|JUST FLY THE PLANE!
Focus on what matters.
It’s both profound and eerie to be living out this moment in history in real-time.
Everything happened so fast.
And it keeps on happening in waves. It overwhelms.
History, as you and I are living it, has taken a pivot toward the unknown.
The confirmed cases.
We watched the world change and the future shrink this week.
It turns out timelines only really matter when you’re feeling safe.
A few short days ago we could speak of five-year plans. Today, even next month feels impossible to see.
Gotta admit that I’m finding it hard to process all this. This degree of change and overwhelm plays havoc with our human sense of pace and scale.
Just Fly the Plane!
Like you, I’m finding it hard to focus forward right now.
This has become an anchoring phrase or mantra for me.
“Just fly the plane” is a phrase from one of my favorite books called “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande.
He gives an actual sample of the checklist for ENGINE FAILURE DURING FLIGHT.
The very first item on the list is “Fly the Airplane!.”
In times of extreme crisis, as pilots run through worst-case scenarios,
Figuring out what really matters at this moment is the job of a leader.
From there on, it’s all about relying on your training, experience, skill, and instincts to figure out the next right thing to do and then do it the very best that you can.
The priority is to focus on our primary responsibilities; our family, our friends, our faith, our businesses.
As we are forced to slow down, there is an opportunity to do the work we’ve put off amid the swirl and busy-ness to which we are constantly subjected.
Suddenly, all of that stuff I’ve put off, all of the things I meant to get to personally and professionally are available for me to do now.
Why I Like Checklists
It’s easy to scoff at checklists when we think of them as scrawled reminders or a glorified to-do list.
However, when a checklist outlines what really matters In a concise user-friendly format, it becomes a powerful tool.
A few things on my pandemic strategy checklist are:
1. Keeping some things that are familiar and at the same time establishing some new routines that support self-care- physical, mental, spiritual, emotional.
2. Being available for “friend support” and staying connected with you and others who are important in my life, even though we’re socially isolating and distancing.
3. Practicing self-discipline by putting some boundaries on “worry time”. I.E. not over-saturating with ongoing updates. It’s good to stay informed. Overdoing it can lead to anxiety-fuelled fatigue.
4. Getting back to some of those personal and work projects that have been waiting. Especially those under finished “deep work” type projects that require uninterrupted focus.
5.Taking things (and days) one at a time. Finding ways to help and support others less fortunate.
6. Finding gratitude and joy in the things that I can do. Making a checklist of things to get back to once this blows over.
I can’t pretend to know what happens next.
We all have to focus forward.
Until next time,
Are you finding this article useful? There’s more at #HeyWhatsNext?
PS I’m working with several clients right now to chart their course through this unique moment.
Each business has challenges, but each call ends with greater clarity.
Each person leaves with a plan that makes sense for them, even in times of uncertainty.
All you need for our first call is your time and attention; I’ll bring mine as well. Ready to get started? Let’s connect.
On “Banes and Biases”. Fears large and small that hold us back
First the Banes
Once upon a time, there was a king of great fortune and power.
He ruled his empire with tyrannical zeal.
History has it that he wasn’t particularly gifted in either administration or military prowess. He made a futile attempt at rebranding himself as a “philosopher-king”. He even hired Plato as an executive coach for a while. Like most tyrants, he wasn’t very coachable, so that whole thing didn’t pan out.
One day one of his pandering courtiers commented. “Gee. It must be really cool being King with all that luxury and power and stuff!”
His reply: “Oh yeah? You just try it and see if you can last a whole day!”
Note to reader: I’m paraphrasing liberally.
So arrangements were made for this up-sucker to be King for a day. Unbeknown to him, the King arranged to have a heavy sword suspended directly over the throne by a single hair from a horse’s tail. He wanted to convey the imminent and ever-present threat of fear and peril faced by those in positions of great power.
Of course, when the dude became aware of the hanging sword, he started pleading with the King to get out of the deal. He departed in shame and disgrace.
