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No one likes pain…because it’s, uhm…painful. But is it useful?
Add to that twinges, tweaks, conviction & emotional pain that guides us to new decisions that brings about better thinking, which in turn leads us to better actions & results.
It would be perverse to deliberately seek pain…but it sometime seeks us out…in order that we might become better, stronger and more emotionally equipped versions of ourselves.
Oxford’s word-of-the-Year for 2016 was ‘Post-Truth‘, meaning that which “feels” good to you or seems emotionally “true” can be true regardless of its lack of tethers to reality.
Look around you. The morons you encounter in the media, on TV and on the street MUST adhere to such nonsense. Out culture is losing its mind.
Being in the leadership development business, I both appreciate & soundboard the output of others leaders, especially Christian thought-leaders, so as to refine & clarify my own thinking & teaching.
So whether it be strategy, process, emotional intelligence or goal orientation, I benchmark my material & content against that of others…just to make sure we’re speaking the same leadership language.
Recently I came across an interview of Dr. Henry Cloud by Todd Adkins of LifeWay Leadership.
Dr. Cloud reaffirmed my thinking on goals, mind/attitude management & several other nuanced areas of advanced leadership thinking. I highly recommend listening to the podcast.
Here’s the link (you may play it or download it).
by Seth Godin
Ask someone what they do, and they’ll probably talk about where they work. “I work in insurance,” or even, “I work for Aetna.”
Of course, most of the 47,000 people who work for Aetna don’t do anything that’s specifically insurance-y. They do security for Building 7, or they answer the phone for someone, or they work in the graphic design department.
Most people have been trained to come to work in search of familiarity and competence. To work with familiar people, doing familiar tasks, getting familiar feedback from a familiar boss. Competence is rewarded, coloring inside the lines is something we were taught in kindergarten.
People will do a bad (a truly noxious) job for a long time because it feels familiar. Legions of people will stick with a dying industry because it feels familiar.
The reason Kodak failed, it turns out, has nothing to do with grand corporate strategy (the people at the top saw it coming), and nothing to do with technology (the scientists and engineers got the early patents in digital cameras). Kodak failed because it was a chemical company and a bureaucracy, filled with people eager to do what they did yesterday.
Change is the unfamiliar.
Change creates incompetence.
In the face of change, the critical questions that leaders must start with are, “Why did people come to work here today? What did they sign up for?”
That’s why it’s so difficult to change the school system. Not because teachers and administrators don’t care (they do!). It’s because changing the school system isn’t what they signed up for.
The solution is as simple as it is difficult:
If you want to build an organization that thrives in change (and on change), hire and train people to do the paradoxical: To discover that the unfamiliar is the comfortable familiar they seek.
Skiers like going downhill when it’s cold, scuba divers like getting wet. That’s their comfortable familiar. Perhaps you and your team can view change the same way.
If you do anything remotely creative, then you naturally come up with ideas throughout the day. These could be articles to write, marketing tactics to try, businesses to test, books to read, people to contact, anything.
Hopefully you have a system for catching these ideas (I like to carry a notebook around), but if you don’t, or if you’re briefly without that system, you might end up in the sad situation of forgetting that brilliant idea you just had.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to make that idea pop back into your head. These are the three I use on a regular basis.
1. Think Back Through the Topics that Led to It
Say you’re having a conversation and you both get distracted and lose the topic that you were last on. One easy way to figure it out is to talk back through everything you were discussing leading up to it:
“Okay, so we had started by talking about the beach, then I said how my dog never liked going in the water, and you said you had a corgi who could swim faster than a jetski, and that reminded me of a video of a corgi rolling down some stairs, and I was about to show that to you before that bird decided to try to make a nest out of your hair.”
You can use the same tactic for ideas you’ve forgotten. Simply by trying to think back through the series of thoughts that led to it, you can stumble back on the same idea or at least something close to it:
“Then I was thinking about that dog rolling down the stairs and how happy he looked at the end, and I was wondering why human bodies can’t take that kind of beating, and then I remembered how frogs seem fine even when dropped from significant heights, and oh yeah I was thinking about an article on terminal velocity relative to body mass and how that affects humans and other animals.”
When that fails, another option is to…
2. Recreate the Stimulus for the Idea
One thing I miss about college is how bored I was. When I was sitting in class bored out of my mind trying to feign interest in a poorly designed powerpoint presentation, I came up with tons of ideas. They seemed to spring out of thin air and into my notebook as fast as I could write them down.
I don’t get forced into that kind of boredom anymore, but sometimes I’ll deliberately read an interesting-yet-just-boring-enough book (On the Origin of the Species is fantastic for this) which stimulates a similar flood of ideas when I start to zone out. If, however, I forget one of those ideas, I can usually get it back by rewinding a few paragraphs and reading the section that sparked it again. It was typically some phrase, word, or idea that sparked my own idea, and by re-exposing myself to it, I can find it again.
This works for anything that could stimulate an idea. You might listen to the same song you were listening to when you had it, watch the same movie, talk to the same person, look at the same photos. Whatever stimulated the idea, return to it, and the idea will usually return with it.
But if it’s been a little bit longer and you don’t have that exact same mental stimulus, a third effective option is…
3. Return to the Environment You Had the Idea In
My housemates don’t know this since I’m the only one who works from home, but occasionally, I’ll spend a minute or two in the afternoon standing fully clothed in the shower with the water off.
It’s not to scream incantations (though that’s fun too), rather, to remember some idea I had in the shower earlier.
The shower is one of the best places to stumble upon new ideas, but unless you’re particularly brave with your iPhone or have some magical waterproof notebook, you probably don’t have a great way to save those ideas.
But by taking a second later in the day to hop back in the shower (this time with less water and more notebooks) you’ll frequently find those ideas come popping back into your head.
This can happen with any idea-prone environment. Get back in your car, go back to the park, take out your bike, wherever you normally get hit with ideas, go back to it and you just might find one returning to you from earlier that you’d completely forgotten.
And don’t forget the notebooks!
Fate whispers to the Warrior: “You can not withstand the storm.”