Pursuing outward

When it comes to how we view things and how we conduct ourselves, my high school vice principal had a profound impact on me.

He asked us to call him "Principal Xiaofang." At first, I thought he was a female principal, but he was actually a man. The reason for this name was that his given name contained the character "芳" (fang), and he felt more comfortable being called Xiaofang. If you were a student meeting him for the first time and called him Xiaofang, you would definitely think he was an interesting person. And indeed, he was.

During every meeting, he instilled in us a viewpoint: to enjoy learning and, incidentally, achieve high scores.

As someone who advocated for this slogan, he was also an optimist who could view everything with a positive perspective. We could always hear his distinctive laughter wherever he appeared. This was not just an empty slogan; he hoped to implant this philosophy in everyone's hearts.

This slogan was different from any other slogan I had heard before. He emphasized the importance of having the right attitude towards learning, treating it as a joy rather than a burden, and then dedicating time to studying. In the end, good grades would naturally follow. Compared to other slogans that emphasized achieving top rankings and refusing to fall behind, the one he proposed was truly refreshing.

When I was a student, I didn't fully understand his theory. But now, with some experience under my belt, I look back at this statement and find it very reasonable. It conveys a pursuit that goes beyond mere academic achievement.

This attitude can be applied not only to learning but also to other things. For example, in the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" that I've been reading recently, the concept of "quality" is repeatedly mentioned. From a certain perspective, I believe that quality is also a pursuit that aims higher or a state of mind.

In the book, the author describes ordinary maintenance workers who mechanically repeat their work every day without truly investing themselves in it. Their mindset falls short of achieving quality, and as a result, they often fail to see the essence of motorcycle malfunctions, leading to inadequate repairs or even damaging good motorcycles.

Expanding the scope, for example, in companies that prioritize profit over consumer experience, these profit-oriented companies often end up distorting their actions. Companies that frequently emphasize being the market leader or surpassing their competitors tend to resort to any means necessary to achieve these goals.

Consumer-oriented and profit-oriented pursuits are completely different, and the distinction between the two profoundly influences a company's culture, which then permeates into its product culture. The resulting differences are evident.

Having the right attitude and enjoying learning is similar to first ensuring a good product experience before pursuing results. The final outcome is likely to be satisfactory, but it seems that only a few individuals or companies have such a pursuit.

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