This anecdote, known as “Sword of Damocles” originated in the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse around the 4th Century BC. This story has survived 25 centuries and surfaces frequently in popular culture, including novels, feature films, television series, video games, and music.
It’s one of the better examples of a “bane”.
Bane -A cause of harm, ruin, or death or thing or situation which causes a prolonged state of impending doom or misfortune. IE Superman and kryptonite, Green Lantern and Sinestro, etc.
A bane has a fear-enhancing, debilitating, and paralyzing effect.
As a kid in the days of the cold war nuclear threat, I remember drills at school where we’d have to curl up tightly under our desks whenever the siren wailed. It occurred to me that if I was to be vaporized by a Russian nuke, I’d at least like the dignity of being seated upright. My friend, weird Freddy, reasoned that the “curl-up-tight” instruction was so that we could kiss our collective rear ends good-bye. He may have been right
To this day, when I hear that certain siren noise, my heart rate goes for sprint and I’m instinctively looking around for a desk to crawl under.
In an address before the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 25, 1961, JFK said:
“Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman, and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, or miscalculation, or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.”
– John F. Kennedy
Eventually, Kennedy’s message took hold. The threat of mutually assured mass destruction via a superpower grudge match subsided. Corrective steps were taken through detente and nuclear nonproliferation agreements.
It wasn’t that long ago we were all about to be fried to a crisp by that massive hole in the ozone layer caused by aerosol overuse and bovine methane emissions. That was about the same time the world was about to be thrown into complete mayhem by the Y2K bug.
These days, the new “bane of our existence” is more about rapid global warming, being awash in a sea of our own garbage and the specter of rogue AI.
It’s worth noting that the true fear factor of the sword and the siren represent possible harm.
“We are more often frightened than hurt, and we suffer more from imagination than reality.
Nothing close to the extreme outcomes that were portrayed actually happened. The mere prospect raises primal fears.
Politicians, news outlets, home alarm salesmen and others understand this well. All too often this foible of human nature gets exploited by playing to our deepest fears.
There are times when the danger is very clear and present. In these instances, swift appropriate action needs to be taken.
If it’s something that only appears to be potentially dangerous, that’s a different story.
The key here is to distinguish between what’s “possible” and what’s “probable”.
Many scary things are possible. Most of them aren’t probable.
Now on to the Biases
These are much more common garden variety type fears.
“Bias” is a geometry term referring to a slanted line. These days it’s better known as a reference to a slanted viewpoint based on emotions
or misplaced beliefs that misinform our decisions and actions.
“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
My crack at the explanation:
Because we’re inundated with tens of thousand bits of data and we can only process about 40 concepts at a time, our brain goes into “hack mode” and automatically starts spitting out answers from our caveman software memory bank.
• We all have firmly held beliefs that aren’t necessarily factual
• We all don’t know everything.
• Therefore, some of those beliefs are incomplete, misguided, or wrong.
This applies to everyone, including me. Admitting I’m wrong about something I firmly believe means admitting I haven’t fully thought things through. Herein lies the ultimate stuck-ness.
Fully aware that I’m wrong about something, but unable to admit being wrong about anything. Huh!
Biases cause great ideas to get stymied, resolve to evaporate and produce unreasonable anxiety over one’s capabilities.
Our friends at Wikipedia have listed approximately 200 plus biases. Workwise, I run into some of these all the time. The Ostrich bias and Information bias come up a lot.
Most of these biases adversely affect belief formation, business and economic decisions, and human behavior in general.
The “Knowing-Doing Gap” was one of the first leadership books that explained at a granular level how individual and group biases actually prevail in preventing knowledge to be turned into action.
Sometimes it’s a bias for the plain old status quo can derail ideas and thwart progress.
Does “but we’ve never done it that way before” sound familiar?
Ok if the status quo is working well. Not ok if it’s not.
Admittedly, I have a few personal biases that may not be listed anywhere that I believe are useful.
For example, I have a firm bias against standing in a long line up for coffee at you know where. (starts with S)
It’s my Life’s- just- plain- too short- to -stand in line bias.
