I like heading the airport and following the departure signs. Not because I like sitting on planes, but because I like the idea of departing from the familiar and beginning a new adventure. Call me crazy, but I enjoy challenging predictable circumstances. It keeps life interesting and forces you to be mentally sharp and engaged. You certainly can’t live an “uncommon life” if your daily life becomes a common collection of routines…
Of course, this has nothing to do with a nighttime sleep-disorder. However, it does have everything to do with mental daytime vacancy. The number of people who mindlessly navigate through life is staggering — especially at work. The imaginary switch on their back is permanently lodged in the off position. Not surprisingly this stifles productivity, creativity, motivation, passion, happiness, and the list goes on.
Whatever the team, each member has his or her own challenges to navigate. Rarely, if ever, do all team members begin in the same place with the same circumstances, same experiences, and same skill sets. This means the path to the end result will vary for most people — even though they share the same goal.
This seems obvious… until you take a closer look at how most teams, managers, and leaders work with their head down.
There have been countless circumstances through history that have proven newer and better tools do not guarantee success. Although important, tools, technology, connections, money, and even experience are often defeated in the face of directed passion…
Like a ship in a marina, many people live their professional lives in a cubicle, docked up, tuned out, and turned off. It’s not that the cubicle itself is bad — it’s that the culture of cubicle can eventually restrict our ability to act and think outside of our current role, position, and skill set.
Staying in a harbor — any metaphoric harbor — for too long can make the open seas appear too terrifying to consider. We should be sure that we’re challenging ourselves to sail out of our safe, comfortable, and predictable environments to test our current abilities, to develop new skills, and reveal our often hidden potential.
I’m not going to beat around the bush. The constant discussions, posts, and press about the upcoming presidential elections in the United States are really starting to wear on me. But the moment I feel like disconnecting or telling people to “cool it,” I realize this is actually quite an admirable and inspirational occurrence.
Repeating behaviors, routines, assumptions, and processes is attractive because, well, it’s easy. But pressing the “repeat” each day is short-sighted. Eventually, our results taper off to a plateau (or decline), we overlook opportunities that can improve our life, and our creative muscles dystrophy.
No matter the circumstances, no matter the goal, the most important element in the equation of success is… you guessed it, YOU! This is not to say that the the greatest accomplishments are achieved single-handedly. Nor I am suggesting that the journey to success must be walked alone. In fact, I don’t believe either is an accurate description of success. Ever. …
Some people tell me they doubt that they have the drive to work towards extraordinary results. I think this can be addressed by re-framing the issue.
Instead of getting hung up on being ‘successful’ (which often involves a new self-concept that intimates many), we can also develop an intolerance for a half effort, for cutting corners, and for average results.
We may not be able to predict everything, but we can predict that there will always be uncertainty — and for that very reason, we should have a plan in place for that uncertainty. While we cannot control every aspect of life, there is almost always something that can be done to strengthen ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
When elephants are being trained to stay in one place at a very young age the trainers drive a stake deep in the ground and use a rope or chain that the elephant cannot break. After a few failed attempts to break free in the elephant’s youth, the elephant stops trying and never tests the rope again.
It’s a natural goal to want to maximize resources. But sometimes pursuing “more” causes businesses and leaders to push ahead in the wrong places in the wrong ways. As much as we’d like to think people can continue to increase hours and maintain quality of output, it simply doesn’t work. As long as humans remain human there will be a point of diminishing returns.