Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Think outside the box - what a stupid approach

Think outside the box - what a stupid approach
Tim Connor

If I hear one more person say “We need to think outside the box.” I am going to throw up.  This is not the answer to your challenges or problems – it’s a myth.  Let me explain.

I am sure you have – said it, heard it or at some point tried to figure out exactly what does this mean.  What does it mean – try something new, try seeming different, stop doing things the same ways – etc etc.

What is thinking outside the box exactly?  Is it modifying current techniques or approaches in some way or just tweaking what isn’t working?

There are three things you need to ask when something isn’t working; how isn’t it working, why isn’t it working and what would working look like?  Until you get honest answers to these questions – forget the box.

Until you have reality based answers to these three basic questions you can’t move on to the next step and it isn’t thinking outside the box and why not?  In a nutshell;

First of all what is the box?  It’s a paradigm, a way of looking at things the way you always have for whatever reasons; comfort, ease, convenience or political correctness etc. Keep in mind that these rationales are yours only and don’t necessarily represent what’s good, right, better or the best and you have them for a reason - most likely because you are used to them.

Here’s the problem with the idea of thinking outside the box.
Something isn’t working so you need to change something.  So you try something new or different (out of the box).  It doesn’t work for whatever reason and now you have a choice, keep trying new or different things hoping for better results but nothing still seems to work so your next choice will normally be to “jump back in the box.”  Bad idea.  It wasn’t working before you jumped out of the box, so why do you think it will work better now after trying new things/approaches that didn’t work out to your expectations, needs or desires?  So - it’s back to what was and why?  Well, even though it didn’t work before at least it was more comfortable and familiar than the lack of success you had with new approaches.

The other problem is that when you think outside the box what do you think you will tend to bring to new attempts?  The memory of past mistakes, previous assumptions, desired expectations and the experiences you had while trying to make the past work.

Trust me, I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to think outside the box because something wasn’t working but in reality, I didn’t need to start all over but just analyze a few simple things.  I know, you can say “Well, Tim, that’s thinking outside the box.”  Sorry. Thinking outside the box implies a new start.

Ask any inventor and they will tell you that when something isn’t working it doesn’t mean they have to begin again with something new.
But here’s another way to look at this.  Throw the box away when something isn’t working.  So when you try something new and if it doesn’t work there is no box you can jump back into.  You have to make the new approach(s) work better than what you were used to doing.

Edison, Gates, Jobs and hundreds of others did one of two things when something wasn’t working – analyze, evaluate and reconsider or they threw the box away and began again.

When you throw the box away it doesn’t mean you can’t take the lessons, learning and experience from previous stuff but that you leave behind the need to stay comfortable with something old.

Everything can be better.  Anything can be improved.  The problem is that far too many people settle for what is working even though it could be far better if they would let go of their need for approval of others, ego, the fear of failure or the need to have it right the first time.

I’ll guarantee you that NASA, The Center for Disease Control and any organization didn’t achieve the success they desired the first time they tried something and that on many occasions they had to start again leaving behind the effort, resources and time invested in what didn’t work.

Throw the box away!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What’s missing in your life?

What’s missing in your life?
Tim Connor

OK, so you have it all; a great career or business, all the financial resources you need to handle your expenses and desires, excellent health, great relationships and happiness, inner peace and contentment – come on – no one has everything.

So, what’s missing in your life or to put this another way, what would like more of, less of or better in order to feel you have it all?

OK if I haven’t lost you yet – if you can sit there and say nothing is missing in your life to feel totally; safe, content, satisfied and in control of every aspect of your life - in my opinion, no disrespect to anyone, you are living in Fantasyland, La La Land or have some serious denial issues.

One last time – what’s missing in your life?  What would you like to change, do, improve, let go of, obtain, feel, achieve etc?

I’ll wager that if you are still with me regardless of your answer to this question there is a void or sense of tension somewhere in your life.  I’m not going to dig into all of the possibilities, reasons, desires or goals that could plague a person in search of perfect, rather just consider two questions and then it’s your turn to do some serious inner work if you want the future to be different in any way.

What’s missing?

Why is it that so many people feel that if they just had more money or stuff life would be good, great, better or perfect?  There are many reasons but here are just three; Insecurity, ego dominance or the need for approval of others.  If I had a better job I would be more respected.  If I had a better car people would see me as successful, if I looked younger I would be more appealing to others.  Need I go on?  All of these needs can be grounded in some way in these three issues.

Let’s say you have it all but just can’t seem to let go of anything.  In other words you define yourself by what you have or own.
During my world travels for years I have met many very wealthy people but I found it interesting - their need to make sure I was aware of their status, wealth or power.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong or evil with owning the best of the best, just that when this begins to define you or if you lost it, it would define you even more accurately by your reactions to this loss – you have a serious problem.

Why is it that so many people will sacrifice health, family and self-esteem to climb the ladder of success?

Why is it that many people______? Yes, you can fill in the blank with hundreds of wants/needs and the question is still the same – does this define who you are, how you want to be perceived or what you need to believe “life is good”?

I know you might feel I didn’t answer the above question, but that’s not my role or responsibility – this is a question you need to ask and answer with integrity and honesty.

Why is it missing?

There could be hundreds of reasons why what you need, desire or want is absent in your life, currently but I’ll bet the reason is one of the following.
You feel or believe you deserve it.
You feel or believe that you have earned it.
You feel it will make you appear to others as a better, smarter, wiser or wealthier person.

Let me ask you – If your desire is greater wealth and you won the lottery, is that all it would take to satisfy your need or desire?  Pogo once said, “Everywhere you go, there you are”.  It’s a fact that within 5-7 years all major lottery winners are bankrupt… so I guess there was more to successful, contented and a happy life than money!

I say – go for it – chase the wealth, fame power, influence or whatever you feel you want, however – be careful not to put your total definition of the quality of life in this one accomplishment, achievement or category.  You will pay a price down the road – somewhere at some point.

“Circumstances do not determine who a person is,
they define who they are.”