I don’t want a balanced life. I want an aligned life.
You want the wheels on your car aligned. When the wheels are even a little bit out of alignment, the ride is uncomfortable, the wear on tires and other parts goes up, and the vehicle works less efficiently. When the wheels are critically out of alignment the ride is unbearable, and your safety is at risk.
When things that matter in your business and your life are not in alignment:
there is conflict and discomfort; you, or your business, use more energy than you need to, and . . . → Read More: The One Thing That Matters: Alignment
There is in the human soul a desire for reproducibility. Not reproduction, (we have that for sure!), but a need to reproduce things, perfectly and repeatably.
Traditional MBA programs are built on that desire; on the belief that the behaviours that constitute good management can be learned and repeated in any context. Those programs suggest, by making management a discipline, that if you get the basic skills down, you can manage a retail business or a bank or a restaurant, each with equal success.
The trouble is, it just isn’t true. But it seems that the desire to create . . . → Read More: A System or A Symphony?
Information theory. Physics. Classical music & jazz. Monastic orders. The sciences of the brain and cognition. Statistics and probability.
Each of these disciplines have rules at the heart of them.
So why do I find myself constantly going back there to think and act out of the box? Isn’t getting out of the box, out of the rut, all about breaking the old rules?
No. This is a complete failure of insight. We are not boxed by rules. We are boxed by habits, instincts, and unexamined emotions. One prejudice creates a prison of a box more . . . → Read More: Back to the Middle to Get Outside
Ideas are easy. Consistency is hard.
I think that one of the reasons I return to that epigram so often is because of my music training. The business world has much to learn from the musical world.
In music we keep going back to the fundamentals over and over again. You keep practicing all the time. Inspiration and creativity matter, but if you are a professional, it is your chops that really matter. No one expects to get it right the first time. You make mistakes, but you keep practicing until you don’t make mistakes any more. Yes originality . . . → Read More: Play it Again. And Again. And Again.
During my classical music days, I did some research for a paper on stage fright. It can actually be a debilitating thing for some performers who otherwise are brilliant musicians. In more extreme cases medication can be used, but there is a considerable debate about how that might influence the performance. Even Adele sometimes gets physically ill before a performance.
The lesson I took from my research is that not everyone is a natural performer, but that doesn’t mean they are not a great thinker, musician, or writer.
This article from Business Insider by James Altucher provides some great . . . → Read More: Pretending Everyone In The Room is Naked Doesn’t Work
“There was never enough bread in the house.”
“She jumped as high as she could, and finally saw what she was looking for.”
“You really should go get that checked out you know.”
Three unrelated sentences; an infinite number of possibilities when combined and used as material for a story.
That is the magic of the creative process where you take a number of deliberately unrelated items and bring them into proximity to see what surprising new options emerge. The author Edward de Bono has made a career out of an approach called lateral thinking that uses this approach . . . → Read More: Improv in a Suit: Three of These Things…
Einstein spent the second half of his life searching for two things: a repudiation of quantum mechanics, and a unified theory that explained everything.
I don’t know quantum mechanics.
But the search for a unified theory I understand. In fact I have my own theory: I believe that the intersection of science (especially physics), zen buddhism, music, improvisational theatre, chocolate, red wine, and garlic, is where everything can be explained.
I have been thinking about this quote by Jim Rohn: “Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment, . . . → Read More: The Physics of Failure
The owner of a large retail chain brought me in to review the situation with a manager, Melissa, who had a great pre-promotion track record, worked long hours, and was very detail-oriented. But Melissa never got anything done on time, and her division had an unacceptably high turn-over rate.
The diagnosis? Melissa was status-blind. She didn’t understand her own status in the organization. She had no sense of her natural authority (which was considerable as she had been in the industry for a couple of decades and excelled at every position she previously had). But she couldn’t let go . . . → Read More: Are You the Ace of Spades?