The very thought that we need to do something perfect prevents us from taking action. At least that is what I have understood in my life. So it is better to keep lower expectations and act. However when you are pushed to the edges, you will respond and take action. That time you will accept the imperfections and make it perfect.
17th April morning Bangalore airport: Serpentine queues everywhere thanks to a long weekend. For a moment, I thought I had it. I’ll miss the flight.
What was the point of listening all those inspirational podcasts(mojo by Marshal ), and reading Ian’s answers on Quora in the last 1 hr while travelling from home to the Airport ? Well those voices and texts helped me crush my ANT’s.
I told myself that I will not miss my flight come what may. If you are clear the world responds with clarity.
I noticed in a few moments that the airline ground staff opened a counter which was away from their original counters and they were rallying their staff around to form a new queue. The way in which this worked was that two guys would come and take your ID proof and e-ticket in the phone and pass it to the next person and by the time you reached the counter your boarding pass with baggage tag was ready. This whole collaboration and execution was an example of excellent teamwork and I was handed my boarding pass and baggage tag in 8 minutes (wow). By reaching out and taking care of people they displayed generosity and humanity.
I was very impressed. I went up to them and thanked them and said, “I appreciate this assistance and great work,”. They humbly accepted, smiled and got on with their job with dignity. Their staff was so grounded in their approach. I noticed one more thing, all the staff were literally on their toes. Even though they had an option to sit, they were leaning forward and helping people. There were instances of queue jumping, criss- crossing but none of the staff lost their cool.They maintained their calm composure and made their impact in a very meaningful way. I admired their professionalism.
Why do they do what they do?
I wanted to figure out why was this airline staff very different from others? Just four people with their ingenuity managed to attend to a large crowd of people. Many others in their position would have just given up and there would been chaos for hours. I felt a very deep sense of what Cal Newport calls, “Deep Work”. They were in that state of deep work that the only thing that mattered to them was a sense of feeling that they are putting themselves out there for a greater cause than themselves.
It was time for snacks in the flight and I ordered Magic Upma. As I enjoyed the Upma I went through the in-house magazine “HELLO”. An Airline advertisement struck me. I captured those bold words.“Show them how it’s done. When Ordinary people with extraordinary passion put their minds and their bodies to the test, victories follow.” I got the answer. That is why they are different. An hour back , 4 of these ordinary people with extraordinary passion showed me how it’s done.
My fervent iconoclasm (breaking established norms) led me to compare the Magic Upma and that Magic event. The Magic Upma came in a round shaped container. Its wrapper carried this tagline: “Watch the incredible grain swell 200% its size in hot water! Ready in 8 minutes(wow)”. On reflection that magic event can be summarized as “Watch these 4 incredible people rose to 200% of their potential when hot water (crowd) engulfed them ! They got them (crowd) ready in 8 minutes”.
Seth Godin calls these people as “linchpins,” i.e. people who want to make a difference and for whom “ dignity, humanity and generosity” can transparently intersect. They are indispensable.
I am glad that I could compliment their efforts. I hope the people behind me followed my gesture. All it takes is 8 seconds (Aha)
Nietzsche said, “if you have a strong enough WHY , you will endure any “ HOW”.” This airline in my view codifies a “perfect WHY ” and they will out – endure themselves every time with their “i’mperfect HOW”. Which means taking action without worrying about a perfect outcome.