— Winston Churchill
When we think of leftovers, we have a tendency to think of food that remains unused or unconsumed, and which eventually finds its way to the dog bowl.
But what about the other kind of leftovers…the massive surplus of unused or unconsumed time, talent and potential?
In my humble opinion…
The greatest waste of untapped resources in this world is the excess surplus of time, talent and potential that doesn’t translate into meaningful, goal-directed behavior.
Chew on that thought for a moment and indulge in this little exercise…
• Imagine a future world where death, disability, disease, war and famine have been wiped out.
• Imagine a world where fear and uncertainty no longer exist, and courage is no longer needed.
• Imagine a future world where people don’t have to work…one where the Government simply sends you a check and tells you to stay home and chill.
• Imagine a world where every household chore is fully automated…one where drones deliver your groceries and robots are at your beck and call.
• Imagine a world where an autonomous, self-driving car picks you and simply transports you to your Mother’s house for dinner.
• Imagine a future world where anything you can imagine is possible…and you can obtain it without having to lift a finger or break a sweat.
But hold on, there must be a catch!
What would we do with our infinite, effortless, struggle-free lives?
What would we do with our massive leftover surplus of time, talent and potential?
When someone handed you a calculator for the first time, it meant that long division was never going to be required of you ever again.
This created a huge savings in time, as well as a decrease in the cognitive load of decision making.
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
You can waste that leftover surplus and use it to entertain yourself by…
• Playing video games.
• Binge watching Netflix.
• Putting on a headset and living in a virtual fantasy land.
• Taking selfies.
• Swiping left or right on Tinder.
• Complaining that life is boring and there’s nothing to do.
Or you can use that leftover surplus to educate and challenge yourself to learn something new…something that would give your life meaning and direction…something that adds greater value…or solves a problem.
It’s your call…you’ll either use that leftover surplus wisely, or you’ll abuse it.
Remember…behavior never lies.
Entire professions and industries are being disrupted by the free work and shortcuts that are produced by the connection economy, by access to information, by robots, by artificial intelligence…and, by organizations and boards who want to eliminate the need for people, pensions, and insurance premiums.
Significant parts of your job are almost certainly among them. If not yet…they soon will be.
This means the questions I posed earlier…especially how you are going to use your leftover surplus of time, talent, energy, courage and potential demand serious consideration.
USING LEFTOVER SURPLUS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Humans by nature are quite predictable as without a challenge, without self or externally enforced resistance, without the deliberate decision to use their leftover surplus to grow, improve and educate themselves…they will gravitate towards entertainment and become soft in mind, body and spirit.
And not just physically challenged, we need intellectual, leadership, spiritual, relational, sales, and any type of performance challenge that stretches us to grow, forces us to overcome adversity, tests our character and commitment, and which inspires us to resist the gravitational pull of the comfort zone.
Do you really think it will materialize without a challenge, without being pushed to your limits, without perseverance being tested, without putting your leftover surplus to extremely good use?
In short…for an individual, family, team, company, community or country to become great…it requires that they use their leftover surplus to look for and rise to the great challenges that are thrust upon them…OR the ones they thrust upon themselves.
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