Archive for September, 2015

The elephant and the rider – part 1

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

It is a fact that change is hard; even when we know there is a good reason for changing, we still struggle to live into our good intentions.  Phrases like “Well I know I shouldn’t …BUT” emerge from our lips.  Two American brothers called Dan & Chip Heath wrote a book called “Switch”, where they borrowed a metaphor first coined by Jonathan Haidt, which neatly explains this, the rider & the elephant.  There are a three key components to change:-

  1. The rational mind (the rider)
  2. The emotional mind (the elephant)
  3. The environment (the path)

The video below explains it very succinctly.

I have long said that people need a reason to change, the What is in it For Me factor.  However, if it is just a rational reason, we tend to waiver.  How many of us have failed in our resolve to lose weight or get fit?  There has to be something to fight the need for comfort and instant gratification or just bad habits.  This is the path, or our environment.  If we want to lose weight, don’t fill the fridge with yummy treats.  You have to make it easy for people to build new habits and behaviours and reward them for doing so.

    More on this tomorrow…

A different point-of-view

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

I was out walking last weekend, and our walk brought us back to town from a direction that was new to me.  I really enjoyed seeing it from a whole new perspective, laid out before me, looking at it from the opposite hill. I was then struck by the idea that here I was stimulated by seeing the landscape from a new viewpoint, and then realising when I get into a disagreement with someone it was different.  It was a little light-bulb moment.  Why shouldn’t I be just as stimulated to look at something from someone else’s viewpoint as a bit of landscape?  The answer is obvious… I like being right as much as anyone, or perhaps it is I dislike being wrong.  However, shifting to the position of simply enriching myself by enjoying a different point-of-view is a win for everyone.  I may end up in the same place, but my journey is so much more pleasant for everyone…. Just a thought. 

Windows 10 Change lessons

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Like 75 million of others, I have upgraded to Windows 10.  It has received almost hysterical praise from the tech press.  It seemed that everyone loved to hate Windows 8, so much so Microsoft skipped Windows 9 in order to distance themselves from it. I find this all slightly strange.  Granted their idea of having a single system across all their platforms, that wasn’t a single platform, or ignoring the fact that the vast majority of their installed user-base didn’t use touch screens was a mistake.  However, it was simple to bring back the much needed and loved Start button (it took less  that 5 minutes) and you were left with a stable, usable platform.  Still, the press love to bring down the mighty and everyone knows that Microsoft are bad and Apple is cool.  No one mentions the awful software that Apple releases for iTunes.  Most of the people I know who were persuaded by the svelte, sexy lines of the Mac computers found the transition painful and of limited value. 

Still the good news is that Windows 10 is good… so that is alright.  What interests me is the fact that we label change as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and we then respond to the label.  The truth is that change is always uncomfortable, even if it brings good things.  It always requires some effort, some learning and some abandoning of the familiar. To have any other expectations is at best naive and worst a lie.  Getting married is usually a much anticipated and welcome change, but it certainly requires work and adjustments in order to work. 

So next time a change is coming your way, it helps if you get your expectations right; there will be some pain, but if it is the right change, you will move forward… If not I guess, like Edison, you’ve learnt one more way not to do it!