Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘success’

Blame! Blame! Blame! Boy do we love to dish it out in this country (only country I have any insight into, FYI.).

Who screwed up the oil rig? Who fat fingered the computer on the flash crash? Who ruined main street? Who heated up the oceans and melted the glaciers? Who started these wars?

And on a more personal level – who’s to blame for this relationship or that messed up deal or that poor choice or that car accident…

On the flip side, we also like to heap praise on ourselves, our celebs, our CEOs, our saints, our leaders for how much of a difference they made. Without you, where would we be?  Here’s a big bonus just for you.  Here’s the MVP trophy.  Here’s the street cred.

All of this assumes way too much control by humans over the incredibly complicated interconnectedness of the world – in business, sports, relationships, politics.   No doubt specific folks shape and contribute, hurt and hinder, but no single person is due that much credit nor blame.

I don’t know when our culture gained this orientation.   Maybe it was from the beginning… the whole “American Way.”   Where there’s a will, there’s a way.   You can do it!  It’s up to you!

The attitude is maintained by repeated association of blame and praise to the negative and positive happenings in our lives.  The association is inaccurate but is very hard to break.  Perhaps there is some juice in this attitude.  Maybe it helps keep people working more.  Maybe it helps people commit longer than they would with a different view.

Personally I don’t think it’s healthy.  Nor do I really think it leads to bigger business, better policy, or decades of championships.   I think our individual powers don’t extend much beyond keeping ourselves alive.  It takes a tremendously positive mix of variables to help us thrive beyond the basics in life.

Persistence is the key.  Survive long enough for the mix of positive variables to align.

Fear of failure and over indulgence in taking credit are the enemies of persistence.   They are energy wasting red herrings.   So much of persistence is about maintaining your energy (physical ability, concentration, passion, etc. etc.).

Change when it’s too painful.  Help others along the way. and keep going.

Read Full Post »

Oy, the pop psychologists and media sociologists are out in full force on the latest pop culture sensation, Susan Boyle.

Read all the theories in those links.

  • don’t judge a book by its cover
  • ordinary people do extraordinary things
  • it’s a disney movie
  • we all have hidden desires for the same thing as Boyle
  • etc.

Blah! Blargh!

Try an experiment.  Only listen to her singing.  Do not listen to the audience or the commentary.  You will not have the same reaction – the crying, the emotion, the anger at the judges…  This is an actual experiment we could do.  Take 2 groups who have not seen the video or know about the story and have them watch different contextual versions of the performance.

We are conditioned by the entire context.  If the audience and judges aren’t laughing at her and giving standing Os, the performance is ordinary and our reaction will likely not be the one that drives a YouTube sensation.  When others around us are laughing, crying, making fun… we get into that action.  When the context then shows surprise and amazement we do too.   This is less about Susan Boyle’s surprise talent than it is about the surprise of the audience.

No doubt she can sing, but millions of people can sing.  No doubt she’s not going to win a beauty contest, millions of people won’t and can still sing.  The situation is not uncommon, nor is our reaction.

Combine the context with our own  behavioral histories… we have been conditioned to have reactions like we do to this (but when others are having the same reaction!).  Cheer for the underdog, laugh at the ugly person and slap her back when she crushes it, gossip about a celebrity’s troubles but cheer her return,  damaged goods done good, hooray!, ugly duckings/swan thang.  This is the most common human story ever told and we tell it to our children from the day they are born.  The thing is, the reaction of that audience is still the key to having our histories ignited.  If the audience sorta half likes it and the judges have poker faces and say “cliche song”, Susan Boyle is still the ugly duckly.   Most everyone needs to see the swan, for it to be a swan to us.

The success of Boyle is not a mystery.  It’s not a phenomenon.  It’s your run of the mill context meets shared histories often makes a wave….

Read Full Post »