage. You can’t pay them to “make” whatever it is that you make. You can’t pay them to create and “think” for you. Only you can do that.

We don’t control what happens; we only control how we respond. Successful people use obstacles as fuel, and make good out of every situation they find ourselves in.

So how do you make good out of this COVID-19 climate of inaction? Well one easy way is to use this time to think. Take the great philosophers. How did they spend their time? Writing. Reading. They were thinking and planning. They came out wiser, with a clearer sense of what was important in their lives.

Your employees are not going to come up with your business’ five-year plan for you—only you can do that. They’re not going to close that $1 million deal with one of your insurance prospects. They are not going to re-engineer your operations. Your CSR assistant isn’t going to come up with your next great sales strategy. They’re not going to invest in relationships for you. They’re not going to help you find inspiration to keep going.

YOU have to do that. And today is a great day to do that. Now is a time to make. To think. To reflect. To do what only you can do. To cultivate that stillness—because stillness is the key to insights and creativity and all the things you’re going to need to dig yourself out of this hole.

No one wished COVID-19 on us. None of this is ideal, you wouldn’t have chosen this. But you can choose for this to be the best thing that ever happened to you. You can choose for this to be the most productive period of your life.

Content inspired by “The Daily Stoic”

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