Another useful one is my Anti – BS bias.
I can usually dial my BS detector down around teachers, nurses, farmers and pilots because their personal incentive to deceive is near zero.
Then again, there are otherwise good, honest people who spout nonsense and promote wild ideas based on beliefs that are shaped by the power of fears, paychecks or social status.
In conclusion, – banes and biases. We all have them. Once you know exactly what they are, you can name them, face them and develop some workaround strategies that move you forward.
Until next time.
Got any cool or unusual biases you care to share?
Shoot me a note or leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it.
If you’re enjoying this monthly article and the Winning Habits Challenge, feel free to forward it to a friend.
You might just win a referral Taco on me. It’s been known to happen.
Are there “stages of? ….building blocks for?…. formulas or recipes?
I recently ran into a business friend from many years ago.
We’d known each other when we were both grinding it out through a dismal time in the construction industry.
We’d agreed to catch up over a Starbucks. Now here we were.
Phil is a burly guy with a kind of brusque manner and voice that is permanently set on “outdoor” volume.
After some opening banter, he pauses and then declares (outside voice).
“I googled you man. You’re a freaking 40-year overnight success!”
The conversations around us fell silent. I could feel multiple laser stares aimed right at me.
His spontaneous outburst and the absurd hilarity of it all caught me off guard. Something welled up and I bust out laughing and couldn’t stop.
He joined in full volume, enjoying the dramatic effects of his own comedic delivery. When our moment of mirth subsided, the surrounding conversations came back to the normal Starbucks level.
As with any honest humor, it’s usually wrapped around a nugget of truth. This was no different.
Examples of “success” in any field if examined, come after a ton of hard work, sacrifices made and obstacles overcome over extended periods of time.
When you talk “success” and how you actually define or quantify it, the definition tends to vary.
A quick G search of the word renders 210 million hits in .64 seconds so it’s obviously top of mind for lots of people.
For some folks, it’s about money. Ok, probably for most folks that’s the measuring stick for comparison.
For others, it might be house size or being able to travel to faraway places. For others, it’s about a relationship to their family; for some it’s faith, and for many, it’s honestly just staying alive another month. The definition of the term will change relative to where you’re at in life, probably dozens of times.
The part I love most about my work is helping clients figure out what success looks like for them. Then we start navigating obstacles, achieving more or getting better at something – a.k.a. becoming “successful.”
Because most of us spend on average 1/3 of our life (about half of our waking hours) pursuing a livelihood to make ends meet, it’s important to have some sort of scaffolding or contextual framework around how to think about this concept.
From observation and experience, there are some underlying factors to success in any realm.
Wealth is definitely an easily understood way of keeping score, but if that‘s the only way then look out!
Ok – back to the point.
Because the wealth/success thing has such an overshadowing effect, I’ll get it out of the way in this months’ post.
We’ll deal with the other success factors in future posts.
I love it when someone else writes a brilliant article around something I’ve been thinking. Moreover, they absolutely nail it.
In this instance, kudos to American venture capitalist Morgan Housel who has provided a remarkable essay ranking every type of wealth and poverty.
It’s equal parts enlightening, entertaining, surprising and useful for perspective.
Stage one of 19 on the wealth spectrum begins where you would expect – complete dependence on others for sustenance – but quickly jumps to people who have money and assets but are impoverished in other ways.
Stage four is a cautionary tale, “Your lifestyle expectations consistently grow faster than your income and assets. Adaptive poverty.” Stage seven is too: “Your entire personality is built upon the appearance of being wealthy, attracting a predatory social group that will abandon you.”
The stages of wealth start looking attractive around number 13, where you love your job enough that it feels like a hobby and pays more than you ever expected.
I’ll let you go on to discover the highest stage of wealth – the psychological equivalent of the Forbes billionaires list.
The overriding revelation in the piece is that wealth is often as much a matter of perspective as it is a sum of money.
Folks who are deeply envious and generally insecure are unlikely to feel wealthy no matter how big their investment account becomes.
Those with close family ties and social connections can feel content with far less.
