Chapter 7

The Right Things, Not Everything

A great company is more likely to die of indigestion from too much opportunity than starvation from too little.

—Packard’s Law

If everything is important, then nothing is.

—Patrick Lencioni

Surfing, for me, is one of the most soothing experiences on the planet. I love nothing more than to sit past the breaking waves, feeling the sun on my skin and the undulating water underneath my board; it’s my definition of utter peacefulness, with the sounds of dry land just out of earshot. It’s also such a cool sense of community, with all the other surfers perched on their boards, staring into the horizon, arms crossed on their chests, legs swaying just below the water’s surface.

Until the waves come. Then the peacefulness erupts into jockeying and chaos, every surfer anticipating where the waves will crest, where the peaks will pass through. The “winner” is the surfer who takes off closest to the peak of the wave furthest outside; according to surf etiquette (yes, there is such a thing), that person officially has the right-of-way; he or she wins the wave. Therefore, it is critical to paddle furiously to get into the wave, because it can just as easily pass right on through and leave you behind.

Beginner surfers chase after every ripple. Every little swell in the water that even remotely resembles a wave will prompt them to take off, trying their hardest to match the speed of the wave and drop into it. Not surprisingly, they catch very few of these ...

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