Stop Waiting to Live your Life, from The Monk and The Riddle

Four Lessons from The Monk and The Riddle

As a part of my book reading system, I list key concepts I want to remember from every book I read. This article lists my top four lessons from The Monk and The Riddle by Randy Komisar.

4. Business can be a creative institution

Fascinatingly, Randy Komisar makes the case that creating a business is comparable to creative expression.

“It comes down to my realization over the years that business isn’t primarily a financial institution. It’s a creative institution. Like painting and sculpting, business can be a venue for personal expression and artistry, at its heart more like a canvas than a spreadsheet. Why? Because business is about change. Nothing stands still. Markets change, products evolve, competitors move into the neighborhood, employees come and go.”

3. What if $$ weren’t a factor?

Ask yourself: if money weren’t important, what would you be doing with your life? While this may not be a practical answer for how to live your life or for the mission of your company, it can be a great way to understand your vision of the future. In the book, Komisar discusses a company that is focused too much on making money and having a viable business model, and therefore sacrifices an impactful vision.

2. Deferred Life Plan vs. The Whole Life Plan

Komisar describes the Deferred Life Plan as follows:

Deferred Life Plan-
Step one: Do what you have to do.
Step two: Do what you want to do.

In fact, most people live their lives according to this motto. “I just need to get enough money so that I can feel safe doing my dream job.” “I have to get promoted before I can think about going back to school.”

Komisar argues that when people continue to live their life this way, they’re never really happy. They’re always looking forward to some future point, always coveting something other than the present. Furthermore, they spend time and energy in an area of their life that is unimportant to them.

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all- the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

Komisar’s decision came to a critical point when he had to decide between staying in his law firm or joining the hot new company at the time: Apple. Komisar made the decision to go with what he “wanted” to do (Apple) as opposed to what he thought he might “have” to do.

1. It’s the journey that matters

Above all else, the journey throughout life is what matters. It isn’t about getting a promotion, becoming rich, arriving at some particular point in your career. Life is about learning from mistakes, pursuing your dreams, and being present in each moment. “The journey is the reward.”

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