Another poignant revelation of this innovative list is that we often fail to recognize the wealth of all types that we already have.
Phil’s perception of my alleged success was that somehow I had “arrived”.
My read on the same scenario was that I was merely “staying on track and keeping going.”
Huh! Guess that’s the kind of stuff that makes life interesting.
Like Abe, I had some friends who believed in me. I didn’t want to let them down.
Until next time!
Note to Reader: This “Success” article will probably wind up being one of a three-part series into 2020, so stay tuned.
Ok I made that up, but I’m pretty sure it’s a thing.
It has to do with your personal leadership credibility.
We all know about IQ. It’s your Intelligence quotient score derived from some standardized tests.
So if we can quantify that, it’s not too big a leap to apply “quotient” to other important things
Like FQ – Frustration Quotient. How frustrated am I ?
Or TQ – What’s the level of Truth in this situation?
Or B.S.Q -What’s the level of …well you know.
There are many other Q’s and I could go on, but will resist.
I’m Talking About “Authenticity Quotient”
It’s like your personal credibility rating, or integrity score but so much more.
I’m surprised at how many leaders have a specific work persona and a whole different person shows up elsewhere. And it surprises me when these same leaders seem shocked or confused when their employees don’t trust them, don’t like them, and can’t really wait to work elsewhere.
Authenticity in leadership is one of those things everybody declares to be super important. Many groups and organizations I work with have an “authenticity lingo” baked in to their core values (I.E. authentic culture, authentic relationships etc.)
To me, when someone self-references the word in anything other than an aspirational context, they’ve broken some sort of spell. The moment you have to self -declare a trait like this, you’re probably not a representative of that trait. It’s something you either are or you ain’t. At its essence, it’s one of those rare know-it-when-you-see-it qualities that if you have to spend a lot of time talking about it or trying to analyze it, it simply evaporates. Like wind, you can’t see it, but you’re highly aware when you see its effects.
Before diving in, I’ll offer a soft disclaimer. Nobody’s appointed me official spokesperson on “authenticity”. But if that job existed– how cool would that be? I can speak for myself and offer some good examples of authenticity that I’ve observed.
I firmly believe that leadership is more important than ever before, yet true leaders are in short supply. There’s also a huge crisis of confidence in leaders.
I firmly believe that leadership is more important than ever before, yet true leaders are in short supply. There’s also a huge crisis of confidence in leaders. Something weird happened with the rise of the internet. Our humanness, relationships and accountability got reduced to a bunch of 0’s and 1’s, making sketchy leadership all the more possible. With multi-media bombardment and the rise of “truthiness” (thanks Stephen Colbert), we find ourselves increasingly attracted to the wrong type of charismatic leaders.
“I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.” Charles R. Swindoll
Here are some hallmark characteristics of authentic leadership at work:
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” ― Brene Brown
Being authentic is a work in progress and an endless process of growth.
It always starts with a critical and honest look in the mirror. Authentic leaders believe that there is always room for improvement and never stop.
Building and maintaining your AQ is hard work, but it pays off in the long term. It is like exercising: While you are training, you feel tired, but you know it is good for your body. Staying authentic in leadership and life is not easy, but it can be observed, measured and learned.
Until next time!
Here for you.
Hi there !
If you’re new to our tribe, (even if you’re not) here’s the deal.
My name is Lorne and top of each month I’ll send you my very best ideas and truth powered concepts.
I’m a slightly irreverent, non conforming, modern day elder with a strong bent to make a dent in today’s messed up world.
One of the best ways I do this is by helping us become better servant leaders and difference-makers right where we’re at.
I write about the business of life, leadership, community and relationships and how that all intersects with our quirky human nature.
Basically, I’ll tackle anything that gets us down the road toward our vision of service to others.
Hopefully this is a bit of “leadership jet fuel” that serves to inform, inspire and focus us for the month ahead.
