In today's New York Times, David Brooks recounts the amazing story of Jan Baalsrud. Baalsrud snuck back into Norway during World War II to help the anti-Nazi resistance, battling severe weather and terrain, only surviving because of his own outdoor skills and the help of strangers willing to risk their own lives. I won't attempt to summarize here further -- you really should read the whole column. Brooks concludes with this:
But there also is an interesting form of social capital on display. It’s a mixture of softness and hardness. Baalsrud was kept alive thanks to a serial outpouring of love and nurturing. At the same time, he and his rescuers displayed an unbelievable level of hardheaded toughness and resilience. That’s a cultural cocktail bound to produce achievement in many spheres.
This sounds like a good approach to most business endeavors. As Conan O'Brien recently said: "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
D. Mark Jackson