“Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin it, and the work will be completed.”
I am an observer of people and human behaviour. I guess that’s why I became a performance improvement consultant and a novelist – it’s all about people.
So, here is my second blog from the lovely Island Hideaway resort at Dhonakulhi Island in the Northern Maldives. It’s a very posh, upscale resort and when you arrive they assign you a “personal” butler. This young man (they are all men since the Maldives is a Muslim country and they don’t let the women out much – a definite topic for another blog) speaks fairly good English and comes from one of the local islands. The resort company selects and trains all their staff, the butlers, houseboys, transportation staff, laundry, kitchen crews, etc from the local population (the security staff is from Nepal, former Gurkha soldiers – go figure). For this young man, and many like him, it’s a very coveted job in a region with little employment other than basic fishing.
My posting today is about my “dead” bicycle. The way the guests get around on the island (1.4 kilometres long and 500 meters wide) is either by bicycle or walking, for the fit, and by electric golf cart for the elderly or those with too much to drink at night. When you arrive, there are bicycles waiting at your villa, with your villa number (ours is #32) tagged on the handlebars. When you park your bike at the restaurant among all the others you can easily recognise yours by its number.
On the third day of our stay my bicycle died! A bolt came off that holds on the pedal and my transportation was instantly rendered useless. I informed our butler about the situation and told him exactly where I left the metal carcass (on one of the main thoroughfares around the island). He assured me it would be taken care of. And within a few hours a replacement bicycle showed up at my villa.
Job done? Not quite. As I rode my replacement cycle the next day I passed my original broken bicycle, leaning against the exact tree where I left it. So, I decided to try a little experiment in human behaviour. I didn’t remind our butler about the original bicycle and decided to see what happened. Everyday I ride my bicycle to the northern part of the island to go flyfishing and I pass my dead bike. Still there, still inoperative.
It’s the end of our 9 day stay and my broken bicycle is still leaning against the same tree, although staff walk, cycle and cart down this road dozens of times each day. It’s not hidden from view, in fact it’s in plain sight. But no one has taken it off for repair.
I find that many people who earn a wage, as opposed those who work for themselves, have developed a characteristic pattern of work. It goes like this: Tell me what needs doing and I will do it! But that’s all. I am not paid to take initiative. And, if I do take initiative and get it wrong, I may get reprimanded.
I my experience, progress is made only by those who take the initiative. Those who see something that needs doing, and do it. Those who ask, What if? Those who look at something and see an opportunity.
Our butler is nice, knows where the knife and fork goes in setting a table, but initiative is not high on his agenda.
I wonder how long my “dead” bicycle will remain next to that palm tree?
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton
Tight Lines . . .
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