Dan Gregory 008

GREGORIAN RANTS

When the facts get in the way of our opinions

By dangregorytii | June 13, 2016

Dan Gregory

How do we know something is, in fact, a fact, or just an opinion we’ve held so long we’re unprepared to give it up?

Just as importantly, are those we look to engage just as attached to their accumulated “facts”.

One of the most interesting books I’ve read in the past decade, is Eli Parisi’s The Filter Bubble. Parisi’s assertion is that the internet learns who we are, assesses how our biases and prejudices shape our opinions, and then feeds us further information we’re inclined to agree with.

That’s a painfully brief summation but it’s a good reminder that not only is the information we access online notoriously unreliable, it is also very likely to be framed to entrench already long-held views.

But this phenomenon is not unique to the digital age. In fact, human societies and communities have been reinforcing opinions as facts for millennia.

A lot of this is generated by fear, a powerful emotion that makes those seeking comfort, compliant and easily lead. Control the information, you control the opinions and in doing so, gain control over people.

So why does this matter?

It matters because almost every important issue we face in business, in politics and in life ends up in a binary argument, not based on facts, but drawing on often flawed opinions and hypotheses.

Everything from:

• Gun control or regulation

• Immigration

• Economic Theory (despite the fact that many economists are less reliable than a fun pier fortune teller)

• Freedom, or the lack thereof, of belief (especially if those beliefs don’t reflect the majority view)

• Gender and sexual equality

• Articles of law and civil behavior

• Taxation and government spending

Any of these subjects is likely to lead to heated words and even physical violence at a family BBQ. Hardly surprising given the importance some of these issues hold in our daily life. That’s what makes a capacity to think outside our own personal view points so important. Not just so we can make better decisions, but so that we might also be more influential, more engaging and more trustworthy.

There’s a famous quote that reminds us that, “We don’t see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.”

The truth is, we only ever see the world with as much accuracy, as the number of points of view we have access to, will allow.

Big Wins First

By dangregorytii | June 8, 2016

Dan Gregory

Naval Adm. William H. McRaven famously suggested that one of the keys to feeling more motivated and driving personal success, was to start the day by making your bed.

A better strategy, in my opinion, is to start the day with Big Wins First.

Of course, if your life’s work and personal mission is defined by crisp linen and hospital corners, then have at it. But you may, in fact, be psychologically conditioning yourself to prioritise the trivial, or in fact, to not prioritize at all.

So how does one achieve a Big Win First?

This simple piece of motivation design requires little more than a blank sheet of paper, or a softly humming digital screen and interface.

Make three lists:

  1. Big Wins
  2. To Dos
  3. Week Plan

Determine what your Big Wins are – for me, it’s things like writing a new chapter for my latest book or authoring a new keynote speech, but it might just as easily be a core piece of a larger project. Yours will obviously be determined by your own personal and business ambitions.

Next, list the To Dos – those mundane activities that must be done, but are hardly inspiring.

Lastly, compose your Week Plan placing a Big Win at the top of each days’ list.

The point is, this should be the first thing that has your attention each day and the day should not encroach on your Big Win until you’ve won. At this point, it matters little what happens to the rest of your day, how many people interrupt you or what little failures you experience. You’ve already won… and won big!

More importantly, you’re conditioning your mind and your habits to prioritize your priorities, and over time, this leads to personal progress that truly matters.

Need to vs Want to

By dangregorytii | June 8, 2016

Dan Gregory

One of the things that has human beings turning to motivational literature in their multitudes is the difference between “Need to” and “Want to”.

Typically, want to doesn’t require a lot of motivation – it’s intrinsically linked to whatever that activity might be. Few of us need to “motivate” ourselves to enjoy a good meal or a soft bed at the end of a long day.

However, activities that are more need to, or have to, or (shudder) shoulds tend to rely on extrinsic motivation in one form or another. This might be a deadline, or some kind of legal repercussion, a physical or reputational risk or something of the like. In other words, if we don’t, we’re going to get our procrastinating butts kicked.

Often times, this can be motivation enough. But that leaves what to do about those tasks where the outside, or extrinsic, cost isn’t enough to motivate us. Famed author, Douglas Adams, once quipped, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they pass by.”

So what kind of motivation is required for a need to activity that, may not be enjoyable or even pleasant, is still rather necessary?

This is where behavioral, or motivation, design can be of enormous assistance.

We’ve all used motivation design in one form or another throughout our lives – you may have placed an alarm clock on the other side of the room so that you couldn’t just hit snooze, or you may have parked the car a reasonable distance from the office to enforce some daily aerobic activity, or you might even have coordinated your daily movements in order that your path might cross with a secret love interest (but this is clearly stalking and not to be encouraged).

The long and shot of it is, by designing our environments, and indeed systems, so that they support these necessary activities, and might even make them intrinsically motivating or at least hard to avoid, we increase our chances of success and critically, shift our mindset surrounding these activities in such a way that they become less paralyzing in the future.

So, if you need to, systematize it until it becomes unconscious competence. (But stop following people home… it’s creepy.)

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E: info@theimpossibleinstitute.com

T: +61 (0)2 9651 5384

P: PO Box 226

    Broadway NSW 2007

    Australia

Subscribe to Impossible Thoughts™

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