Transform yourself as a professional in order to transform your environment. This is the main idea that the UPF Barcelona School of Management wants to transmit to its students. The idea that outside change starts with inside change. This idea is certainly not new. Michel Jackson said the same in his song Man in the Mirror. But it’s not about saying it, but knowing how to put it into practice.
Because otherwise, it’s just a slogan. I could say, for example, that my aim is to be slimmer. But just saying it is not going to make me lose weight. Decisions are useless unless there is a clear, tangible plan for carrying them out. And what is your plan for this year?
Starting a Master’s Degree or a post graduate course is an important decision, without a doubt. But it is not enough. Now you have to draw up an executable plan that, if it works and everything turns out all right, thanks to the BSM formula, next year you will be able to say, I am a new person, I am transformed and I am ready to do useful things for society.
I invite you to try the following recipe, consisting in three very simple ideas, and which have worked for me.
1 – You must be good and you must cooperate. The world is full of people who are basically just competing. How long has Spain been without a government? 10 months? The leaders of the different political parties say that they want to cooperate, but what they are really doing is competing with each other. Generally, human beings have a tendency to compete because this is what gives us the best results in the short term. However, it brings the worst results in the long term. The human species competes, it does not cooperate. In some countries, people are trained to cooperate. Japan, for example. In Japan, children go to school on their own from a very early age, at 5 or 6 years old. I have a small daughter and it would never even cross my mind to let her cross the street on her own. When I asked why they let their children go to school alone, they answered: It’s very simple, it’s called social pressure. If there are small children in the street, everybody is forced to behave well because adults have to help children. There is a pressure to cooperate. What is the result of all this? Japanese people are highly organized and civic minded. So, for this year I recommend that you: become cooperating machines. If you build teams and everyone works together and cooperates, you will all gain and learn much more.
2 – You have to make an effort. Most people talk about effort, but it is not really effort they are referring to, but vanity. An example: Kim Kardashian. She could say that she puts a great deal of effort into achieving her look. Has she dedicated any time to this? Yes. Has she invested any money? Probably. But is this effort? No, it is vanity. Effort is when you try to achieve something good that is not necessarily going to bring you any benefit. Whenever you carry out an activity that requires time and dedication, think who will benefit from it, and if you stand to gain any benefit, don’t call it effort. It isn’t effort, it’s giving you pleasure, it’s vanity. A little vanity is all very well, but that’s not what we have come for: we have come to transform ourselves in order to transform.
3 – You must be patient. We are brought up to expect immediate gratification. In fact, the human body has a neurotransmitter in the nervous system, dopamine, which looks for the fastest reward. It’s almost a natural instinct. But, let me tell you about an interesting case. Walter Mischel carried out a study on self-control. It’s known as the Marshmallow test. He took a group of nine-year old children and put them alone at a table with a marshmallow in front of them. He told them that if they waited for ten minutes without eating the marshmallow, he would give them two. He was studying the percentage of self-control but he didn’t detect large differences by gender, age or status, etc. However, 30 or 40 years later, he followed up these children and interviewed them about their jobs and income. And statistically, Walter Mischel discovered that there is a correlation between long-term professional success and self-control. Those who were willing to delay gratification and wait the ten minutes were those who were more successful professionally.
So, when at the UPF Barcelona School of Management we talk about transforming people in order to transform society, these are not empty words. In the same way as Apple says Think different or Nike says Just do it, it only works if you do it. When we say that here we want to transform you, it is because we want you to evolve in order to be better. So, the three pillars that we recommend and we are going to try to transmit this year are: cooperation, real effort and patience. These three things, albeit simple, will eventually bear fruit.
Many people tell me how lucky I was with Invizimals. But luck is the excuse of the mediocre. We don’t believe in luck here, we believe in work and being passionate about what we do.
I am follower of a Japanese philosophy called Kaizen, which is based on continuous improvement, and that every day is a chance to become stronger and be a better self. You have one year ahead and you are not alone. The UPF Barcelona School of Management is proposing that you create a virtuous circle, a collective contract, so that you can bring out the best in yourselves. If you are here today, it’s because you want to transform yourselves. We will accompany you and we will help you to change your life in one year, and by doing so, we will also be making a small change to the world.