Only a “Half-full Bucket”? Either Lose Your Job, or Become a CEO!


I have a co-worker who has many interest, curious about all sorts of things. He’s straightforward and enigmatic, and he often comes to me in search of various kinds of books. Finally, there was one time where I could not stand it any longer, and I asked him why he wanted to focus all these varied things. He simply laughed, and I came to understand him.

It reminded me of a story I read in one of our elementary school textbooks called “The Monkey and the Peach.” A little monkey wanted to snatch a bunch of peaches off a tree; however, when he saw a watermelon, he gave up on the peaches and went after the watermelon. Later on, he went after a rabbit, and in the end he found himself empty-handed, having obtained nothing.? The moral of the story is that the more plain a person’s way of thinking, the easier it is to forget, and that person will often make many mistakes.? In a person’s life, time and vigor are both limited, and if we want to study everything, we end up losing our vigor for each thing and nothing is revealed to us, so that ultimately we end up with our bucket of knowledge only half-full.

This half-full bucket if often seen in the workplace. As the old Chinese saying goes, “you can’t attain knowledge unless you’re willing to specialize.”While simply making up the numbers may be alright for some, if an employee doesn’t take on the hard task of standing out from the pack, once the competition intensifies, the result will be him inevitably losing his one’s job.

But, this “bucket half-full” can possibly lead to another result: becoming an outstanding CEO.

For any excellent CEO, he must have an understanding of literature and history in order to avoid the mistakes of the past. He needs to also carry great management skills so that he can have his employees cooperate well together. Moreover, he must know his employees strengths and weaknesses in order to assign each one the appropriate job, and know how to take charge of his profession, but also be capable of listening to the opinions and voices of others.? In summary, he must be versatile, so that his quality is that he understand the basics of everything, and that is fault is also that he understands the basics of everything.

If a CEO is too deeply focused in one thing, he will not have time to attend to other matters. An excellent CEO will definitely consolidate his resources, and should seek a balanced development, taking the specialization aspects of the job and giving those to the people under him. The CEO’s that constructed an industry heavily relied on their particular specialization, and as it developed, they focused on filling their “bucket.” Successful business like Bill Gates, Ma Huateng, and Mark Zuckerberg are all like this, and if every field or sector had someone more talented than the CEO, then such a company has hope and will indeed have accomplished something grand.

The warrior king of the Qin Kingdom during the Warring States Period had unlimited power, had a strong sword, but died in the ultimate battle, having lived a dull and humdrum life fighting all the time. On the contrary, during the Han Dynasty, Liu Bang in governance was not as good as Xiao He’s, in battle he wasn’t as good as Zhang Liang, and in fighting he wasn’t as good as Han Xin, yet people were still able to call him the king of heaven!

As you can see, only having a “half-full bucket” is a necessary requirement to become a good CEO. To be a CEO, one needs to have a wide knowledge of many different things, but needn’t specialize too deeply in all of them.

Originally published on the TomTop Offical Blog. To see the English blog post, please go here:

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