Just out of my interest in etymology, I looked up the origins of the word ‘improve’.
‘Improve’ comes from the root word “prou” meaning profit. So the word literally means to use to one’s profit, to increase.
Whenever you improve anything, you are “increasing” its value. The phrase “never-ending” improvement is even more inspiring. It stands to mean continuously increasing the value of something worth your while. On a personal level, what could be better than to improve your health, improve your knowledge, improve your relationships, improve your income, improve your craft, leadership….you name it.
Imagine you are about to undertake a long journey. A journey made up of tortuous paths, unexpected turns and rough terrain. You have prepared yourself in every way possible to start your sojourn. You realize you will need a map – that will show you how to get from where you are to where you want to be.
So, you go to an “experienced, wise” person who had taken this journey a long while back. He agrees to hand-over his worn-out map to you – you know – the one that he used. So far, so good.
But wait, you suddenly realize that his map has not been updated in a long time. In fact, it may still show roads, intersections and landmarks that don’t exist anymore. But he insists that since he is “experienced” you ought to follow his roadmap.
What’s the most expensive piece of real-estate in the world?
If you thought Manhattan, Tokyo or Mumbai, you are not thinking deeply enough (or shall we say ‘cryptically’ enough?) The answer is right with you. Hint: it’s what helped you come up with your initial answers.
Before you get to the answer, let me ask you another question. Would you trade/ sell a prime piece of property for cheap, or in return for something far less valuable? No, right? I want to challenge you that you are most likely doing it right now.
All remarkable professionals are alike, every unprofessional is … unprofessional in his own way.
Yeah… I just paraphrased that opening line from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. (love the way lines from classics can be tweaked to shed light on everything under the sun!)
Professionalism?? What’s new about that?
Let me share with you why I feel strongly about this principle, and why it is increasingly pertinent today. Yes, I just called it a principle – that self-evident stuff that remains open to interpretation, while staying constant at its core. Because that’s what professionalism is. You know it when you see it, and you know it when it is painfully absent.