Resilience and Building FLOW into Innovation
The question I wanna get to next is, how do we put this in motion of eradicating little habits? How do we start small, right? These are big ideas, about kindness, about generosity, about kindness to oneself. But let's say, you wanna just change some small piece in your own work. So, here's a couple of triggers you can think of, What is one thing I can change? What's one thing I can change to get on this journey, is it, I don't know, exercise more, let go of my need for control, stop procrastinating, take more time for learning, organize my day. I mean, you could, you could say all of these are at some dimension a priority. But if you thought of one, if you thought of one in your own mind or created one, you don't have to use these for anchors. But if you thought of one, maybe it's just help my daughter with her homework, or whatever, call my father more often, whatever it is. Map that, this is the tool, okay? This is the application part. This is the doing. Map that in terms of ease of...
implementation and impact it will have, okay? So, if we think of, oh I don't know, the workout more everyday, right? How would you map that in terms of impact in my life and the difficulty that it would be to do it. Okay, so I'll give you one example, so let's say, I think to myself, when I'm in meetings, I should really put my phone down and I should be more present. And I think of this little action, I'm gonna put my device down and I'm gonna be more present. Then you can map it in terms of, well, is this gonna be hard to do? And how much of a difference is it gonna be? I mean, I put it here, you might put it here, you might put it here, like, I can put it down, but I don't care, it doesn't matter, right? So, it is perception, but my question to you is, when you think of what you wanna change, map it in terms of ease of implementation and impact. Everyone's talking about sleep, we need more sleep, right? To make ourselves more restful, focused. The deleterious effects of lack of sleep are well-documented. After a while, it's as bad as being drunk, right? So, if you wanna go to bed earlier, How hard is that to do? Well, it's not really that hard to do. But, would it make a big impact? Yes, and so you can continue to kinda play this game about practicing mindfulness or learning a new language, I mean this is certainly a very hard thing to do, just like taking on a new skill, for example, but, it could have a very high impact. So, spatially, kind of, sort of map this in your mind. You know, take on the dream job that you want. This is a scary thing, right? Very hard to do. Could have a big impact, you know, we'll see. (chuckles) But the key to identifying that new habit and adopting that has to do with identifying the triggers, how he was talking about triggers, right? Two arrows, the event and how you respond to it. Boom. So, I'll give you an example of a habit I was trying to change. I will confess to you (laughs) that sometimes I was kind of grumpy in the morning, I was a little surly, a little (grunt), not in a good mood, wake up (grunt), not really friendly, right? But, I'm doing all the same things I usually do, I wake up and I make the kids breakfast, or I get ready to go to the bus stop, or prepare for my day, and I'm doing all the same things, but I'm not really, I'm sort of annoyed by this and one morning, my wife's alarm goes off at six fifteen. Now, this is a little side note about me, I don't set alarms, I just don't, don't be impressed it's not a superpower, I just don't do it. Like, if I need to get up at a particular time, I could set an alarm, but I'll wake up two minutes before it goes off. Every time. I don't do alarms. My point being, if she sets an alarm, and her alarm goes off at six fifteen, that's obviously, it's her alarm, it's not my alarm, right? And she says, she says, Annie wants to make the bus today. That's all she said. I heard you need to get up and help Annie to get on the bus. That's not what she said, so I said, that's what I heard in my brain. My day is already twenty seconds old and I'm already annoyed. (laughs) So, I say, like an idiot, what would you like me to do? And as soon as I say it, I'm like, that is a really stupid thing to say. But she won't be baited by that, she's much more intelligent and emotionally fluent and kind. She says, sweetie, you can do whatever you want, you don't have to do anything, if you don't want to. So, I close, so that's the trigger, the trigger's that moment, in that first forty seconds of my day and so I close my eyes and I ask myself a new question, and I don't mean this as facetious, I meant it as a very honest question, what is the most useful thing that I could do right now? And then I answer that, I say, well, I guess, the most useful thing I could do is get up and gently wake up Annie and go make some breakfast and help pack her lunch and make the coffee and then walk out to the bus stop. Those are all the things I usually do, even when... Even when, I'm not grumpy (laughs), right? But, this time, I'm doing all those same things from place of intention where I'm not trying to fulfill what I believe through resentment the foreign expectations of someone else. I'm doing it because my intention is just to be helpful and it completely changed my mood. Because if I start in a bad mood, well, then that cascades throughout the morning and then I'm grumpy in the meeting and I can't work it all out until my favorite, you know, chicken salad sandwich at lunch and then everything's fine, right? You know, it lasts, it sits with you for a little bit, but when you change that intention, you identify that trigger, and then choose a new response in that moment immediately, something you need to be able to do immediately. So, these are the most common habit triggers, it's a location, it's a person, it's a time, it's emotion and it's a preceding action. So, Where were you? Who were you with? What time of day was it? How did you feel at the time? Did anything happen immediately beforehand? So, if you identify what's getting in your way to, fill in the blank. Go to the gym, if that's what you wanna do, whatever you wanna do. Go to the yoga class, well, I don't go because it's at five thirty and always at five o'clock I have this expectation and need that I need to stay in the office and keep doing some paperwork. Well, why? So, that's the trigger, what's going on? Well, Where were you? Who were you with? What time of day was it? Identify that trigger and choose a new response in that moment, and it's got to be specific and immediate. And that's one little trick, one little hack to get closer to changing the habits in our lives and getting in action. One last thing I wanna talk about is after we get in motion, right? We're doing something. How do we make it, just, beautiful and creative and poetic and immersive and for this we're gonna play a game, you ready? Out there? We're playing a game, stay with me, everybody in the room, you ready? I'll give you twenty seconds and what I want you to do is I want you to read these words. I just want you to read to yourself. Don't write anything down. Just read the words. (humming) Okay, what do you remember? Go.
