Nonsense At Work

#85: July 2014 MindShift

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

July 2014

Boarding Monkey Changes Your Behind

The message in boarding speed

driving-behind-school-busThe other morning I was stuck behind a big yellow bus. I had to stop three times before I got away. It seemed that life wanted me to slow down and smell the fumes.

Frustrated, I watched the cars buzz by on the other side of the road. But then I noticed something else. No doubt, you’ve heard that irritating saying about get the right people on your buss and the wrong ones off.

Well, I watched those kids get on the bus – slowly, annoyingly slowly.

Then it hit me. Obviously, it’s not enough to find the right people for your bus. You must also pay attention to how they get on your bus. Are they willing and keen, or do they drag their feet?

You might have a bus. You might even have the right people for your bus. But maybe, just possibly, they don’t like where your bus is taking them.

Nonsense is your nonsense

baboon-nonsense-monkeyHere’s the real problem with the nonsense on your bus. It stops you being successful.

Sadly, nonsense is always at work. It never stops. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is always some sense in nonsense. And if you look for it, you will often find that you can make the nonsense at work – work for you.

You see, nonsense has a purpose. It aims to change you for the better.

Dear Reader, if you like that so-called Polish proverb doing the internet rounds, the one about nonsense not being your circus or your monkey, then please think again. Any nonsense that stops you or your organization being successful is your monkey. Just as any bit of litter that you see lying on the ground has your name on it.

Please don’t let any nonsense stop you from changing for the better. Else you will be the monkey and our planet, a circus.

Change causes mental fatigue

Mental-fatigueGetting high and coming back to earth repeatedly will crack you up. It’s true! The aviation industry calls this cracking up metal fatigue.

Surprisingly, metal fatigue does not come with age. It comes from what is called stress reversals. As you know, the air inside the aircraft is under greater pressure than the air outside. If it wasn’t, you would be rather uncomfortable, to say the least.

The problem is this. Every time the aircraft flies, its frame must expand and contract to accommodate the changes in air pressure. It is this expanding and contracting that causes metal fatigue. If the plane always flew at one constant height, then its metal would not get tired.

What does this tell us? It’s not stress that gives you mental fatigue. It is the ongoing stressing and relaxing that cracks you up. Better to pick one state – stressed or relaxed – and then live with it.

Spin the dial to change your mind

spin-dialTalk about living with it! During a recent inspection tour of our new offices, I mentioned the air conditioner control panel. The building manager laughed and said that they have software that can over-ride the thermostat.

So much for thinking that I had control over my environment. It made me re-think those research studies which found that the higher the level of perceived control, the higher the levels of job satisfaction, commitment and performance.

Obviously, the key word is ‘perceived’. Psychologists define perceived control as the belief that I am capable of influencing events in my life, and so enabling me to cope better with stress.

The fact that ‘they’ can so easily override my perceived control makes me suspicious. Where else is my perceived control being manipulated to squeeze even more commitment and performance out of me!

Obviously, it matters not how I spin the dial. Nothing will change except in my head.

To change, leave your behind behind

Behind-behind-horizontal-webpageHere’s a funny thing about personal change. You know that you have changed, but others don’t. They still see the old you and will do so until the new you is consistent enough to supplant their memory of the old you.

One way to create a new you is to simply leave your past behind. However, it may not help others to notice. A lizard gets away from a predator by dropping its tail as a distraction. Equally, your past will distract others into still seeing you in that past even though you have escape by leaving it behind.

Ultimately, the lizard’s amputated tail will stop twitching and the predator will realize it was fooled into thinking the whole lizard was still there. The same with you. Ultimately, your family and friends will realize that your past is not you.

So, if you want to change to stick, leave your behind behind.

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