Nonsense At Work

#80: February 2014 MindShift

Nonsense just is,
but sense must be uncovered, grasped and held tight.The NonsenseAtWork Monthly MindShift

February 2014

Scattered Blame Zips Career Goals

Scattered thinking blues


If you are feeling a little down, then please look up. Do you notice that the sky is also blue? Most likely, you are blue for the same reason that the sky is blue.

Once upon the 19th century, a British lord (Lord Rayleigh, if you must know) discovered why the sky is blue. Because he was also a physicist, people believed him. Our atmosphere, he explained, has lots of stuff floating in it. When the sun’s light tries to get through, these molecules scatter the light, especially the blue light, which is on the short side. So that’s what you see when you look at the sky – the scattered blue light.

Factually, the sky isn’t really blue. It only appears that way because of scattered light. So take heart; you are not really blue. You just feel that way because of how scattered your thinking is. So get rid of the thoughts that scatter you blue.

Tools to blame with

grinderI practically grew up in a woodwork workshop. Being covered in saw dust and wood shavings was my father’s favorite hobby. I loved it as well, except when he sprouted his favorite saying: A bad workman blames his tools. I hated that, because it was true.

And it is still true today. I often catch myself thinking “if only I had that smart phone app, or this new tablet or that thin laptop or this stunning software, then I will . . .” Sure I will.

Obviously, nothing has changed, except the tools I blame. It’s still not my fault that I’m a poor worker.

Yet, I am wiser. I know that better tools often result in shoddy work. Making something easier to do does not make quality easier to achieve. The easier it gets, the less we concentrate, the more likely the mishap.

Clearly, success comes from competently using what you’ve got, without blame.

To get it, fill it and zip it

zip-itWhile we’re on the topic of competence, let me tell you, I am tired of people who don’t get it, don’t fill it and don’t zip it.

There is much more to know on this planet today than ever before. So obviously there is a lot you might not know or understand. Often you might not get it – a fact, a truth, a point being made, whatever.

But if you don’t get it, what do you do? Do you complain about not knowing or do you find ways to fill the gaps in your not knowing?

The internet and wireless access makes it extremely easy to find out almost anything while being almost anywhere. And yet, many people still don’t bother to fill in the gaps in their not knowing. Even worse, they don’t zip it. They continue to display their ignorance as they shout their complaints at those they blame for their not knowing.

Please, if you don’t get it, fill it. But above all, zip it.

Career buried in sand

ostrichAllow me now to fill in a little gap in your ignorance. I come from the land of the Ostrich. Now that you know, I have a question for you. When it comes to feedback on your performance at work, do you bury your head in the sand?

You do? Well, be different this year. Don’t wait for the one big day with your boss. Instead, ask for, no demand, a performance appraisal every week. Here’s how you should manage it:

One, schedule a regular weekly appointment; two, clarify what you achieved last week; three, explain what you plan to do this week; four, ask for feedback and suggestions. That’s it, done in twenty minutes.

Don’t treat your performance appraisal as something HR wants done. It’s yours. Own it and use it to manage your career every week.

By the way, the ostrich does not bury his head in sand. Neither should you, because if you do, you won’t see why you are being left behind.

The gap in your goal

gapingoalWho do you admire most? (Yes, yes, apart from the ones not left behind.) The person who tells you that he is going to lose 20 pounds or the one who has already lost weight?

And yet, we have been conned into believing that shouting a goal will force us to achieve it . . . or be embarrassed.

This is simply not correct. There is a huge gap between ‘going to’ and ‘having done’. It’s called the credibility gap or the reality gap, depending on which side of the gap you are on.

Remember, talk is cheap, unless you’re using a cell phone. Cell phones have no wires connecting them to networks. They work with magic. The same applies to your goal. Unless your goal is grounded in reality, you will rely on magic, which will cost you.

So focus your energy on doing before talking. Then you’ll be on the side of the gap called ‘delivered’ and not stuck on the side called ‘promise.’

Are you stuck on the side called ‘promise’?

Welcome to our side of the nonsense divide


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