Nonsense At Work

#87: September 2014 MindShift

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

September 2014

Fresh Desire Stalking Jargoned Tantrum

Get lost to find fresh


Today I avoided being ambushed on the way to work. And I am sure that tonight I will avoid an ambush going home. I have become pretty good at finding different ways to and from work. Fear made me do it. Fear of what? Fear of what too much sameness can do. Fear of not really seeing my surroundings, fear of not being in the moment, fear of going mentally and emotionally stale. You know the feeling – you arrive at work without remembering the drive.

My son once asked why I zig-zagged home. “Because of the baddies,” I said. “Now they never know where to ambush me.” The game stuck.

You should play it too. Play it to avoid turning into a zombie. Getting lost driving to work is the surest way to find a fresh perspective on life. As a bonus, you will be more creative and productive. Go on. Get lost!

Reflect desired behavior

mirror-officeDo you want people to behave better at work? Do you want them to be nicer? Better yet, do you want to be better behaved and be a nicer person?

Do it with mirrors.

Research has shown that people behave better when a mirror is watching. People work harder, are more ethical, and are less stereotypical in their judgments. In fact, they are simply nicer altogether.

Why? It seems that the virtual person in the mirror makes people in the room more self-aware. And this makes them think before they act, which then results in better behavior.

So go ahead, hang mirrors at work. But first be clear what sort of behavior you actually want to encourage. I once saw a ‘gone out of business’ adult entertainment bar. I was not surprised. Its outside walls were covered with mirrors. Big mistake. Would you watch yourself walk into a place you shouldn’t?

Stranger than stalking

connect-your-mannersSometimes we evolve too fast for simple social rules of thumb to help us. The one that’s on my mind after a week in a strange town is one parents automatically drill into their off-spring: Don’t talk to strangers.

No doubt there was a time when my longevity depended on not trusting the tribe next door. But today, if I did not speak to strangers, the way Mother wanted, I would not be long for this world. Because every time I buy food, it is from a stranger.

Thanks to cheap travel, cheap communications and cheap social media there is an alien everywhere we go, talk or surf. More bizarre is how easily virtual connections become friends and followers, not strangers and stalkers.

It’s time to update Jim Reeves. Who? The guy who sang that a stranger’s just a friend you do not know. Today, a friend is just a stranger you haven’t faced in person.

Getting the jargoned message

poor communicationBankers do it, doctors do it, consultants do it, teenagers do it and even you do it.

We all do it. We all use jargon. It’s not really a big problem, until we use it to hide behind or to exclude others.

Jargon is inevitable because it develops quite naturally. When the same group of people regularly work together or play together, they tend to develop a way of expressing themselves which is Greek to outsiders.

Jargon is a communication short-hand. Because it is unique to members, it improves understanding within the group while keeping non-members in the dark. Jargon unites the group while keeping outsiders out.

And there’s the rub. Jargon annoys outsiders. In business there is one group of outsiders that you had better not annoy. Customers! Jargon lovers forget that we all belong to this group. And that we talk, loudly and clearly, when annoyed.

No tantrum needed

tantrumWhy do infants throw more effective tantrums than adults? Is it because they are less inhibited? Because they have only their lungs to make an impact? Because they don’t know any better?

None of the above! It is because at that age, any bad day or bad event is, percentage wise, based on their total number of days on this planet, a huge experience. By the time you get to my age, a bad day is just that – a bad day. And likely to be cancelled out by a good day.

After so many, many days, some good, some bad, and many in-between days, you realize that bad comes and goes. And that bad is relative – my definition of bad keeps changing.

If you are still throwing tantrums as an aging adult, then either you are still a baby or you need more diverse experiences. Either way, go live a little.

Willing to reflect the nicer side of you?

Welcome to our side of the nonsense divide


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