Tag Archives: career

The iPad’s Magical Energy

When Apple, Inc.’s CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPad tablet as “a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price” he was certainly talking about the iPad’s ease of use. Like any great statement, however, many translations exist. I prefer to see Steve talking about the iPad as the amazing translation of Apple’s perseverance in developing the optimal computing device for every global citizen.

While perseverance is the key word here, the translation of that word is also very important. Had Apple merely stuck with the tried and true desktop PC model and come out with an evolutionary product, that would certainly have been both an understandable result of vision and perhaps have augmented the global supply of desktop computers.  But here the translation was to a device which did not need a keyboard, a floppy drive, or even a power cord, and yet provides nearly all the computing power a person needs. Note that previous attempts at a tablet computer by other companies did not take the world by storm, so this unique recipe of perseverance was indeed magical.

In the I Ching (Yijing), the Book of Changes, the meaning of perseverance can go many ways, but the general idea is that perseverance, or continual hard work, generally brings good fortune. This good fortune can appear to others to be what I’ll call “magical energy”, or simply “magic”, but in the end it is always the result of somebody’s hard work.

The I Ching’s hexagram 30, Li — The Clinging, Fire, yields several different translations. The judgements vary thusly:

“Let (its subject) also nourish (a docility like that of) the cow, and there will be good fortune.”
– trans by James Legge, 1882, (c) University Books, Inc., 1964, 1986

“The clinging. Perseverance furthers.
It brings success.
Care of the cow brings good fortune.”
– trans by Wilhelm/Baynes, (c) 1950, 1971

“Compliance with the shifts of fortune assures survival. Symbol of docility, a cow was also an important capital reserve for farmers.”
– trans by Kerson and Rosemary Huang, (c) 1985, 1987

The Wilhelm/Baynes “Perseverance furthers” is the most widely quoted phrase from the various interpretations of this trigram, meaning that hard work over a long time generally yields good results. Just as the ideas, technology, and implementation of Steve Jobs and company yielded a “magical and revolutionary device”, anyone seeking a goal must turn away from distractions and work hard toward the attainment of that goal. I. A. Smalis puts it best in his book “Money: Only a By-Product”: “Turn off that blasted television and concentrate on your goals!”



On Being Present

My personal track record for “being present” has not always been stellar, and in those situations in which I was not always present, my results suffered.  But, in those situations in which I was full on, always present, my results improved.

While providing caddying services for golfers as a teenager, I found that by being available even when all the other caddies had decided the sun was too hot or a milkshake was a cool thing to go get enabled me to snag a job when it presented itself.  While working for a landscaping company, winter lay-offs were de rigueur. But when I asked not to be layed off during my second winter, odd jobs suddenly appeared that kept me busy for 30+ hrs per week (sometimes 80 hrs if the snow kept falling).

In later years, I grew complacent, thinking that my roles, when I did them well, were very necessary.  When I did not do them well, I knew that time was short, but not how to properly change direction.  While quitting is not optimal, at times you do need to change direction, so that opportunity cost does not outweigh your current gains. My last fulltime employer let me know in no uncertain terms that my complacency, or habits of not being present while being present, was getting the best of me. At his request, I changed direction.

While the change in direction was in parts painful, it was vastly necessary. My outlook on life has changed, my health has vastly improved for the better, for the long haul, and I’m interacting with a whole new cast of characters.  Are you similarly less than present in aspects of your life? Will you need a change in direction to refocus your goals?