A group of three friends are on the Eiffel Tower. Suddenly one of them suggests a crazy idea — “Let’s throw our watches off the side of the tower and try to catch them at the bottom! Whoever manages to do it first gets $100 from each of the other two of us!”
The first friend nods his head, flings his watch of the side of the building, takes the elevator down, runs out of the lobby and looks around — but alas, his watch lies on the pavement, shattered beyond repair.
The second friend, who is a little smarter and a lot more athletic, throws her watch in an upward arc over the edge of the top floor, races down the stairs five steps at a time, runs out of the lobby and looks around — but alas, her watch, too, is in ruins.
The third friend snorts in amusement and gently drops his watch off the edge. He then saunters down the stairway, grabs a drink on the way out, and looks around — but his watch is nowhere to be found! He then walks towards a cinema, his two perplexed friends behind him, and catches the movie, to his friends’ bewilderment. Finally, he walks out of the theatre, strolls towards the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, reaches out his hand and the watch falls neatly into his palm.
Astonished, his friends ask him how he did it. “It’s simple,” he replied, “that watch has always been two hours slow.”
Webster defines the word urgency as “a pressing necessity” and it was American entrepreneur, Jim Rohn that said, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.”
In the book The Road Ahead, Bill Gates said that a secret to Microsoft success is they always think of themselves to be on the losing side, and this makes them strive to be number one every day. This attitude creates a sense of urgency that makes them work hard to survive in the highly competitive environment of IT industry.
Many students suddenly get a “boost in productivity” a few days before their assignments are due. Again, a sense of urgency is at play. These are just two examples of how a sense of urgency can work like magic. A touch of it can transform a person, a company, or even a country to be highly productive.
What is the enemy of productivity? Comfort. Once someone is “in the comfort zone”, they lose the sense of urgency. There is no reason for him to work hard and excel. People that are comfortable fall prey to the trap of mediocrity.
The success rate of third and fourth generation family businesses is dismal. The reason (in my opinion)- the younger generations are already in the comfort zone (they were born into it, knowing nothing else); they don’t have the sense of urgency owned by the first generations.
Our country (again in my opinion) is just like the failing third and fourth generation business – as a country we have lost our urgency. Many citizens of the US are “in the comfort zone”. We must act with a sense of urgency. If we act – you’ll be amazed with what a sense of urgency can do- it is truly magic.