The Insanity of Fighting the Last War

AlbertEinsteinMy friend, Laura Novakowski, recently wrote on about how our subconscious beliefs may be driving us to take the same action over and over again, yet expect different, better results.

While she is undoubtedly correct, I have a different, supplementary take.

In business and life, it is insane to think the same action will yield the same result. And yet, I see it all the time.

The same thought pattern rears its head in my clients, my teammates, and (gasp) even myself. Something happened that was bad, difficult or upsetting, so we avoid it at all costs.

  • “My business is too controversial, so I don’t want to blog. It will attract haters.”
  • “The last time I wore this jacket someone said I looked like a penguin.”
  • “Didn’t we try a web service a few years ago that got hacked and we lost a bunch of data? I’ll never use one of those again.”

Negative outcomes happen sometimes; we hope that with hard work and dedication good outcomes will happen even more.

But success isn’t the absence of negative outcomes. Success occurs in learning from the correctly interpreted feedback that comes from negative outcomes.

I’m going to tell you something that will change your life:

  • “You absolutely, positively should be blogging precisely because your business is controversial. Use that platform to show people why you work with passion every day. Publish the negative feedback and answer them with facts, kindness, and grace.”
  • “You looked like a penguin because your wore a tuxedo to a business casual party. That doesn’t mean you won’t look great at the New Years gala.”
  • “Yes, that web service crashed a few years ago and hosed your data. That sucks. Maybe implement a backup strategy this time and you’ll get all the benefits of cloud services without the Business Continuity risks.”

If you learn from your mistakes, what did not work yesterday, might just work today.

About Tony



Tony is Live Mercury's Chief Strategy Officer. With the heart of an engineer and the soul of a designer, he is passionate about seeing Live Mercury's clients succeed. Outside of work Tony is an automobile enthusiast, with a special love for high powered German wagons. He also considers himself a foodie and avid fan of everything that J.J. Abrams does, even Felicity and Alcatraz.