“If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”
While the identity of the original author of that quote is up for debate – Henry Ford is one of the many people to whom it has been attributed – the powerful lesson behind those words is a message for all of us, for all time.
Over the course of my career I have met many people who shared with me that their repeated failures in attempting to produce certain results had ultimately led to them giving up. Some of them told me that they had “tried for years and years” before concluding that their search for success was futile.
I believe one of the reasons these folks experienced repeated failure is because they had not adopted the Habit of Extreme Flexibility.
In other words, when they confided in me that they had “tried for years and years” what they were telling me was that they’d reached the conclusion that what they had been trying to achieve was not achievable.
They had not spent much, if any, time considering the possibility the problem lay with their method rather than with the result they were hoping to achieve.
They all shared with me that they had done the same thing over and over in the hopes that the results would change in their favour.
The Habit of Extreme Flexibility is a gift to ourselves that conditions us to examine our behaviors in the context of the results they produce, and then to be adventurous enough to modify our behavior – change the way we do things – and then measure the extent to which the results change.
Thomas Edison was asked why he had not given up after 10,000 failed attempts at inventing the first commercially practical incandescent light. His reply, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” exemplifies the Habit of Extreme Flexibility.
A wise teacher once explained to me that there is no such thing as failure, there are only outcomes.
He went on to teach me that life is little more than a series of equations. Each time we exercise a certain behavior, we produce a certain result.
Therefore, according to my wise mentor, Behaviour X = Result Y.
If we require a different result – if we are not happy with Result Y – we need to produce a different behavior – change Behaviour X. The greater the number of behaviours we are willing to exhibit, the greater the amount of influence we have on the result.
In other words, the more flexible we are in our behavior, the more likely we are to produce the results we want.
Hence, the Habit of Extreme Flexibility.
Simply put: if what you are doing is not producing the result you desire, it is a signal to change what you are doing.
In addition to the wonderful quote above, this story is also brought to mind another wonderful quote attributed to Einstein who reputedly stated that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the results to be different.”
I totally get this. I have been writing blogs for years and I fully expect that one day someone may read one of them.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
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– I have recently completed a series of radio interviews. If you would like to listen to them, here is a link.
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– Robert French – a good friend an accomplished author – recently posted a flattering review of my book, Life Sinks or Soars, the Choice is Yours. Please click here and take a moment to read it.
– Here is another review of my book by Actionable Books.