Monday, July 8, 2013
Call it working with opposites, the devil’s advocate or …
We all know that concentration and a laser focus can play a crucial role in getting your job done and accomplishing demanding tasks. But focusing and filtering isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes, you want and even need your brain to wander, to allow distractions, and to make new connections.
Too many mistakes and repeated failure harms your effectiveness, threatens your career, and damages your self-image and your self-confidence. This is often true. At the same time you and I know that we learn from falling and picking ourselves up. You know that surviving failure can increase your resilience and provide relevant insights.
It is recommended to be serious about your job, yourself, and your responsibilities, no doubt about it. Equally important and often neglected though is the ability and the willingness to not always take yourself so seriously. To laugh about yourself and your goof ups. To take a child’s perspective. To invite playfulness and imagination in order to spark energy and creative ideas – or simply to relax and rejuvenate.
Patterns, habits and structure are great, so are formulas for success. Equally great results can be accomplished by stepping outside of what is habitual and effective and questioning what often goes unquestioned.
Some questions to help you become more aware of what is best for you or simply good in a different way:
1. How can I possibly take better care of myself right now?
2. Could it be that I’m running on autopilot, repeating old patterns and habits? Are they still serving my present and future needs?
3. What would happen if I’d take the opposite opinion, attitude, or approach?
4. What part of me or what part of life might I be neglecting right now?
5. Could the absolute opposite provide any insights or benefits?
6. What is it that I’m working to avoid and is there a lesson in this dynamic?
7. What if I changed gears, changed cars, switched glasses?
It doesn’t matter what you call this line of thinking. You can call it ‘working with opposites’, playing the devil’s advocate or anything you like. I call it increasing awareness, flexibility, and effectiveness. All you need is curiosity and an open mind.