BTW. Did I mention I like coffee? I’m still working my way through that monster bag of Torrefaction Foncee’ espresso beans that Margaret brought home last month. It brews up nicely with “crema”. It’s that tawny, caramel-y layer of micro foam that occurs when you get the just right amount of super heated hydraulic pressure forced through roasted and ground-to-perfection beans. It’s a sort of holy grail for true espresso lovers.
My tastebuds are doing the mamba right there in my mouth.
Stop it guys!
Ok. Take a moment and get yourself a cuppa whatever you love. I’ll wait right here and enjoy mine.
Once you’re back, we can walk through some important ideas together.
I love this story.
It’s about four people on an aircraft that has only three parachutes.
There was a genius, a minister (rabbi, imam, priest, spiritual advisor of your choice) a Boy Scout and of course, the pilot.
Sure enough, about an hour into the flight, the engine catches fire.
The pilot, highly trained in emergencies, promptly locks the controls, grabs one of the parachutes, says “follow me” and bails out.
The genius stands up and says, “I’m the world’s smartest man! The world really needs me”
He grabs one and jumps out leaving the minister and the scout.
The minister looks at the boy and says, “Son– you have your whole life before you. You take the last parachute.”
The scout answers “Don’t sweat it, mister. The world’s smartest man just bailed out with my backpack!”
There are emergencies happening all around us. We often stake our entire future on the survival gear that we’re carrying. These could include good works, possessions, faith, money, education, training, grit, merit or status.
Fact is, we all go through life carrying stuff around with us. Not all of it is useful or good.
There’s the stuff we’ve latched on to that we can’t seem to let go of.
Other stuff we hang onto because we think it defines us and somehow or make us cool or special.
There are experiences and traumas that leave an indelible mark. Memories are very real. They can linger in the pathways of our brain for years, sometimes decades. When triggered, they can unleash a flood of cortisol- fuelled “fight or flight” emotions.
At age eighteen, I was involved in a horrific car crash. My friends and I were able to walk away with only stitches, a broken ankle, and deep bruises. That didn’t lessen the emotional impact.
Huddling dazed and shaken beside the road, we watched as the grotesquely twisted, pancaked pile of metal erupted into a flaming fireball, lighting up the rainy night sky. We could have been in there.
I relived the moments of the crash in slow motion again and again in the form of nightmares for years to follow.
It was an event that left me profoundly changed in ways I didn’t immediately understand. It infused me with an awareness of the fragile preciousness of life.
The dawn of each new day, every pleasure, every pain, every second is a gift.
Each relationship and each human interaction no matter how fleeting has eternal value. It left me with a fierce, deep-down resolve to fully live each day with intent, meaning, and purpose.
I mention this as an example. It’s now a distant memory and I rarely think of it anymore. It just became a part of me. It’s part of the everyday survival gear I carry,
On a side note, to this day this experience informs my engrained defensive driving habits You never know how fast you’re really going until you leave the road and start crashing into stuff.
Trust me on that one.
When it comes to real life backpacks, I’m a huge fan.
It’s my favorite aisle at Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Being fairly active, I have a dedicated “go-bag“ that keeps me organized and ready for just about everything I do. My video gear bag has everything I need to capture great stories. My fishing backpack has entirely different stuff than my hiking bag. My book bag of dog-eared reads and my Kindle is always nearby. My work backpack has everything I’ll need for that particular workday. Daypacks, overnighters, weekenders. The list goes on.
There comes a point when I need to get down and dirty, dump everything out and re-assess my stock of baggage items I carry.
Is this still useful? Does it bring me joy or cause anxiety? Is this essential for my well-being or survival?
Does it help me help others?
If you ever meet my friend, Nita, there’s a couple of things that’ll stand out. You’ll note she is smallish and compact with a cheery disposition and a winsome smile. The other thing you’ll note is her ginormous backpack that she packs around like some kind of urban Sherpa.
When I ask her “Nita, what all do you have in there?”, she smiles mysteriously and says “oh, …many important things.“
Every time she heaves it up and slings it on, there’s a moment of teetering uncertainty until the load centers, balance is regained, and off she goes.
