Darryl Hartwick, May 26 2020

Focus on the Fundamentals

We undervalue the power of simplicity. There have been many times in my life that I have been guilty of looking for a complicated solution to a relatively simple problem. 

A sign on my office wall reminds me each day that, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful”.

Do you want to be happier? Talk about your blessings more than your problems.  Do you want to reach your destination? Start with a single step.

Many of life’s little problems and frustrations can be addressed with a simple focus on the fundamentals. A return to the basics. Each of us must learn to walk before we can run. We must master the alphabet and learn rules of grammar before we're able to write a book destined for a bestsellers list.

I had a friend whose father was an executive with a large Canadian brewing company, and one day Paul shared his dad’s four fundamental rules for success with me:

1.      Don’t play god

2.      Always tell the truth; lies are hard to remember

3.      Run for trouble, or trouble will run for you

4.      Things don’t just happen … people make them happen

Here is my take-away on each of those points:

1.      Don’t play god.

None of us is all seeing, and all knowing. We are each entitled to our opinion but should not expect others to always agree with it.  Talk, but also listen. Value understanding and compromise.

2.      Always tell the truth, lies are hard to remember.

Honesty is a fundamental value for building trust, relationships, and your reputation.

3.      Run for trouble, or trouble will run for you

Always try to be proactive, not reactive.  If you’re captaining a ship, and a storm is brewing on the horizon; chart a new course. Don’t wait for the wind and waves to toss you against the perils of a jagged rocky shoreline.

4.      Things don’t just happen… people make them happen.

Take responsibility for your actions, and always value the talents and contributions of others. Each of us has a special talent that we are able to share with the world.

We live in an uncertain, complex, and ever-changing world. However, it is my view that we should not discount re-visiting fundamental principles as we begin to plot a new route forward on a map of a post-pandemic world.

When our nose is pressed too close to the glass of our world view, our vision can become blurred. By taking a step back, we’re able to bring into focus the fundamentals of what’s important, and how many of the pieces of life’s puzzle fit together.

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Darryl Hartwick is a journalist, broadcaster, and post-secondary educator who has a passion for interviewing and storytelling.

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Darryl Hartwick

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