Before I went to high school, everyone in our year sat an aptitude test. We were eleven years old, and the assessment took place over three hours one morning early in summer. The goal was to identify each student’s potential and stream girls into year groups based on their IQ. The theory being that matching…

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There are many ways Leanne could leverage the success of her popular hair salon. She could extend her opening hours or enter national competitions. She could hire more stylists and open more branches. She could create a line of hair products or franchise her business process and ideas. But Leanne chooses to do none of…

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Our culture has taught us that we should multiply our effort to maximise our reward. But a sustainable business—one that is both viable and brings us joy, doesn’t always necessitate exponential growth.

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The first time I met Simon he was juggling four dirty plates while greeting customers and directing his team. Over time, I came to know Simon as a friend and also as one of the most gifted people I knew. Simon’s bosses loved how he ran their cafe as if it were his own. They…

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In our culture ambition is both celebrated and frowned upon—not always in equal measure. Ambition is encouraged and rewarded, but only to a point. Perhaps it’s not ambition itself that’s the problem, but rather, our narrow definition of it? We aspire mostly to the ambition of accumulation. We want to be more and have more.…

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The customer is not there when the flowers he ordered to be delivered on a special birthday are sent too early without his handwritten greeting—which is still paperclipped to the order book. The florist gets on with processing the rush of early morning deliveries. It’s one of those days when she’s just too busy to…

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The pressure to take part in the race to be first is real, and not just in business. We’re subtly enrolled and invested in this quest from the moment our parents start comparing our progress from cutting teeth to crawling, with that of our peers. Our culture associates coming first with being happier, having more…

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