Day-tight compartments

We’re not supposed to admit having read ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ by Dale Carnegie, but (apparently) it’s a very good book, and maybe it has special value right now. In it, the author makes an analogy between living day-by-day, and the construction of ships: vertical internal walls called bulkheads divide the ship into watertight compartments, and as long as they are all shut the ship is very hard to sink.

The idea is to close your mental “bulkheads”, and protect yourself from unproductive thinking about the past (depression) and the future (anxiety), in order to give you the freedom to focus on what you need to do today.

Young children seem to do this naturally, as evidenced by the lockdown scene chez Sutton pictured above.

By the way, Carnegie does not suggest ignoring fears about the future. His prescription for dealing with such fears is to follow these four steps:

1. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?”

2. Prepare to accept the worst.

3. Try to improve on the worst – in other words, what actions you can take today to reduce the downside.

4. Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health.

Personally, I think step 2 (acceptance) is the key. It could also be described as ‘surrender’. If you would like to read an eye-opening account of the incredible impact of surrender in one person’s life, I would strongly recommend ‘The Surrender Experiment’ by Michael Singer – another book which I may or may not have read.

N.B. Earlier this month I had the privilege of facilitating a training webinar on the legal implementation of transfer pricing for a TP team in Shanghai. They described it as ‘eye opening’, and it’s not unusual for our sessions to give seasoned transfer pricing professionals completely different perspectives on issues which they had taken for granted. If you would like to arrange a free webinar training session for you and your colleagues, I would be very happy to help. Just email us to let us know.

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