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Over forty years ago, I made an (un)fortunate career choice to enter the computer industry during its infancy. It is a brutal business that changes radically every twelve to eighteen months, has tremendous cost pressures and has huge financial rewards. It is not for the faint of heart.

To survive during my career, I derived five principles that provide a broad framework for life:

  1. Disruptive change will constantly occur
  2. Live one day at a time
  3. Keep a positive attitude
  4. Do something significant
  5. Embrace the richness of life

Disruptive change will constantly occur
Change and disruption constantly occur. Disruptive change has many forms: physical, political, economic, legislative, and technological. You need to develop unconventional scenarios that look at the possible effects of disruption. How do you make a 30-40 year career plan when the whole world will change in a year? Think out of the box?

Dealing with change and disruption is hard: Embrace it!

Live one day at a time
You are here today. Yesterday is history and tomorrow is uncertain. Affecting what happened yesterday is difficult. The time has passed and what happened has been recorded. Tomorrow is coming up in a few hours.

You must deal with today before you can move on to tomorrow. Keep your dreams in focus, but concentrate on doing your very best today. Seek tasks in your today life that are fulfilling.

Keep a positive attitude
A positive attitude enhanced with passion, optimism and a willingness to take risks will provide a basis for a fulfilling life. People get discouraged. Face challenges and opportunities with a sense of adventure.

To achieve a good self-image and sense of self-worth is to be satisfied in your daily endeavors even under extreme conditions of disruption. Seek tasks that create a positive attitude.

Do something significant
I saw executives whose time was scheduled in six minute increments. Because of their work day (ten hours), they were expected to do one hundred tasks during the day. You cannot do one hundred significant things a day.

I try to do one thing a day that is significant. My hope is that with over three hundred tries a year, I may actually do something that is significant. If after a lifetime of such effort I have actually accomplished something significant, I would be extremely satisfied.

Open a door for someone, tell someone they are doing a good job, or help your child learn to read. The best measure of significance is whether your action improved the world that day.

Embrace the richness of life
Life is a very short and fleeting moment in the universe. You need to understand what it means for you to be successful and lead a fulfilling life. Act on your understanding.

Once you understand yourself, you will learn to be successful. You will reinvent yourself as change and disruption occur. With your understanding in focus, you are in a position to embrace life and to achieve a level of satisfaction that provides you a full and positive life.

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Kenneth J. Thurber has spent his career working in the field of computer technology. He has written or led nearly 500 technical proposals (winning over 200) leading to over several billion dollars in research, development, and product derived work. He has consulted on the purchase or product introduction by manufacturers of over $10 billion dollars worth of equipment. He was the system architect for the specification of a Local Area Network computer system and his system concepts resulted in the deployment of a real time system worth over $7 billion dollars.

He developed the concepts of technology big wave surfing as a metaphor for ways to capitalize on the disruption that technology brings to the marketplace. He is the creator and the world's leading practitioner of extreme ways to develop, manage, market and invest in the technology product marketplace. In addition to forming and running several companies he has been a consultant to many Fortune 500 companies. He is considered by many to be the "Consultant's Consultant".

Dr. Thurber has worked for several major corporations including Honeywell and Univac. He was on the adjunct faculty of the Computer Science Department of the University of Minnesota. He is currently the President of Architecture Technology Corporation which he co-founded. 

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hi, dr Thurber. I have always been searching for a simple Life Plan or strategy. Up to now I have read hundreds of self help blogs and books. The 5 Principles you offer I think is the nearest I have come to a very simplistic but doable plan for someone who really wants to live and live significantly. Thanks so much. Leon Jonas

  2. your 5 principles are comprehensive and entirely credible: I thank you for them,…. as I try to incorporate them into my practice…..

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