Two Lessons From Jerry Brown

The California Sunday magazine has a great writeup on the tenure of Jerry Brown.

It’s a great read.  There were two points that struck me in particular as with regards to managing projects and getting stuff done.

The first is:

One of Brown’s favorite sayings is Age quod agis, a Latin phrase he learned while training to be a Jesuit priest. It means: Do what you’re doing. Don’t traffic in nostalgia. Don’t fantasize about what’s next.

It’s not to say we should not plan for the future, but we should always remember to focus and execute (or there won’t be a future!).  I always tell my teams to do the best that they can do on any given task; that is all that I can ask of them and what I always try to do myself.  There can be no regrets if we always push to do the best that we can.

The second is:

“When he was first in office, he was trying to solve all the problems,” says Kathleen Brown, his younger sister and a former state treasurer. “Now, he knows he has so many battles he can fight, and he’s prioritized what he personally puts his weight behind.”

Often times, we find ourselves in a position where we are overwhelmed by the task at hand; the challenges seem insurmountable and oppressive to the point of inaction.  The key is to realize that each of us is just one person and that we can only solve so much — even as a team.  What is important is age quod agis: that we have given it our best and our all in whatever we challenge we undertake.  Think critically and prioritize and try not to be overwhelmed by situations which we cannot control.

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