Assumptions not only invite us to ask questions,
they beg for questions.
Last week on this blog we examined the importance of awareness. Do we really know what we do in any given space in our lives? What strategies can help us become more aware of what we are doing?
This week, let’s look at the next step. Once we have an understanding of what we do, we then need to examine why we do what we do. Our assumptions not only invite us to ask questions, they beg for questions. Can we separate fact from fiction; rationale from rationalization?
Consider baseball players who hit for a .300 batting average. Experts consider that an excellent season. But if you look at that in another way, those productive batters have actually failed more than two thirds of the time they are at the plate. What’s going on here? Do you think they operate on the assumption that each time they go to the plate they will make an out? Or that there are pitchers and pitches that they will never be able to hit? Not likely. That would be a self-limiting and self-defeating.
These star players understand that they must confront what challenges them in the batter’s box. They are aware to stay in “the show,” they need to get beyond their hitting limits. They practice; they watch film. They keep going and growing. They have reflected, responded, and created movement to improvement. They challenge themselves with each pitch. They assume they will master the next pitch.
Video recommendations for the week:
Successful athletes do what the Japanese call Kaizen. They make constant little adjustments to improve what they do. The process is not just for what is not working, but it also can help us by examining what does work–and understanding how it can work even better. Toyota has incorporated kaizen as one of its core values. If the value is not respected, the product or service will suffer.
And so it is with each of us as well. We all have our limits—and beliefs about those limits.
There is a great Michael Crawford cartoon of two people standing at the altar on their wedding day. They look at each other and say, “You’ll do!”
“You’ll do?”—“This’ll do?”—“I’ll do?”
And sometimes we can be like that. Rather than confront our assumptions about what is in front of us or what we are about to face, we will “settle” (rationalize) for why where we are is “good enough.”
Or we might run and numb with alcohol, drugs, staying at the office longer than we need to or exercising excessively or inordinate amounts of time on social media or in front of the TV. Whatever we choose, the temporary numbing avoids confronting the crisis—that can well be a limit in our lives. Guess what? After you numb, the crisis is still present—maybe even a bit worse. Are you happy with that picture?
The limits remain—and they limit our potentiality.
Where in your life, this week, can you practice kaizen? What assumptions do you need to begin (or continue) working to understand? Where would you benefit by making little tweaks that will make you a better version of yourself?
In short, challenge your assumptions and create action—movement toward improvement. One little step at a time. Kaizen!
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.