Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Struggle With Hardwork

My wife and I recently watched a Japanese documentary at home and we began pondering on why the Japanese, and typically the older generation tend to have a different attitude than the newer generation like ours.

Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the famous German philosopher, once said that the most essential thing in human history is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction, thereby results can be attributed to the cause which made life worth living.

The Japanese family that we saw in the documentary aspire bringing improvement in the lives of the consumer. They work hard and for long hours and made constant improvements to the product they are selling in order to make it worth for the customer who consume them. They are willing to take hardship, slowdown to reboot before moving on to identify the rootcause. They do not simply focus on the results directly but on the process that leads them to the eventual success.


Now, the younger generation often have a different mindset of thinking.

We are a lazier bunch of people, no less thanks to the society that shaped us this way. We strive for a work smart, not work hard attitude and are constantly being judged with our efficiency.

The society that we live in demand faster outcome with less desired amount of work. Everything we long for is easy and instant. Consumers want everything that is ready for immediate consumption.

Think of merchants today which are incorporating cashless payment to make it more convenient for the consumers to tap and go. A big yes to convenience but try teaching that budgeting skills to kids who thinks a plastic card can buy everything in this world.

In the midst of the transitioning, our lives have come to resemble those of tourists, wanting the experience of touch and go but not wanting to stay long enough to risk experiencing the realities that comes with inconvenient permanence.

There is hardly any loyalty with employees who stayed a permanent 10 to 20 years like most did in the past. Employees treat companies like a cash machine and employers treat employees like a commodity. Whoever has the upper hand wins and down you go, thank you very much for your "service" and "dedication".

The "short cut" epidemic has reached every aspect of our culture and behavior from health to relationship to career to saving/investing. Some people personally find it difficult to save because they are so accustomed to living life in the spending zone. There are way more people who found it difficult in building up their wealth because of the lack in competency in doing so and in the midst of it fall to prey of a quick scam fast profit.

I had personally struggled with health myself in the past. It is not an area which I had much competency in and also not an area in particular which I enjoy. But I know it is important to get myself fit and health back in shape. Since then, I started to take interest in the food I eat, the nutrients my body needs and the rest that my brain requires. They are hard work no doubt. Put a sinful fries or instant noodles in front of me and I can sniff it from 5 yards and beyond. It's a struggle. When I fell ill, I knew I had hit the nails on my head but will continue to be inobedient afterwards. #Trueconfession.

We are humans and whether you like it or not, we are all vulnerable to temptations of some sort that you are weak in. It is in our human tendency that we cut corners and choose the path of least resistance to dress up our cowardice and weakness in disguise and in doing so, we began to relentlessly making ourselves weaker and more probable to losing the race.

Take action before it's too late, even if your inner self had already knew about it.

Thanks for reading.

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27 comments:

  1. Hi,can share what is the title of the documentary?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous

      Wah, sorry I didn't pay particular attention to the title but I watched it on Japan TV.

      Delete
  2. I personally believe in today's context, we no longer can work the same way our previous generations work. Not that we are any lazier, like you mention, we just had to work much smarter because Organizations today don't wait that long for you to produce results. The typical Nokia story is one big reminder for us to remember the world today is moving and changing much faster than before. If any Organization fails to work hard to understand what consumers need, they will not be able to survive long in the new harsh environment. Even a giant eventually crumble.
    What is actually more worrying is the new strawberry generation which only focus on work life balance, having fun and taking the really easy way out. The lack of commitment and accountability will be detrimental to this generation ability to weather through tough times. Only time will tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JJ

      You are right. The world do move laterally but with higher productivity so we also need to keep up with the society. Perhaps my point is that we can work as hard mentally and as smart productively. I know it's probably hard to embed that because people accounted hard work equivalent to long hours of work but that's obviously not what the society is aiming for these days.

      Delete
  3. Hi B,

    Hardwordk cannot be an end by its itself. The pursuit of a meaningful goal is all there is to it IMHO.

    A lot of the work we do, we all know it's "wayang", KPI that touches only on the tangible etc.

    I dun mind working long hours. I mind doing things just for the sake of doing. But like u said it best, j am here for a living too, u pay me, I help u. Even if I dun agree that that is the most effective or effecient way. Just glad that whatever shit I can, I still enjoy 30-50% of my work. So I always think my pay is actually twice of what it seems

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi SI

      Fair enough point. There is surely a larger meaningful goal to the end than just hard work but I am just taken by surprise at how much the Japanese value hard work together with the end goal. For most of us, it's probably the end goal first, then we decide if we can reduce that by lesser work. Different mental attitude if you ask me.

