Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Initiating Thoughts

From an award-winning CEO's perspective, few qualities are of more value than personal initiative.

But, is it on the old reboundaroo?

Or is personal initiative dying an excruciatingly, slow, painful death?

You be Judge Judy and Jury.

The CEO I'm referring to was sharing some of his beliefs on personal initiative over the course of a recent, three-hour road trip. Two people conversing on a highway drive can cover hundreds of philosophical miles, and this trip fell into that category, comparing milestones, attitudes and behavioural patterns over 20 years or more. This particular CEO happens to be a world-class authority on the subject of personal initiative - with business numbers to back it up. But despite his best efforts to help certain individuals get more of what they say they want out of life, they resist at every turn. Refusing to believe what he himself has proven factually can be done. As you might expect, our discussion kept coming back to this issue of why so many people seem to struggle - no matter how many resources they may or may not have at their disposal.

Since our journey, I've been reflecting once again on a familiar theme. Ever since having had the good fortune to participate in a global experiment several years ago on the "Knowing-Doing G.A.P.", I've been asking myself this question:

"Why do so many of us NOT do the things we KNOW we should be doing?

I'm not sure if I have the answer entirely figured out for myself. There are still many things, I know I should take care of, handle, initiate and prevent from falling through the cracks, but those things still seem to happen. Some days more than others.

This is not one of those days.

Let's experiment and open up a dialogue on this question:

"Why do so many of us NOT do the things we KNOW we should be doing?

Here is how it works.

For the rest of this week, carefully monitor at least five personal conversations with co-workers, friends, family etc. and see if you can detect a pattern in the dialogue. Listen intently. Try and detect whether the person you are speaking with is communicating one of two human qualities:

1.) Ambition? ... OR ... 2.) Initiative?

You can't say "Well, it's a little bit of both". No half-pregnant answers on this one. It's one or the other. Ambition or Initiative? You can invent your own 1-10 scale, or zero-sum scoring or any methodology you wish but the goal is to see where the scale is tipping in everyday conversations.

I'm interested to see what conclusions you can reach simply by listening intently to a persons choice of words in everyday conversations. Can you determine whether their minute-by-minute, basic human operating systems are based on a spirit of ambition or filled with the essence of initiative?

Remember, one or the other. Which paradigm or belief is sitting in the drivers seat of the people you talk to this week?

Like a curious sponge, I'm anxious to soak up what you discover.

Will you share what you learn with me and the other sponges who are now reading this post?

p.s... You can begin sharing your thoughts on Monday morning, once you have had the rest of the week - plus the weekend to engage in those five conversations. Not the "Hi, how ya doin'?" type of quickie small talk but conversations that reveal an element of depth and insight about a person and what they think about. Best-selling author and bona-fide human success expert Bob Proctor offers some additional thoughts on this subject.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go" DR. SEUSS


1 comment:

dmartell said...

IMHO it comes down to repetition, and taking the first step. You need to start. Take action, without over analyzing, then review the outcome. It's likely that it will have a positive outcome, and be successful.

If you repeat this enough, you get a new "reference" point on how to act, and in turn, change your "paradigm" (still not a big fan of that word).

The knowing, doing gap is about habit ... and you need to act or do something for 21+ days to create one.