She recently admitted- “Sometimes, when I can’t find something in the house, I just have to remember to check in my backpack and quite often, there it is.“
I may never know what’s in Nita’s bag.
I do know whatever it is, it’s definitely working for her.
What kind of baggage do you carry?
When it comes to life’s baggage, each of us carries something different.
If you’ve ever been wrongly accused, cheated or abandoned, you might have trouble trusting.
If you ever were made to feel ridiculed or put down, you might have trouble feeling acceptance or worth.
The more you know about your own personal baggage, the better equipped you are to handle situations that arise.
Life can certainly become burdensome at times. We all know this is true. Carrying the dead weight of the wrong kind of baggage just makes matters worse. Have the right stuff in your backpack for life. Recognize what needs to stay behind.
Something to think about.
Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. -Charles Dudley Warner
Have a great month of October!
Until next time.
Smatterings From My Liminal Summer Brain.
I just got back from some serious cabin time. It’s my high country wilderness “analog retreat”. Here I can read, think, pray and do some blue sky dreaming about how to lead creatively in a world that can get chaotic at times. How to make life richer, more fulfilling, and meaningful for those I love.
I have a confession to make.
It’s an addiction that crops up every now and then. Especially in summer, I definitely fall off the wagon. My addiction fills my deep-down need to create order out of chaos and build things.
No, it’s not messing up my life or anything. I don’t think it’s time for an intervention. But still, it’s ever-present, lurking, tempting.
It’s my struggle with Tetris. There. I said it!
It’s that amazingly simple yet addictive puzzle game where a colorful procession of seven different pieces falls endlessly into a geometric hodgepodge. I have to strategically rotate, move, arrange and drop the tiles at ever-increasing speeds. If I clear as many lines as possible by completing horizontal rows of blocks without empty space, I’m rewarded by achieving a new level. If I fall behind in the process and the unarranged shapes surpass the skyline then –BAM! Game over.
Tetris Life Lessons (With Some Bruce Lee Thrown In For Kicks)
Let’s face it. Games and sports are hugely analogous to life. The term “Tetris Effect” became a way to describe how players were inspired by the game in everyday situations.
Because Tetris, like the real world, challenges you to establish order out of chaos using an organizational system. There are transferable concepts everywhere in real life. Everything from packing the car trunk, loading a dishwasher, or building a team or an organization. How’s that next thing going to fit for optimum efficiency? That’s the Tetris Effect!
Focus, Focus, Focus
It’s called it being ‘in the zone”. This near-meditative state can happen in all aspects of life, from playing chess to driving in rush hour. Being in the zone is nothing more than achieving a heightened state of focus. A good example is 16-year-old gold medal gymnast Laurie Hernandez set to do a balance beam routine at the 2016 Rio Olympics. There’s intensity in her eyes and she can be seen to mouth the words “I got this“ just ahead of her near-flawless performance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfsf2gbR4K8
Whether you’re playing Tetris or writing a funding proposal, this level of mental intensity is not easy to achieve. Figure out how to get there, then stay as long as you can. When it slips away, take a break. Take 20 or 30 minutes to grab a snack or go for a walk. Let your mind rest, then come back and start again.
You can’t always get what you want (Rolling Sones)
You build and build and wait for a “straight” piece to clear off a whole bunch. Guess what? The stick is just one of the 7 pieces that fall, so chances are 7 to 1 you won’t get what you want. Not right away, at least. You’ll get something you think might work, but then you’ll get something that doesn’t fit at all, and you’ll get three or four clunkers in a row. In real life, this translates to settling for something that’s not quite right or ending up in a job that pays the bills but shrivels the soul. Know what? It’s not the end of the world. Patience my friend, Eventually the right piece shows.
But if you try sometimes you might find, You get what you need (More Stones)
I used to think “Tetris or nothing” stacking and stacking, holding out way too long. Sometimes I would get a stick at the right time, and get my Tetris. Most of the time, however, I would just stack everything up to the top and that would be the end of my game. Sometimes it’s ok to knock off two or three lines at a time and keeping everything manageable and mediocre while waiting for the big move. The key is to sustain and survive until you see your opportunity for that big move. Keep your end goals in mind, but don’t feel bad about making some mediocre moves along the way.
