Time for Change

We all know someone who consistently goes through the same problems over and over. It could be jobs or relationships, some people go through relationships like painters go through painters pants.

We try to help these repeat offenders by making suggestions when they come to us with a series of why statements wondering what they are doing wrong. And while we know they can hear us talking, they fail to take the necessary actions to change, and you guessed it, they make the same mistakes all over again. These individuals have no control over their lives. None.

People like that think they have life figured out, and their lies the problem. In order to correct a problem, we need to first recognize the problem. We are historically bad at identifying our own problems. This is why repeat offenders fail. They fail to take the time to identify the problem and to make necessary changes to correct it.

Those who have not identified their mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them.

As for the bystanders, the helpers, the ones who often know others better than they know themselves, there is only so much we can do to help them aside from grabbing them by the neck and showing them whats best for them, and they still resist change.

The Solution:

Trust in others close to you to help you identify the problem and listen to what they tell you. Pay close attention. You are not going to want to hear that what you’ve been doing your whole life is wrong, trust me, you will resist. The key to fixing the problem is “undoing” whatever is causing the problem. The solution will always require change.

Time Stands Still

Understanding anything requires time, analysis, and attention to detail.  We need to pause life to gain a better understanding of things around us. The camera serves as a useful study tool, it allows time to stand still so we can see what is truly going on.

Let’s say, for example, we were one of many people who saw a multi-car accident and each of us questioned as a witness about what happened. Each of us may give similar stories with varying details. Some of us will be vague in our recollection. Some of us will be very confident and detailed about what happened. But can we trust our perception? Can we trust our memory? Well, they say eye-witness accounts are lousy.

I saw it with my own two eyes.

According to a report by the Innocence Project, since the 1990s, when DNA testing was first introduced, Innocence Project researchers reported 73 percent of the 239 convictions overturned through DNA testing were based on eyewitness testimony. Elizabeth F. Loftus of the University of California, Irvine, memory researcher and psychologists describes memory recollection as “more akin to putting puzzle pieces together than retrieving a video recording.”

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
— Henry David Thoreau

A photo or video contains details better than our mind can recall. A photo is a record of time. We can study photos for details or clues. I rely heavily on taking photos at work. I learned not to trust my memory to recall every detail. I often find myself gaining a new understanding each time I study the same photo over a course of time. I can study a photo today and one year from now, see something completely different. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Frugal Illusion

Jim always looks for good deals. He is all about saving money. Jim spends many hours looking for cheap help.

Anything to save a buck, Jim says.

Jim was outraged by the bids he received for a project he was working on. He thought it would be a good idea to save money by doing some of the work himself.

So Jim spends $2,400 on rental equipment and the next 30 days doing some of the work to save $700 off the bid.

Jim is smart. Be like Jim.

The Lesson

Everything we touch and interact with at work on a daily basis is a piece of the puzzle. Combined they are pieces of the big picture. Each piece holds a value within our work environment. It could be our customers, a brush, a roller, or the drill used to remove hardware. All of the pieces play a role in our success. The pieces have the potential to make or break our business. Never underestimate how little things can make a big difference.

The people who have become successful in business recognize the importance of using good pieces. It could be their customers, sales team, estimators, marketing, products, whatever. The underlying message I’ve pushed throughout the last 20 years is to get “good pieces.”

The more good pieces we use, the better.

The next time we give an estimate, or make a new hire, or buy a new brush, roller, or sprayer, ask yourself, “Is this a good piece of the puzzle?” Is this a good fit? Does this piece fit good with the other pieces? We need to avoid allowing our emotions get in the way of clear thinking and stop making poor decisions.

When we make choices based on how much money we saved on gallon of paint or primer, or a brush, or a new hire ⎯- we are basing our decisions on the wrong principles for the system that ultimately makes us money. Sometimes we need to step back and carefully look at the pieces.

Always be thinking… smart decisions = smart results.

Necessary but not Sufficient

Using something such as a paint brush is not sufficient to understanding it in the same way reading a book is not sufficient to understanding it. The Bible is an exceptional example because it can be read and interpreted differently, however, that does not mean we understand it. We think we understand until we take a closer look and different parsing of the text “in context” of Scripture.

The brush, although a necessary part of painting, may not be sufficient for reaching our full potential in the same way reading a book on Goals is no guarantee we’ll ever achieve goals. We need to understand why we fail at accomplishing things to avoid failure.

