Final Exam

October 1, 2014

I wanted to share with you my opening comments from yesterday’s thinkMSP event in Chicago. I cannot thank Greg Coticchia, Chris Harrold, and Mohawk enough for what proved to be another fabulous thinkMSP event. I can’t wait until our flagship event in May!

Even at the age of 46, I sometimes have the college boards dream that Tom Cruise had in Risky Business. Mine is a little different, though. I have blown off the entire semester, enjoying my time socially, and thinking that I will get to academics later. My chemistry final arrives and not only do I know nothing about the subject, I cannot even find the building where the classroom is. I wake up in a sweat and breath a little sigh of relief…but remain freaked out about it.

I drove my son to school before my flight this morning and he told me — right before I dropped him off, no less (like he didn’t know what he was doing) — that his social studies teacher told him that if he didn’t get his grade up that he would be moved out of the advanced class and sent back to standard social studies class. He is smart enough, but his work ethic stinks. He loves watching TV and playing with his iPod Touch. He flies through homework, cutting corners, just so he can return to being entertained. And the facts are that he is hurting himself by focusing on immediate gratification and not taking pride in the process. In hockey, I have seen him drop his shoulders and have a generally bad attitude if his team goes down early. So while he loves to entertain himself, his addiction to immediate gratification can also manifest itself in frustration.

Consider this: If you had one day to do a semester-ending project, how good would it be? If you had 30 seconds left in a game to score a game-winner but hadn’t practiced, what chance would you give yourself to pull it out? If you are unwilling to invest in the process of building a relationship with the market and developing long term strategies, how successful can you really be?

There are no short cuts. Look at the most important relationships in your personal life; they took time, great understanding, and probably endured a great many ups and downs. There is no such thing as ROI and there is no sustainable advantage in short-term gratification.

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