Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The "To Don't" List

Our new cat Puss is still in solitary confinement in our bathroom while we slowly integrate her into a household with a dog and two other cats.

I expected her to be screeching and complaining the whole time, but she's not. The only time Puss lets out a soft "meow" is when she's ready for another can of Fancy Feast. Even when it's not feeding time, she's happy to see me and moves in for a scratch between the ears or a pat on the rump.

Perhaps this is an advantage of adopting an older cat. She's not wasting energy kicking up her paws or engaging in noisy protests. And she's not trying to bite the hand that feeds her.

I dig that cat's attitude. There are certainly times when we should be outraged by circumstances in our lives, scratching and clawing and screeching for all we're worth. But there are also plenty of times when we just need to settle in and make the best of our circumstances, just like Puss is doing.

I was listening to the audio book "Good to Great" on the way back from SF. The management book by James C. Collins aims to describe how companies transition from being average to great. While it's debatable if this is a "great" book, at least one point has stuck with me. Collins said that the CEOs of great companies did pretty much the same things as CEOs of average companies. The difference was what they weren't doing.

Collins calls those activities the "stop doing" list, but I like to call it my "to don't" list. On top of my list is the energy I expend in futile scratching and screeching that gets me nowhere. I haven't yet listened to the audio tape I found online about six ways to "stop doing" the things on my to don't list, but I will.

I don't aspire to be the CEO of a "great company," but I would like to become a cool cat like Puss.

How about you? What's on your to don't list?

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