You gotta have faith.
You know what you want. Just a bunch of shapes that come together then the stick piece at just the right time. right? Well, take heart and know that there is always a stick piece coming. Good things are out there, but you must be patient. Keep at it, have faith, and eventually, the right pieces fall into place.
You can’t rely on faith alone.
Strategy helps. The Tetris powers that be seem to favor those who indulge in a bit of planning. Faith is important because there is definitely a stick piece coming. Having a strategy and plan is equally important. Sure, the left side of the screen tracks each piece, but it doesn’t give you the bigger picture or help you predict the immediate future. A little forethought can go a long way. Keep your game manageable as you practice patience. Get a line here and there, keep yourself in the game. Before you know it bingo, you’re on a roll.
Bias for action beats doing nothing.
The number one killer in the game of Tetris is overthinking and hesitation. “Should I put it here, or flip it over there?” This might translate into, “Should I take this course or apply for this position or that one?” Speed in dealing with circumstances and opportunities matters in business and in life. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study.
Spend too much time mulling as the pieces fall, and you miss out. Think about what you do, but DO SOMETHING!
The more you do it, the better you get.
The more time you spend playing, the higher your average score. The same goes for life. A great photographer takes a lot of pictures to come up with several that are exceptional. If you’re a writer, write a lot of stories. Little by little, more and more of them will be good. Same with anything. Keep at it, you’ll get better.
It doesn’t get easier
Your reward for doing well? You get to it all again, only tougher!
In Bruce Lee’s final film, the hero yips, yowls, and Eee…yahs! his way to the top of a multi-level pagoda, crushing bad guys of different fighting styles on each floor. His quest is to retrieve something sacred, though it’s never named.
On each floor, the opponents are more badass-y than the last. On the top floor, he faces the towering 7’2” Kareem Abdul Jabbar, whose martial arts style and prowess match his own.
You can watch this epic battle here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ic2k2P_FG0
When he discovers the big man’s vulnerability to light, that’s the tactical advantage our feisty little hero needs to prevail.
Remember. No one is asking you start on the 19th level. But if you’ve already gotten past the first 18, then why not try?
Turn off the music.
When I’m driving and looking intently for a street address, I instinctively turn off the music to help me look.
Don’t know exactly how that works but it does.
When you stack your pieces too high, the music in Tetris speeds up. This creates the illusion that the pieces are moving faster. They aren’t. Don’t cave or freak out. Music distraction only diverts your focus. Know your deadlines, but don’t worry about them. Keep your objective in mind, and finish strong.
I love it when a plan comes together
The whole reason I and millions of others play Tetris is that every now and then you get that perfect coming together. Piece-piece-piece-TETRIS! Piece-piece-TETRIS! Sometimes it just flows, and it all fits together perfectly.
I love that feeling. It’s the best. No one expects life to work like that all the time, but sometimes it does.
Love it, appreciate it, and know that it’s ok to look forward to it.
What’s your favorite summertime game obsession? And why?
Visit me at https:// LorneEpp.com and drop me a line. I’d love to hear what’s going on for you this summer.
Until next time.
Opening up this blogpost is one of the better decisions you’ll make today. You’re one step closer to being a smarter, happier, and just generally more interesting and well-adjusted human being. Way to go!
Every month you can look forward to a hand-crafted, expertly curated blogpost and update from me on the 1st of every month except when that falls on Sundays. That’s because I like to slack off on Sundays and do other super cool things that others might not understand.
I write about life, leadership, faith, relationships, hard work and connecting the dots to try and make it all come together. I love learning new things and I love helping others do better. My goal with this monthly reach out is to propel us toward excellence in becoming better servant leaders. Most importantly, it keeps us tracking with each other and our work together.
Grab a cup of your favorite hot drink and let’s hang out for a bit. I’m tending a mug of ambrosial Guatemala blend. It’s a Christmas gift that I’m trying to make last. Thanks, out there.
