January 18, 2018

Archives for November 2013

Reconciling the irreconcilable?

BridgeIt’s tempting to try and reconcile things. It resolves that cognitive dissonance that so bothers us.

We prefer to eliminate tension, and so we should when we can. It’s good to reduce differences or apparent differences.

But sometimes…

The division is too great. It’s beyond our current resources to bridge the gap. Or it’s not worth the cost. Or it’s just not possible at the moment.

Sometimes it’s better to accept that some things are beyond us for now.


Don’t try to reconcile the irreconcilable.

Better sometimes to live with the difference.

The smaller the delta, the faster the change?

Executives listening to a presentationYou’d imagine that a big difference between the status quo and a desired alternative, the faster change would be.

That might be true in a crisis. Might be.

The rest of the time it probably isn’t. Strangely perhaps, a small gap between where somebody is at and where you’d like them to move to probably means they are more likely to take action. And then they might cross another small gap and then another, and another.


Successful influence may hinge more on accurately discerning where people are at and suggesting a small, safe-seeming change than on advocacy of a comprehensive but seemingly unreachable alternative.

Even revolution may be evolution, just faster.

The authentic you… Yes, but which one?

Group of business people“Be yourself.” We’re familiar with that advice, and it’s good advice. That way we come across as authentic and “real” to other people, which they like, for the most part.

But there’s something we miss, and it makes all the difference…

We don’t really have just one version of ourselves. We have several, or a range, if you like.

So we have an element of choice: Which one should we be; how should we set the dials; what energy should we choose?

…probably for the version that is most appealing or engaging or effective in the situation, and still authentic.

Looking at it this way, we notice our responsibility, our chance to be at our best. We are in charge of ourselves again.


Which authentic version of you are you choosing?

Suspending your assumptions: Are you willing?

Senior businesswoman thinkingWe all have assumptions—beliefs about the world. We hold them pretty tight usually. We act in accordance with these beliefs, often rather unaware we’re doing so. Indeed, they tend to become part of who we are.

The result is our sense of identity gets tied up with our assumptions.

And so…

We don’t like to have them tested, much less found to be untrue. That feels personal.

And yet…

If our assumptions are wrong, our decisions are wrong, and we’re heading for a fall, or problems with other people.

Strangely perhaps, many people and organizations are quite unwilling to examine their own assumptions. Like much else, it’s an ego thing—too much indignity involved.

If we’re brave—with a strong sense of self—we can choose to “suspend” our assumptions, figuratively hanging them up for all to see. We can declare what we are assuming and put that to the test.

Not many are willing and brave enough to do this. Not many are secure enough in themselves. Not many are willing to not know, or even to be wrong.

Are you?

Better decisions beckon.

Who are your teachers?

Woman making an emphatic pointWe all have them—those people in our lives we struggle to deal with effectively. And if we find a solution with one, we can be pretty sure there’ll be another along in a minute.

It’s tempting to deal with these “difficult” people, or at least the ones we experience as difficult, by walking away, by taking ourselves out of the situation.

But actually…

In a sense, they are our teachers: In figuring out how to relate to them effectively, productively and even perhaps compassionately, we learn, mature and grow.

Turn away from them and we miss out on the learning, at least until the next opportunity, though that probably won’t be long in coming.

As they say, what we resist persists.


What we accept, we move beyond.


Who are your teachers?

And what is the learning?

Is today’s wisdom tomorrow’s foolishness?

Audience applauding, perhaps taken in by the speakerPersonally, I’m very much in favour of going to the source, and seeking out others’ experience, especially when their achievements are significant. It seems to me they’re worth paying attention to and I take some convincing we know better than they do.

I value today’s wisdom.

And yet…

Not everyone seems to see it like that. Some people are invariably suspicious of prominent sources of knowledge and tend to dismiss it as “theory,” and expect it soon to be revealed as irrelevant or just plain wrong.

Perhaps they’re right. Perhaps today’s wisdom is tomorrow’s foolishness.

Or perhaps it is of timeless value after all.

How do you tell?