Saturday, April 13, 2024

Vine Media

葡萄樹傳媒

簡化的簡單指引

By: Jim Mathis

你是否注意到每天的生活與工作愈來愈複雜,我們正在把事情弄得比所需要的更複雜?有一個晚上我在我曾經管理的咖啡廳與我的樂隊一起表演。就如往常,我用一個已在我家50年的吉他音箱。我還有一個更老舊的音箱,我也常常定期使用它。人們常常說:「更新就是更好」,但使用幾十年的樂器設備並非不尋常。主要的旅行演唱會常常用50或60年的老舊樂器和配備。

這原因很簡單,最新近的產品不一定表示就比老舊的好。在我攝影工作室裡的一個抽屜裡放了一些手機或智慧型手機,那些都沒有一個可用,而且它們都還沒有超過10年。重點是:簡單比複雜好多了。

一個吉他音箱是一個相當直接了當的裝置,這裝置的設計只為了做好一件事--把聲音放大。一個好的音箱可以用好幾代,功能仍然很好。一個智慧型手機,相較之下,是設計來做幾百件或甚至幾千件不同的事,但沒有一件能做得非常好。因此,智慧型手機只能用到下一個機型出來,然後就過時廢棄了。

這可作為生命的好隱喻。我們可以選擇把一兩件事做得非常好,而且那影響能延續好幾代。有才藝的音樂家很少是靠發展創新的電腦程式或賣股票組合而獲得人們的注意。他們知道自己能把什麼事做好,就去做那件事。

另外的作法是朝許多不同的方向,試著為所有的人做所有的事,而在過程中完成很少的事,對我們周圍的人或整個社會也影響不大。身為工商專業人士,我們應該努力認清我們的長處、才幹與恩賜,並且專心在那個領域傑出卓越。這個世界對所謂的「萬事通,但沒有一樣精通的人」,需求並不大。

一位有名的英國靈修書籍作家,章伯斯(Oswald Chambers)常常說出這智慧的話:「好是最好的敵人。」換言之,有無數的好事我們可以參與,許多事能佔據我的時間與精力。但什麼是我們做得最好的事,是我們被獨特裝備並呼召去完成的事?要獲得成功且有意義的事業,其關鍵之一是分辨出什麼是最好的事,並且專心地去追求那事,而在那過程中去服務別人。

聖經訓誡我們:「無論作什麼,都要從心裡作,像是給主作的,不是給人作的,因你們知道從主那裡必得著基業為賞賜;你們所事奉的乃是主基督」(歌羅西書3章23-24節)。若我們相信這一點,分辨出什麼是我們最擅長的事,然後「從心裡作」。這不是很有道理嗎?

身為有雄心的人,我們傾向於把許多事情加入我們要做的清單,但可能我們應該要刪去一些事。我現在是否在做任何浪費時間的事?簡化你的生活和工作。複雜不一定總是好的--事實上,那還可能是最好的敵人?

吉姆.馬提斯在堪薩斯州陸路公園市經營一家照相館。他的專長是商業和影劇界人像。他也經營一所攝影學校。他曾是CBMC在堪薩斯州堪薩斯市和密蘇里州堪薩斯市的執行主任。

省思/討論題目
你是否同意簡單通常比複雜好?為什麼?請提出一些例子。 對於每天生活和工作的複雜事物,你如何回應--那些事會挑戰並啟發你或者有時讓你覺得失望,甚至挫折? 作家章伯斯說:「好是最好的敵人。」這對你而言是什麼意思?有時你是否不太能分辨「好」與「最好」?請解釋。 根據你的觀點,成為專家(只專精於一兩件事)的好處是什麼?而尋求提供多樣的技能、服務或產品的好處又是什麼?若你想要看或討論聖經中有關此主題的其他經文,請看:箴言15章22節,21章5節,22章29節,24章27節;傳道書9章10節;以弗比書2章10節,歌羅西書3章17節


A SIMPLE GUIDE TO SIMPLIFYING

By Jim Mathis

Have you noticed that with the ever-increasing complexities of everyday life and work, we are somehow managing to make things more complicated than they need to be? One evening I was at Homer’s, a coffee shop I once managed, performing with my band Sky Blue. As usual I used a Fender guitar amplifier that has been in my family for 50 years. I have an older amplifier I often use regularly as well. We are constantly told “newer is better,” but using decades-old musical equipment is not unusual. Major touring acts often use 50 or 60-year-old instruments and accessories.

The reason for this is simple: Just because something is the latest in a long line of products, this does not necessarily mean it is better than those that came before it. A drawer in my photography studio holds a number of cell phones or smart phones, none of which is working and all are less than 10 years old. The point is that often, simplicity is superior to complexity.

A guitar amplifier is a fairly straightforward device designed to do one thing well – amplify sounds. A good one can last for generations, performing its function very well. A smart phone, by comparison, has been designed to do hundreds or even thousands of different things, none of them very well. As a result, it will last only until the next model comes out and then become obsolete.

This serves a good metaphor for life. We can choose to do one or two things very well and have an impact that will last for generations. Accomplished musicians rarely draw attention for developing innovative computer programs or selling stock portfolios. They know what they do well and do it.

The alternative is going in many different directions, trying to be all things to all people, and in the process accomplishing little and having little influence on people around us or on society in general. As business and professional people we should strive to identify our strengths, talents and gifts, and aim to excel in those areas. There is little demand for the so-called “jack of all trades, master of none.”

A well-known British devotional writer, Oswald Chambers, frequently and wisely stated, “Good is the enemy of the best.” In other words, there are countless good things we can become involved in, many things that can occupy our time and energy. But what are the best things for us to do, those that we are uniquely equipped – and called – to perform? One of the keys to a successful and significant career is to discern what the best things are and devote oneself to pursuing them, serving others in the process.

A passage from the Bible admonishes, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24). If we believe that, does it not make sense to determine what things we are the best at doing, and then “work at it with all our heart”?

As ambitious people, we have a tendency to add things to our to-do lists when perhaps we should try eliminating things. Am I doing anything that really is a waste of time? Or have I spent a lot of time doing something so meaningless I do not even remember it? Simplify your life and work. Complexity is not always good – in fact, it might be the enemy of the best.

Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Do you agree that simplicity is often better than complexity? Why or why not? Give some examples. How do you respond to the complexities of everyday life and work – do they challenge and inspire you, or do they sometimes frustrate you, even wear you down? Writer Oswald Chambers is quoted as saying, “Good is the enemy of the best.” What does that mean to you? Have you sometimes struggled in distinguishing “good” things from the “best” things? Explain your answer. From your perspective, what are the advantages of being a specialist – someone that concentrates on excelling at only one or two things? What, if any, are the advantages of seeking to offer a more diverse range of skills, services or products?If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 15:22, 21:5, 22:29, 24:27; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 3:17

8