Friday, April 16, 2010


Submitted for your critique, the hypothesis that has dominated my thoughts of late:

"If you want to make a thing happen, do not put your efforts toward doing that thing, but toward finding or creating an environment in which that thing can happen."

Example: If you want to start a fire, you don't begin by lighting matches. You find material that will burn. You construct it in such a way that the smoke can escape, that fresh air can get in. You clear the area around it so that nothing else catches fire. Only when the environment is right do you introduce actual fire.

Seems logical enough, doesn't it? The right environment is the important part, so that the thing happens largely on it's own. No wonder, then, that the most successful managers I've known were, first and foremost, good hirers. By knowing a good employee when you see one, you've done most of the work up front.

So why is it that this statement seems so strange?

"If you want to lose weight, start by getting more sleep."

To me it makes perfect sense.
-A person who is tired doesn't feel like working out.
-A person who is tired has less will power.
-A person who is tired is grumpy and negative, more likely to give up on ever losing weight.

Thus, if you're trying to work out more and eat right without getting enough sleep at night, you're just lighting matches.*

But often we don't see it that way, because we forget that even our physical minds and bodies are part of our environment. It's an important idea.

Think of all the people who beat up on themselves when they fail, blaming everything on their own character faults, when actually the culprit was their environment.*

*Here defined as: physical health, self esteem, emotional support, social network, professional satisfaction, comfortable shoes, sanitary living conditions, not living next door to a donut shop, forgiving people that wronged you, blocking out most of high school, and reading outside with your cell phone off once in a while.

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