Good Judgment
by Jim Stovall

We are all faced with the continuing struggle between working smart and working hard. Those who simply work hard but not smart confuse activity with productivity. Just because you are moving quickly does not necessarily mean you are getting closer to your goal. There are times when a pause for recreation, reflection, and renewal are the fastest ways to move ahead.

Judge Brandeis served on the Supreme Court for several decades early in the 20th Century. He had a very distinguished judicial career; however, there was a time when he was strongly criticized for taking a vacation just before an extremely difficult and complex case that was to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Judge Brandeis's response to the criticism was as follows: "I have found a way to successfully complete 12 months of work in 11. I have never found a way to successfully complete 12 months of work in 12." This is a reminder to all of us that time to pause and recharge our batteries may be the fastest way to get ahead.

If you were to enter a coast-to-coast road race, you would find that the fastest way to get to the finish line involves stopping periodically for regular or preventive maintenance. Drivers who fail to take a pit stop are in much greater danger of burning out an engine and losing the race through default and not poor performance.

Studies have shown that the most effective countries with regard to productivity are not necessarily the ones with the longest or most grueling workweek. This is often overlooked in many organizations. We understand this with respect to maintaining and caring for our equipment.

Always remember that the most effective element that will lead you toward your personal and professional success is your ability to perform at your highest level. This is only possible when you maintain and care for your mind, body, spirit, and attitude.

As you go through your day today, remember Judge Brandeis and his admonition to all of us. Winning the race is quite often a function of caring for yourself well enough so that you can cross the finish line.

Today's the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author, columnist, and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082, or by e-mail at

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Copyright 2003 by Jim Stovall. All rights reserved.

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