sent by Nick Grantham | 10th November 2020
I've only recently heard this phrase but apparently, it's been around for some time and the origins have long since been lost. At the time I heard it I was instantly reminded of all the times in the past when I've spent way too much time and effort on something and the end result just hasn't been worth it. It didn't seem to matter if the result of all my effort was positive or negative, there were just times when it didn't seem worthwhile. I'm not suggesting you do a half-arsed job, try to cut corners or never worry about something or someone. Far from it. What I'm reminded of by this phrase, and hopefully what you'll take from this insight, is that more often than not we should seek the smart way of working rather than the hard way. We should be comfortable with 'good enough', rather than 'perfection' and we have to recognise there are going to be times when no matter what we try to say or do to influence another persons mindset, it's just not going to happen any time soon. Sometimes all of your efforts to accomplish any given task are just not worth the time or effort involved.
Often when we are faced with a problem, we focus so much on the actual problem, that we get bogged down and never really find a solution. In the excellent book, Pig Wrestling by Pete Lindsay and Dr Mark Bowden they flip this and suggest we look at where the problem does NOT occur! It's such an obvious thing to do when you think about it but we rarely step outside of our normal problem-solving strategies to consider an alternative approach. The authors suggest that the next time we are faced with a problem we should imagine a spot the difference book. You know, the type of thing you used to do as a kid? Two images on face value appear to be the same, but in one of the images, there are several differences hidden and disguised within the picture. Rather than just looking at one picture (the problem), imagine a second, very similar picture, where the problem doesn't exist. What are the clues and solutions you see in this new picture? Can you spot the difference? You will be faced with problems to solve and challenges to overcome every day. Rather than drilling down into the specifics of the problem, consider when the problem doesn't occur. What's the difference? Once you can spot the differences you are on your way to finding a solution.
Source: Pig Wrestling by Pete Lindsay, Dr Mark Bawden
I was introduced to this concept almost a decade ago and I wrote a blog post about it back in 2015. Sports, coaches and athletes can often be held back by tradition and fixed paradigms. 'This is how we've always done it' is a phrase that can often be heard echoing through the rooms of a governing body or team. But what if there was an alternative, surely it's worth considering? When I deliver courses to physiotherapists I ask them to sing me a birthday song. Once they get over the thought of singing out loud, they all sing me the same traditional song. It's no surprise, they know the tune (sort of!), know the words, know when to insert the persons name. It's a song that works. Essentially it's a protocol or paradigm that they understand. It's traditional. But just because this is the song that we always sing, doesn't mean there aren't any alternative options available to us. What about Stevie Wonder's version or maybe the Beatle's version, or even 50 Cents? These are all good alternatives. It's comfortable to do things the way they've always been done. We like to hold onto working practices that have delivered results in the past. But in the fast-moving world of performance sport, we have to be open to alternatives. What worked last season may not yield the same results this season. Sometimes singing a different tune will be the key to success.
One of the biggest lessons I've learnt over the years is that it's OK to change your mind and adapt. Being flexible and adaptable is, in my opinion, one of the key characteristics of a great coach. In fact, it's probably essential that you get comfortable with change in order to remain at the top of your game. I think I first became aware of this when Mike Boyle mentioned the fact that a bunch of keyboard warriors were having a pop at him for changing his mind on some of the training methodologies he had previously championed. Mike was happy to admit that what he once thought was the best approach may no longer make the cut. He was happy to change his mind rather than being shackled to an outdated strategy. It's important to maintain an open mind (not so open that your brain falls out), some call it a beginners mindset. Have a think about something you believe strongly in, is there an alternative? Have you been holding onto a working practice that is increasingly outdated? Is it time to change your mind?
Source: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday?
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