When it comes to music, we lean to the tunes we know. When it comes to solutions, we lean to the ones we know too. As Wray Herbert writes, often familiarity meets failure. It is because these solutions are mental shortcuts.
Why Familiarity Meets Failure
It is easy to slough off. In fact, sloth is one of seven deadly sins in Catholicism. Sloths favor mental shortcuts. Work makes us and our lives better. Better means change. Familiarity means the same. It triggers our need for security, safety. As Herbert writes, “we are more apt to rely on these automatic judgments when we’re under pressure.”
Going with familiarity means we will find ourselves in a rut someday. When life is ever changing this is not good. It is neither good for our business nor us. Another key need for our happiness is newness. If we feel good, we do well. We are good leaders. Our businesses do well. Familiarity meets failure because it takes all of this from us.
Since a sloth seeks familiarity, avoiding it is effort then. For example, did we define a problem so it would fit a familiar solution? These tips will keep our lives and businesses successful:
- Vet information even if we do not want to believe it
- Test the status quo and new ideas the same
- Listen to dissent
- Compensate for fearful and pressure situations
- Seek out personalities different from us
- Avoid fitting the problem to our expertise by seeking out “non-experts”
- Accept conflict and learn to manage it well
- Do not see other views as pessimism or bitching
Sloths do not do any of these. That is why familiarity meets failure where sloths lounge.
Here is a test. Listen to new music. Try a new type. Try a new artist from a rarely heard genre. Go to a different music station. Stay away from your favorite, your familiar. The longer this takes to do, the more likely we are to look up from the bottom of a rut one day. Warning, it is hard to do.