Understanding anything takes a disciplined, data-driven methodology to distinguish the difference between thinking we understand and knowing we understand. I am all for wanting to do things the easy way or take the shortest route, but I know, that only gets me so far. Let’s face it, we need to step outside our comfort zone to make things happen. We need to think and look at things differently.

Necessary But Not Sufficient
Eliyahu M. Goldratt , Carol A. Ptak

Good Reads

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading (A Touchstone book) Revised Edition
Mortimer J. Adler

Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience Reprint Edition
Michael S. Gazzaniga

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge Reprint Edition
Edward O. Wilson

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Malcolm Gladwell

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
Laszlo Bock

M. Mitchell Waldrop

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
Cal Newport, Ph.D.

Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition
Michael J. Mauboussin

Intuition: Its Powers and Perils (Yale Nota Bene)
David G. Myers

God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment
Scott Adams

Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America First Edition
Barbara Ehrenreich

Research Methods and Statistics: A Critical Thinking Approach 5th Edition
Sherri L. Jackson

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Ed Catmull

Daniel C. Dennett

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
Malcolm Gladwell

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business
Charles Duhigg

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
Peter Thiel , Blake Masters

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself
David McRaney

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
Michael Lewis

Know Things

Do you know how when you read the Bible and all of a sudden it hits you and you realize God’s higher power and intelligence makes everything you thought you knew seem a bit silly?

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding
— Proverbs 3:13

It’s like that. #perspective

We tend to think we know things only to discover someone else knows more. We should keep an open mind and listen carefully because there is a difference between thinking we know and knowing. Let me share a valuable lesson I’ve learned being in business 30 years.

We won’t fix anything correctly until the problem is fully understood.

A team of researches at the University of Oregon explored the link between cognitive control and intelligence in several ways including an attempt to raise intelligence by improving the control of attention.

In one exercise they found test participants were prone to answer questions with the first idea that comes to mind and unwilling to invest the effort needed to check their intuitions. Theses individuals scored low on the test.

Power of Deception

The greatest thing preventing the truth from revealing itself to you is, believing you already discovered it. We need to be carful not to hold so tightly to any belief in place of new evidence. Our beliefs should always be in flux because we are constantly learning; basically how science works. People often have difficulty changing their beliefs. We can witness the struggle by how people handle new evidence. Rather than accepting new evidence, they’ll often argue in favor of their false beliefs.

People tend to deceive themselves because they lack the necessary knowledge or discipline required to discover the truth. It could be the Bible, a product, a conspiracy theory, whatever. No one who is deceived believes they are deceived and no one is exempt from being deceived. Deception is in full-force all of the time. It’s everyone’s problem.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
— Richard Feynman

Surely you’ve heard, “the devil is in the details.” It simply means the details of a matter are its most problematic aspect. Once we understand the details, only then we discover truth. Few people bother searching for the truth. Information today is too readily available and easily acquired without questioning it. People dislike discovering when they are wrong because discovering the truth requires facing a reality of deception.

When the mind of a person under strong deception is called into question, they often turn to an attitude of resistance, name calling, and sometimes anger. It becomes difficult acknowledging they have been deceived, either by their own doing, or by something learned elsewhere. The truth about their situation becomes that much more painful. It should not be about being right or wrong, it should be about discovering and knowing the truth.

Can I Be Wrong

One of the things I find most interesting about what I do is discovering the insignificance in what others do or teach. It’s not an intentional endeavor, rather the result of a natural process. Elon Musk also touched on this area in an interview with Khan Academy.

You can sit through countless seminars, read books, studies and academic papers all you want, but if what you’re consuming doesn’t matter, you’re wasting your time. We need to be able to trace back to the root of things to get a clearer picture and better understanding of what is important, what is not, and where our focus should be.

People act on their priorities. Observe closely.
Paul Carrick Brunson

We tend to go through a process in our mind called confirmation bias where we search for things that support what we believe rather than searching for things to disprove what we believe. If all we ever do is search for things to support our beliefs, we ignore all of the things to validate their significance. We ignore the inconvenient truth. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning.

By definition, its wrong.

We need to be able to look at our presuppositions then probe our presuppositions for coherence. Once we impose a systematic treatment of our beliefs with a specific eye, we take-away a different parsing of how we look at things. There is nothing so useless as wasting time on meaningless things.