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Jans Corner: Heaven and Hell at work

Have you heard the story about what is the difference between heaven and hell? In both places they have the same feast everyday sitting behind large tables overflowing with delicious food and with long spoons in their hands yet surprisingly in hell everyone looks skinny, grumpy and sick whilst in heaven all are healthy, vital and happy.

The difference is that in hell everyone is there for themselves. They haplessly and frantically try to feed themselves from the myriad of goodies on the table using that long spoon in their hand. After a lot of effort, all they create is just a mess around and barely getting any food in their mouths. In the end, everyone is left starving despite the surrounding abundance of food. In heaven, on the other hand, everyone uses their long spoon to feed someone else. You get the difference. It’s easy, fun and every one is fed every single time. In heaven, they understood the basis of effective collaboration and reap the benefits. 

We are raised to be competitive and take care of number one. While it might be sometimes useful in the limited context of survival, in terms of productivity and prosperity in business, which is rarely an individual endeavour, this habitual attitude can create a lot of frustration and wasted potential – experience not far from hell. And as you may guess this pain is not necessary. Paradoxically, even the word competition implies collaboration as it comes from the latin word competare, which means to strive together. 

What if your focus shifted from striving to be successful to making others around you more successful. What if you, your colleagues or people in the team showed up everyday asking:

:: What can I do today that will make you more successful?

:: What can I provide you and others to make your work easier, faster, more productive or more enjoyable?

:: How valuable can I be today for everyone in my team? 

Something changes when we shift our focus from ourselves to contributing to others and their success – be it our team mates, our boss or our business as such. The experience is different and so our own results. By feeding others, we get fed as well, abundantly, every day.

Even if just for a moment, let us be inspired by heaven as portrayed in the story and make it an everyday experience at the place where we probably least expect it – in business and at work.

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