      Delete
  4. The older generation can work year after year without any travel vacation. We can't do that. We may like to travel more; but with limited annual leaves we can't do so. What is the alternative? It is quite clear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Uncle CW

      The older generation takes it much harder, I feel for them but it takes timing to be born in particular era. No doubt the next generation with smart nation will probably take it a lot better than my generation too. We'd have to see if that trend takes it from there.

      Delete
  5. Apparently, I've seen a number of people who are waiting for that windfall to tell themself that they're rich. Living through debts and beyond their means. It's not wrong, it's just how one person value dollars in their pocket. In everything, anyone does, there is always a good and a bad side. $30,000 to me may means that I'll get to invest another $30,000. However, it may also means that it is a luxury Europe trip, a rolex or a second hand car. The one who go for a Europe trip may enjoy themselves and brings back experience that will not be able to quantified by money. The one who buys the car will not be able to explain to someone who doesnt drive for the years he has committed to the car. The rolex owner may also tell you how precise, exquisite the movement the watch will go that a non-rolex owner may not understands.

    The easy way is not tough.
    The tough way is not easy.

    Majority would want the easiest way, that is able to generate the greatest return.

    A swipe on the credit card for a luxury europe trip and living through installments brings the experience forward and "easier"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sleepydevil

      Another man asset is another man poison.

      I've seen someone so frugal that he hardly spends on anything but when it comes to something he likes, such as luxury food or travel, he can splurge it all out.

      Indeed its different different but same same.

      Delete
  6. People now more practical & impatient ... They want to see rewards and they want to know that what they do will result in adequate tangible rewards within a short time. Faster paced society & more productivity mah.

    But actually horr .... productivity has been dropping or flatline for 10 years liao.... Hmmm???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous

      Haha the smart nation with faster and more productive technology will absolutely crushed productivity with less labor and more machines and better forecast of productivity. I heard in some countries drones are already working out as part of security. 24/7 around the area

      Delete
  7. I'm lazy myself. But coming back to people are not working for 30+ years at the same companies. In the US, there are no longer many manufacturing companies, the retirement model shifted from pension to 401K, so it doesn't matter much to stay with the same company. With that being said, I'd rather stay in the company to get more vacation days as one of the perks. At some point $10K-$20K raises from jumping ship no longer matter. After taxes, that money become obsolete, on top of dividing by 52 weeks... it become a tiny number that eating out less, or saving here and here will offset that. Money you can make more or save more, but vacation days, you can't. LOL :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vivianne

      Ah ok so you like staying in a company for its perks like pension contribution, leaves and medical probably. You are probably hardworking in securing yourself a financial independence route and it's working out well over past few years.

      Delete
  8. Hard work is good if you managed to upgrade and make yourself better and develop more skills in the process.

    However, times have changed. Even if you are loyal to a company, the company will not necessary be loyal to you. Restructuring, automation, competition and outsourcing will threaten job security no matter how successful you once were. Hard work is a prerequisite but simply not sufficient against the realities of Singapore today.

    The path of least resistance may seem sinful but not necessary bad. If you are lazy and managed to work out new ways to incur less input and more output, you will be an asset. If you can only contribute Hard work, you are just a work mule.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi INTJ

      I agree that hard work needs to be accompanied by increasing knowledge and skills, else that hard work just becomes a liability with longer hours and companies having to pay you overtime pay.

      Yeah its not necessarily bad for the individual definitely. We have food on the tables to care at home and we have to save our own asses. But saving and not spending is also good for us financial bloggers catquote all the time... just not that good probably for the economy :)

      Delete
  9. The particular more mature technology could work year in year out without the vacation getaway. We all can not accomplish that. Organic beef want to vacation a lot more; yet together with constrained twelve-monthly results in we all can not do this. What exactly is the alternative? It really is really apparent! more here

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  11. This is an interesting post and coincides with some thoughts Mr.C and I had when we watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi 3 months ago. The work ethic of the Japanese, and that too of the older generation. How one can spend years perfecting his craft. It is inspiring what you can do and the heights you will go when you are driven by passion.

    What fills the younger generation with passion? Presumably not work ethics like the older generation, they come from a different time and different circumstances. The younger generation or millennials, in my opinion, are fueled more by purpose than anything. What is the purpose of what they are doing, what is the purpose of their lives etc. When I started working, I worked without asking these questions and just dived right into it. The millenials are asking these questions much earlier and as a result, making much more different decisions earlier. Ever an optimist, I think it pushes companies to be better in communicating their value and purpose through all levels to get the best out of the workforce vs. expecting the workforce to do give it their all blindly.

    Passion is a powerful driver. Igniting the passion, that's where the trick is.

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