Birds and bees.
Say it again?
Birds and bees.
Birds and bees. Good.
Sooner or later.
Say it again?
Sooner or later.
Sooner or later, good.
Body soul. Well done.
Bow and arrow.
Bow and arrow. Yay. Anything else?
Uhhh. That's a good one. Right. Well done. Yep. Yep, well done. Yep, first one, yeah, good.
Birds and bees.
Birds and bees, you said that, good. Okay, well, just as first blush we've got, the score is four to two, four to two, you remembered, what sets of words more than the other? (mumbling) Yeah, the ones with the missing letters, of course. Why? Because you had to think about it. Because when you read nice and easy, it just floated through your mind nice and easy and you didn't have to think about it, but if you just x-ray that moment in time in your mind, when you read null and void, you went nu...null and you had to work in that microcosm, you had to work, and you had to think about it and that's what the mind wants. You want to be provoked, that's the place of learning, it's a place that, athletes, they call it, right, being in the zone, musicians call it being in the pocket, right? It's this place where time slows down, where things can get real deeply immersive and time gets super elastic, like remember the bike trip story from earlier? We would be on that bike trip and we would be say on day twenty-seven and then somebody would say, oh remember when we were at Carl's place? Carl's place was only four days earlier, and we all feel like, whew, that was a century ago, that was so long ago, because when you're in a place of deep learning, time gets a little wonky and elastic and stretches out, you get deeply immersed in what you're doing. You know this, you've experienced this often in athletic circumstances, hopefully sometimes at work, but like, if you're say, a photographer out there in the wild doing what you love to do, but it's the intersection of challenge and skill and if you're familiar with this idea, this concept of flow it is the challenge presented and the skill level available to meet it is a place of flow and what happens of course is when the challenge is high and the skill level doesn't quite meet it, we're gonna get a little excited, Can I do this? And then, when the skill level is not there all in the challenge is still very high, this is a place of deep anxiety, worry and then apathy this is learned helplessness, this is like, total shutdown. Inversely, if your skill is very high, and the challenge doesn't really meet it, that's a place of control. I've got this, yep, and then you're kind of relaxed and it's really easy, it's bum, bum, you do it with one hand like in "The Matrix," you know Keanu Reeves and all that, and then you just get boredom and you completely check out and you start polishing your resume. The point is, that only you know when you're in this place. If you're the boss, remember this is called, leading innovation. You cannot tell someone, get in flow, you can provoke them, you can present challenges, but only you know when you've found this place. Only you know and then you wanna try to replicate it over time and things get in the way, things get in the way, rules, dogma, hierarchy, expectations or as Hally put it, your own, that own internal brain, you know, about what you can't do. So the next game I wanna play, just to bring this home to application is, What can you break that gets in your way? What are some implicit rules or even explicit rules that you can break that get in your way of getting towards this deep flow state, okay? So, again. What rules can we break that are maybe very hard to do, but would have a very high impact, for example? Something in your organization, something you think of? I came up with, stop required office hours. You know, a lot of people have this, right? Show up, punch a clock, maybe it's required in your line of work, I mean, certainly, if you're a nuclear reactor regulator, well, you wanna kinda be there, or an air traffic controller, you better be there. But, if you work in a different kind of organization, or task, but you have this expectation, you have to be there. Maybe this kind of thing, would be hard to implement, but would have a high impact on morale or productivity or for example, shorten meetings, This is a big one. You know, why do they have to be an hour? Who said they had to be an hour? Always, and why do we have to invite so many people, (laughs) to these things? You know, or call instead of email, right? Just pick up the phone, we can solve this in two minutes instead of these long strings. So, what I'm asking you to do, is just think of the rules that are implicit that our in our life that get in our way and stop us that we can eradicate and think of it in terms of the difficult to do, or, in the impact it will have. So, here, this is fun. What does that mean? Take on more work. Take on more work. Why would I do that? Yeah, that's really hard to do. Say yes to everything. Is it gonna have an impact? No. It's gonna get in your way. Stop. Destroy that expectation. But, you just say yes to everything and take on more work and remember when you give someone else the opportunity to learn something and do something and you give them control, that's a generous gesture. That's saying, I trust you, and I'm giving you an opportunity to learn. And that's really hard to do when you're newly promoted to new sales leader or marketing vice president or whatever it is. So, think of, in this construct, of the things that get in your way that you can eridicate in your life and along the way, you'll need to have resilience as you do it and so I'll just give you this last little story and definition about what resilience means which is, resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. It means bouncing back from difficult experiences. There's an old fable, it's not true, but it's a good fable. (laughs) about... Long ago, they're transporting fish across the United States on railcars, right? Cod. And the cod when it got out to the west coast, was just kinda mushy and gross and, you know, cuz' it's been so long in the railcars. So, what they did was, they put a, the natural prey for Cod is Catfish. So, they put one Catfish in each tank, and so the Cod would race around and keep themselves in a sort of low-level stress and alertness constantly and then of course, at the end of the journey, they were vibrant and excellent, healthy Cod. It's a fable, but it has a point, which is, in order to become more stress resistant, we need to introduce it and have it in our lives just a little bit, consistently over time in novel ways. This is what I came to share with you today. I'm so grateful to you out there, participating, wherever you are, across the planet, and beyond in this intergalactic journey and thank you so much to you folks here participating in the audience, I'm super grateful, and to you my friend, thank you for being here all day with us. Thank you.
My pleasure. Shawn, thank you so much. I wanna make sure that everybody at home knows how they can stay in touch with you, how they can follow.
What you are doing. So, where can we find you?
You can find me at Shawn at Mindscaling dot com. Mindscaling is my company and you can check us out there, or on Twitter. Thank you so much.