Redefining Practical


“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” (Often attributed to Thoreau)

I’ve been asking people, “If you started over, knowing what you know today, what would you do differently?”

Paul Smith, author of, “Lead with a Story,” said:

“I’d . . . be less practical in my career choice, and more passionate; I’d pursue bigger ideas, and smaller paychecks; and I’d surround myself with people that share my interests, instead of my income bracket. If we all did that, I think we’d be more excited to get to work than to leave; give more to society than we take; and enjoy more meaningful relationships along the way.”

Can you hear Paul’s song? Maybe practical isn’t practical, after all.

Less practical:

Paul is the Director of Consumer & Communications Research at Procter & Gamble. He spends his days observing and researching what it takes to connect with, inspire, and motivate change in human behavior. He sounds like a practical guy!

Is it time to redefine practical?

The new practical is:

  1. Dancing with ideas.
  2. Hanging with passionate people who standout rather than fit in.
  3. Knowing and following your heart.
  4. More art, less efficiency.
  5. Joy.
  6. Embracing dissatisfaction. Don’t pretending everything’s OK.
  7. Spending time in reflection.
  8. Rejecting conformity. Just say it, conformity is dull!

What if impractical becomes the new practical?

Practical about being impractical:

I feel like a flower child from the 60’s. My practical voice hates this type of post. Just for today, I’m redefining practical.

You won’t redefine practical in one giant leap. Let the song start softly. Pursue one item from the “new practical” list.

By the way, leaders are less practical than you think. They chase dreams, reject conformity, and take risks.


Paul’s book: Lead with a Story

Paul on Leadership Freak:

The Untapped Secret of Leadership Success

How a Director at P&G Turned Failure to Success

How can you embrace the new practical, today?

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