“I’m sorry this letter is so long, i didn’t have enough time to write a short one” ~ Samuel Clemens
Simplicity is not a lack of ability.
Simplicity shows a level of maturity novice creative thinkers do not have. It’s a lot of work to create something simple and beautiful. It takes time and rigor to build an idea or a business that is simple, yet full of potential.
Mediocrity is intimidated by that which is better. Mediocrity does not strive for improvement. Mediocrity does not believe in change. Mediocrity loves the comfortable. Mediocrity attempts to silence the more excellent. But the best will always rise to the top.
The future belongs to those that trample over mediocrity.
The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which.
He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.
To him he’s always doing both.
~ James Michener, Author
Complacency and apathy are the beginning of a downward spiral; for individuals and organizations. In the context of productivity and accomplishment, a forward tension exists between two factors; Skill Level and Challenge Level.
Skill – the ability to do something well; expertise
Challenge – a task or situation that tests someone’s abilities
Both factors are organic, ever-changing and expandable. Therefore individuals and organizations have the ability to maximize the output of ideas, innovations and productivity by identifying and intentionally balancing the Skill and Challenge levels.
Flow theory, coined by Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is the mental state of performance when an individual with a task at hand experiences energized focus, complete involvement, and achievement.
Flow is focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task. (Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman)
According to Mihaly, three condition must be present to achieve Flow:
- One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals. This adds direction and structure to the task.
- One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and his or her own perceived skills. One must have confidence that he or she is capable to do the task at hand.
- The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows him or her to adjust his or her performance to maintain the flow state.
If one possesses highly developed and unique skills, and applies the expertise in a non-challenging context – feelings of relaxation, boredom and dissatisfaction will accompany the task, ultimately leading towards apathy and complacency. Similarly, if one places themselves in a highly challenging situation without having the right skill set, feelings of anxiety and worry will arise – also resulting in apathy and complacency.
Therefore, by balancing high levels of Skill and Challenge, an individual and organizations are able to generate high output of ideas, productivity, satisfaction and forward momentum.
Given the organic nature of Skill and Challenge, one must continually strive to develop skills, and apply the skills in highly challenging situations.
Personal interests and explorations are a key to new ideas, innovative approaches and fresh directions that we can take in life. In basic economics there’s a rule in play that states if one adds resources (people, technology, options, etc.) productivity will increase, and if the resources continue to multiply there will come a point when productivity will actually being to deteriorate.
It is absolutely critical to eliminate some of the personal projects laying around. Like in pruning, a gardener will always take away, that the plant might produce more fruit, not less.
When you’re exploring personal interests, always ask yourself , “what is the most important thing I can do at this very moment”? And learn to say no to yourself.
Chris Brogan recently posted Quid Pro No. The situation is simple:
If I invite you to join the Facebook group for Trust Agents, it’s because I think you’ll get some value out of participating there. Say you join the group. If you now invite me to join your real estate company’s fan page after you’ve joined my book’s group, what should I do? Should I say yes because you said yes to me? But I have no interest in real estate, except for when I’m making a transaction. I was asked to join someone’s new social media application, but because I have a lot of stuff on the go, I politely declined. What I got back as a parting shot was, “Thanks. I’ll still buy your book.” It left me feeling a bit awkward. Do we expect reciprocal behavior all the time? ~ Chris Brogan
The reactions are too familiar and typical.
The problem is that we’ve set our emotions on a throne and made them King. “Don’t offend, always reciprocate, be politically correct, neutralize the deposition, etc.” – these prerequisites govern the everyday thoughts, speech, and behaviors of so many people online and offline. And God forbid that we not adhere to the selfish guidelines of “for every action there should be an equal reaction” within social circles – or else people start acting like a bunch of five-year-olds when their expectations are not met.
Here’s a simple solution to those who cannot accept a “no”
1. Reset your expectations – take a look at what you’re expecting of others and whether these expectations are realistic or not.
2. Stop acting like a child – just grow up! If someone does not meet your expectations, or reciprocate your kind gesture – don’t whine and pout.
3. De-throne your emotions – stop living your life though the lens of your emotions.