Welcome to the eightieth edition of “In-Touch”. As always, I would love to continue the conversation so please hit reply and let me know what you think.
Story of the Week: "Choose to Choose"
George Paraskevaides (1916-2007) was a Cypriot philanthropist and businessman who, following the end of World War II, joined forces with Stelios Ioannou to found Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P), which grew into a major international construction giant. Later, he established the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation and the Paraskevaidio Surgical and Transplant Foundation.
Recently, a friend of mine who worked as a Senior Manager for Mr. Paraskevaides in the final years of the latter’s career, recalled how, one day, he had plucked up the courage to ask his boss a burning question: “At a time when the economy of Europe was at an all-time low,” he asked, “how did you manage to take the company to such great heights? What is the secret of your success?”
With a smile, Mr. Paraskevaides replied, “I will tell you the same thing that I have told my children: ‘Make choices’.” He then went on to elaborate: “I make a conscious effort to make ten choices a day. Five of them may prove to be wrong ones but, be that as it may, they are choices, nonetheless. If you do the same, those that prove to be correct are the ones that will help shape your own or your company’s future.”
Making choices starts with the realisation that many choices are ours to make in the first place. In his bestselling book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Steven Covey talks about the two circles that define our lives: (a) the circle of concern and (b) the circle of influence. If we only focus on things in the circle of concern (those that we cannot control), he says, it is natural to conclude that we cannot make any choices to improve our situation. Conversely, focusing on things in the circle of influence (those that we can control) allows this circle – and us – to grow. In fact, we can make far more choices than we ever thought possible.
Choosing to choose offers us numerous benefits on both a professional and a personal level: we can resolve conflicts effectively, enhance relationships, invest in our future, improve our health and much more.
Seventeen years since his passing, George Paraskevaides’ words continue to stand as valuable guidance for all of us. It is important that we choose to choose. Making the right or wrong choice is less important than deciding to make a choice.
Words of Wisdom
“Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have made.”
A Question to Ponder, dear friend.
“Is there one decision that you now view as the best (or worst) that you have ever made?”
Hit reply and let me know.