You know who you are.
Dealing With My Monkey Brain
So I’m at Starbucks with my friend Brad, solving the world’s problems over a Grande Americano and he asks a vaguely disquieting question.
“How are you really doing with this whole resignation thing? “ I could have easily skated around that one with a stock “doing ok.” In a moment of radical candor, I had to confess there were times I was was dealing with the monkeys in my brain on this one.
This doesn’t happen often for me, but it does happen. You know how your mind can race around in 14 directions?
Monkey Brain Syndrome is “brain gone wild” due to excessive multi-tasking and hurried activities fueled by addictive technology, media stimuli overload, and the rigours of everyday life demands.
Our 86 billion neutrons in our brain that regulate our thinking/feeling processes get over charged and start crashing into each other at warp speed. The next thing you know, the thinking/feeling train starts coming off the track.
Engaging in this frenetic brain activity has diminished our ability to complete simple tasks accurately, think clearly, accomplish a fulfilling day’s work, maintain a healthy body, develop meaningful relationships, grow and have fun.
We may be at risk of losing control of our most important personal asset,- focussed brain power.
The term “monkey brain” was originally attributed to Buddha more than 2500 years ago,
He described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly.
Today in the 21st century, his observations are as relevant as they were then. The digital age and smartphones are actually re-wiring our brains to have shorter and shorter attention spans.
A 2015 survey of Canadian media consumption by Microsoft concluded that the average adult attention span has fallen to 8 seconds, down from 12 in the year 2000.
We now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish!
We think in McNugget time. Informational flotsam and jetsam flows unfiltered, along with the meaningful stuff in an eternal stream. We get a feel-good hit of dopamine from the perception that we’re getting things done.
Seems I can’t wait for a haircut, or stand in line at the bank, or even pause long enough for the microwave to ding, without fighting a reflexive urge to sneak a peek at my smartphone. It seems the last digital micro-high only accelerates the need for another one.
Here are some of the symptoms of Monkey Brain Syndrome
**Hurry Up Sickness **is closely related to Monkey Brain Syndrome
To some degree, we all have monkey minds with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for our attention. Fear is an especially obnoxious monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong. Ego, is very loud, pushy monkey and wants a lot of airtime. Then there’s Doubt, Not-Good- Enough, Rationalization. Perfection and Procrastination and Rebellion all on a rampage, swinging from limb to limb, agitated and noisy.
I’ve been around long enough to have developed a few personal antidote strategies.
Author Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life) has three great questions to help manage our emotions.
1. “What’s the real reason I’m feeling this?”
Maybe the answer is fear or worry. Maybe it relates to something someone said to you years ago that was never resolved.
2. “Is it true?”
Is what you’re feeling at that moment true? Have a good listen to what you hear yourself saying . You’re acting like you’re the only one trying to do the right thing in the whole world! No. That’s not true.”
3. “Is what I’m feeling helping me or hurting me?”
Will you get what you want by continuing to feel this way? A lot of feelings we have seem natural, but they’re actually self-defeating.
Let’s say you go to a restaurant, and the service is extremely slow. You wait a long time to be served, and then a couple comes in 15 minutes after you and gets their food before you do. You get increasingly more irritated until you feel something welling up inside you.
What’s the real reason you’re feeling that way? You’re hungry!
Is it true? Yes. You’re frustrated because the service is slow. But is your emotion helping or hurting? It’s hurting. Do you get better service by getting angry with the server? Absolutely not.
Does nagging work? Has it ever worked? When somebody tells you all the things you’re doing wrong, does it make you want to change? No! All it does is make you defensive.
When you ask yourself these three questions, you get a better grip on why you feel the way you do and what you need to do to help the situation.
That’s called managing your emotions.
Brad’s deadpan assessment?
“Don’t feed the monkeys!”
Have great month of March!
Got any monkey’s you’re dealing with right now? I’d love to hear about it.
Seriously, hit me up. Here to help.
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