‘Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You’

Comfort leads to obsolescence and eventual ‘evaporation.’

May 18, 2012
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Cheney: You dare others to “commence a quest to the unknown.” What’s your next quest?

Peters: Always a good question. There’s a wonderful Eleanor Roosevelt quote that’s among my top four or five favorites: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

When you’ve been promoted three or four times and you have some habits that have served you well over the last 10 to 15 to 20 years, it’s hard to wake up with the notion that you can change some fundamental assumptions.

I’ve gone all out in the last half dozen years to embrace blogging and tweeting; trying not to let the grass grow between my toes with technology. And I have the habit every two to four years of falling in love with a particular set of subject matter.

At the moment I’m fixated on operating improvements in health care. Given the amount of money you and I and the other 300 million people living in the U.S. spend on health care, we’re not getting a good return on investment given the sexy machines that are taking pictures of our body parts.

Again, it’s a modern world with intimidating machines—yet tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people die because doctors don’t wash their bloody hands.

Cheney: Scary thought.

Peters: Yes. All of the top doctors say rule No. 1 to being healthy is to stay out of hospitals—including theirs.

Cheney: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Peters: They might not know that since my wife is away, I started the morning by getting grain for the geese, letting the chickens out, and collecting their eggs. And when we finish this call I’m going to repair a fence.

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineI’m not trying to brag that I’m a farmer, but I do live on a farm. It’s a nice change of pace when you spend most of the day thinking about how the pharmaceutical companies are misbehaving.

Cheney: I’m looking forward to your presentation at the America’s Credit Union Conference.

Peters: I’d like to reinforce that I won’t be a nice guy—and I mean that in the best sense. I’m going to be like the dog tugging on your coat who wants to go out.

I’ll love seeing everyone, but don’t tell me you can’t compete with the banks that are too big to fail. I don’t care about all of the new technology, when you get bigger you get slower. Nothing can reverse that, so there’s a great opportunity for credit unions.

Cheney: It has been nice talking to you. Good luck with the fence.

Peters: Thanks. It’s raining cats and dogs, and the temperature won’t go above 45. But the geese were in my wife’s garden last night so it’s life or death. The geese were hungry and unfortunately were eating August’s peas.

Don’t miss Tom Peters’ presentation at the America’s Credit Union Conference in San Diego, June 17-20.

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