Bill Gates once remarked that the key to succeed in business is to innovate and make yourself obsolete. If you don’t make yourself obsolete, your competitors will make you obsolete.
I agree completely. We live in a fast-changing world. What is current today may already be obsolete two years from now. For that reason, it’s important to know how to improve yourself. You need to make yourself obsolete. If you don’t, someone else will.
I once read that when a Sony team in one floor launched a product, another team at another floor was already working on a new version of the product. And yet another team was working on an even newer version of it. That’s a company that works hard to make itself obsolete.
The same principle, I believe, applies to individuals. You should improve yourself and make yourself obsolete. Here are some ways to apply it:
1. Upgrade your tools
Can you imagine the difference in productivity between those who use a typewriter and those who use a computer? This example is a bit extreme, but it illustrates the importance of upgrading your tools. If you don’t upgrade your tools, you risk being left behind by those who do. They will produce far more output with better quality than you.
But be careful, don’t spend too much time researching and experimenting with new tools at the expense of doing real work. Remember, your goal is getting things done. Set aside some time to experiment with new tools, but spend most of your time doing real work using the tools you are already comfortable with.
2. Upgrade your workflow
More than just upgrading your tools, you should upgrade your workflow. Find ways to improve your productivity system. Is there any leak in your system? Is there anything you can simplify? Do you take full advantage of your most productive hours? Tune your system to improve your ability to get things done with minimum overhead.
3. Upgrade your knowledge
Living in the Internet age is a great blessing because there are abundant sources of knowledge available. All you need to have is the desire to learn. That’s why curiosity is important. With knowledge being so readily available, the eagerness to learn makes the biggest difference between those who thrive and those who don’t. Curiosity makes it much easier for you to learn about pretty much anything.
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