Sometimes We Have to Break Things in Order Make Progress

Many years ago I got caught up in the Rubik’s Cube craze of the 1980′s(The first time around). I tried again and again to solve the cube. But could only succeed in getting the top 2/3 of the cube’s colours aligned properly. I finally gave in and bought a book and discovered that with a halve solved  Rubik’s Cube you have to scramble the top two layers in order to recombine the colours into a finished cube.

I had fallen into the classic trap:

Definitely not loosing now is better that maybe winning in the future.

In other words we are so caught up in keeping what we have that we are often afraid of taking the last few steps needed to complete our goals for fear of losing what we have already achieved and ending up with nothing.

By not wanting to lose anything we end up losing everything.

I have a friend who one day mentioned that he’d like to take up squash. At that time I was consulting at a company working with a guy who was a squash fanatic. So I suggested they get together. So they started playing together regularly.

Time after time the squash player would come into work and boast of how he had beat my friend yet again. I asked my friend why he kept playing. “I want to learn how to play squash,” was his answer.

This went on for over 3 months. Then the squash player came in and said how my friend had “gotten lucky” and beat him. Then he lost to my friend for the second time. The next week the squash fanatic was “very busy now days. It’s hard to find the time.” And he no longer played my friend.

I caught up with my friend and asked him for his side of the story.

His explanation was simple, “I lost 15 games in a row because every time I played him I tried something different. He won 15 games in a row by doing the same thing each and every game. The 16th time I tried something different I won. The 17th time we played I did what I’d done in match 16 he did what he had done in all 16 matches. I won. The 17th time he did the same thing yet again. I built on what I had discovered in match 16. I won again. We never played a 18th match.”

I no longer consult at that firm but from time to time I still run into the fanatical squash player.  I always ask him about his squash games with my friend. He always boasts about beating him 15 times in a row. When I ask when the next game will be he is always too busy to play.

He had learned how to win squash games by playing in a certain way that would get him a certain amount of success. He had learned to judge which players he could beat and which he couldn’t, and so chose which players he would play accordingly. He had decided he had learned enough and didn’t want to learn anything new. So he didn’t.

The trouble is the world keeps changing. New things keep happening all the time.

If you stop learning you will get left behind.

If you need help learning how to learn again, or if you have just gotten a little stuck, phone Declan on 087 2420699 or email declan@conspiracyofmediocrity.com and we will get you moving again.

Esperience has though us that not being wrong is more important thast trying new things.

There is no short term benefit in

I asked him if he was still playing squash with X

His explanation was simple, “I lost 25 games in a row because every time I played him I tried something different. He wone 25 games in a row by doing the same thing each and every game. The 26th time I tried something different I won. The 27th time we played I did what I’d done in match 26 he did what her done in all 26 matches. I wone. The 28th time he did the same thing yet again. I did what I discovered in match 26. We’ve never played a 28th match.”

From time to time I run into X.  I always ask him about his squash games with Y. He always boasts about beating him 25 times in a row. I ask when the next game will be. “It’s hard to find the time, I’m very busy now days.” Very busy being sucessful doing the same thing he’s always done, only now there is a pack of younger guys snapping at his heels who can do it faster and cheaper.

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