The Definition Of Madness
There's a great quote that goes something like:
The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time.
This was echoed in a recent cartoon put out by the consulting firm, McKinsey & Company:
There's a lot of truth to that, both in business and in life. We develop a set of ideas and beliefs as we grow and gain experience. They form the underlying basis as to how we think, behave and operate.
Many times, they help us get to where we want to go - be it in a relationship, a job or in building a business. So, we keep doing it.
But when growth slows, when things aren't going as well the way we've become accustomed to, our tendency is to double down.
Well, I'll just work harder. This worked before, it should work again. I know what I need to do.
And then that doesn't work, we make some changes, we refine this, or alter that, essentially staying true to the same set of ideas that got us here. In other words, we play at the margins. Because we know what we know. We've done what we've done.
Almost always, though, what's needed is a change of perspective. A radical shift. A push away from your 'traditional center'.
Yes, it knocks you off balance. Yes, it requires a refocusing. Yes, it often requires new skills, new blood, new ideas. It might mean casting off a way of doing things that's been comfortable for years.
And that's hard to do. Because change is hard. And scary. And difficult.
But if the goal is to grow, to evolve, then we don't really have a choice. Remaining relevant requires a continuous evolution.
The most extreme illustrations of this are in the music business - enduring acts such as Bowie and U2 have evolved over the decades to remain relevant, interesting, viable. But it's no different if you're running a small business, working in a job or trying to develop a relationship.
You have to change and grow.
Because people change, markets change, needs change. And if we don't change along with it, we're toast.