Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nonsense-at-Work Newsletter

by James H. Mcintosh
Consultant, Writer, Coach and Speaker

February 2009

Cooperate to compete, or struggle easier

People are strange. We dominate the planet mainly because of our ability to work together and yet we compete with each other like crazy.

Our ability for premeditated team work has enabled us to expand our horizons beyond our wildest dreams. And as our reality has expanded to match our dreams we have increased our need to know where we fit in the scheme of things.

Here’s the really strange bit. Our sense of self-worth is mostly based on comparison with others. In other words, I measure myself against my neighbors and colleagues.

Sadly, what this often comes down to is that my success depends on your 'un-success'.

Here’s the real paradox: ‘I win if you lose’ but ‘we survive if we work together’.

We have survived and thrived as a species because we tend to resolve this paradox by finding meaning beyond the expense of our neighbors and colleagues. Please remember this as you compete your way out of this recession.

And while you’re cooperating to compete like crazy, remember this other bit of crazy. We don’t mind so much if bad things happen to us as long as the bad things happen to all of us.

You don’t believe me? Look around. Considering all the bad things happening at the moment, how many really unhappy faces do you see? How unhappy are you, really?

But if you were the only one struggling financially, the only one without a job, how would you feel?

Unfortunately, the opposite also happens. When others are successful, and we are not, we become resentful. Like lobsters. A man asked a fisherman carrying a bucket of lobsters, “Won’t the lobsters climb out?” “No”, replied the fisherman, “When one gets near the top, the others pull him back down.”

So be suspicious when politicians, or anyone else for that matter, tell you that ‘we’re all in this together’.

What if they’re wrong? I mean, what if there is an easier way to struggle?

Many of us were taught that life is a struggle. We heard adults say silly things like ‘no pain, no gain’ and ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’.

You might be older now, but are you any wiser? Look around you. Nature has many examples showing the success of the easy way. Like rivers. Rivers don’t struggle to reach the sea, they simply find the easiest downward path, even if it means going in the ‘wrong’ direction now and then.

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try and try again. Fail if you must, then try something else. Even if you must go in what seems to be the wrong direction for a time.

Above all, don’t program your mind with those silly sayings every time your success isn’t immediate. Do what nature does - if at first you don’t succeed, try something easier.

And if the thought of doing that swamps you with guilt? Then don’t go for ‘easy’. Go for ‘different’.

Do you need a speaker for one of your events? James is your man - check out http://www.nonsenseatwork.com/ and contact him.