One concept that has stuck with me in the weeks since reading Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc. is the idea that success hides problems. Ed Catmull, the president of PIXAR and Disney Animation, explains why he thinks all great companies fail, and it's this idea that the great success that these companies enjoy mask the many small, internal problems that cripple the organization over time.
John Madden put it more simply:
"Winning is a great deodorant”
Both people and organizations hide behind their success. We've all witnessed these giants fall to their knees because they thought their success excused their attitude of complacency. We judge internal character and culture based on external results. Results are not always king and it's never just about one thing. The downfall of any person or organization is due to the sum of many small, seemingly inconsequential choices, that compound over time and lead to companies like Microsoft and people like Tiger Woods.
The fact is this; There is no cruise control. Everyday you have to decide between deliberate action or apathy. The weeds will grow, and its up to you to be intentional about pulling them out. Take the time today to evaluate areas in your life that need the deodorant of success, and make the change before it's too late.
It's all about the small things.