It’s Not How Long You Hang Around That Counts

Charles Steinmetz was the engineer who designed the massive generators that made General Electrics one of America’s greatest corporations. After he retired those generators broke down and no-one could get them going. So eventually they called Steinmetz back. He puttered around for a few hours, threw the switch and the turbines began to whirl. A few days later GE received his bill for ten thousand dollars. They thought it was excessive and returned it with a note saying: “Charlie, isn’t this bill just a little high for a few hours of tinkering around”? So Steinmetz changed the bill. This time it read: For tinkering around – one dollar. For knowing where to tinker – nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine dollars.

It’s like life, the real value is not in how long you hang around, but in knowing what to do while you do it.

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