After accumulating the writings for Worklife, I realize the purpose of these writings are to help the reader see that in creation of workplace or for any worklife, success lies in people factor and those people’s wills, actions, and chain of little incidents both good and bad. We read and study theories, methods and techniques, but in reality, overwhelming majority of them come after things “happen”. Do not be preoccupied with knowledge. Do not be swept away by creativity. Remember that we are human beings with the same physiology as the caveman days, with same set of emotions as Egyptians who built pyramids, Romans who ruled, Arabs who told stories, Chinese who invented fireworks, etc., etc.
These examples are far out. What triggered me to think of this is another glance at pages of A Beautiful Mind this afternoon.
The catalyst for Princeton’s transformation into a world capital of mathmatics and theoretical physics was an accident – an accident of friendship. Woodrow Wilson, like most other educated Americans in his time, despised mathmatics, complaining that “the natural man inevitably rebels agains mathmatics, a mild form of torture that could only be learned by painful processes of drill.” And mathmatics played no role whatever in his vision of Princeton as a real university with a graduate college and a system of instructions that emphasized seminars and discussions instead of drills and rote learning. But Wilson’s best friend, Henry Burchard Fine, happened to be a mathematician. When Wilson set about hiring literature and history scholars as preceptors, Fine asked him, “Why not a few scientists?” As a gesture of friendship more than anything else, Wilson said yes.
… Most people think that America’s rise to scientific prominance was a by-product of World War II. But in fact the fortunes accumulated between the gilded eighties and the roaring twenties paved the way.
It was not just one thing, but chain of events, but the decisive move was made because of friendship. Nothing as dramatic as rise of scientists in US, but I can tell a few stories about how great work results came about from friendship and goodwill just going with the flow of events that unrolled.