Should We Look For Gnu (New) Ways?

February, 2012

Instead of "always doing it the way you did before," try something GNU! :-)

Throughout my life and on many different occasions, I’ve heard (the) reason(s) for doing something, stated as: “We always do it this way.” In other words, don’t do it in a new (or the recursive acronymgnu :-) way, but continue doing it the same old way.

Of course, there’s merit in doing something because it was proven to work in the past. If we’re familiar with what we’ve done, then we will have a certain degree of confidence in doing it “like before.” If it has worked in the past, then we readily assume it will work in the present. And, it might!

"GNU is a recursive acronym for 'GNU's Not Unix!" Now, there's a new or gnu way of not doing it because that's the way it's always been done. :-)

So, why consider doing it differently? If we do something a certain way because, we always do it that way, then what are we giving up by not trying a different way?

Consider Henry Ford and his invention of the Ford assembly line. He decided to have the cars move to the workers instead of the “we always do it this way” of having the workers move to the cars. That simple switch revolutionized the automobile industry. How did Ford think of this? I’ll bet he didn’t know exactly what the result would be when he decided to change his assembly line. I’ll also bet he was operating on a hunch. He decided to do something that wasn’t the way it had always been done.

How can we get out of the rut of doing something the way it has always been done? One way is by using the old education adage: “start with a clean slate.” Literally, start out with nothing from the past. I’m not saying we shouldn’t use past knowledge, but I am saying we should set it aside, as much as possible, in order to have a fresh new look at what we’re trying to do. Do some what if-ing. Consider the implications and consequences of the “what if’s” and then, if they seem reasonable, try them.

Henry Ford decided to have the cars move to the workers instead of the "we always do it this way" of having the workers move to the cars.

Starting out with a clean slate allows the creative part of thinking to be manifested. As long as we use our critical thinking to help assess the creative output from our mind, we should be able to have fresh approaches to problems, while still using what we know from the “way we have always done it.”

For a change, consider trying new approaches to some of the mundane parts of your life. Instead of mowing your grass by going back and forth, try going round and round. Instead of going to the grocery store using your usual route, try a completely different one that takes you by a new area. Instead of eating a salad at the beginning of the meal, try eating it at the end of the meal. There are many times during a normal day that we could change our approach and reason of, “we always do it this way.”

By getting rid of the reason, “We always do it this way,” we will be able to have a new look at our present and future. Too often, people are stuck in the past by not trying new ways of doing things.

"If you always do things a certain way based on previous methods, then your vision of the future is like the past."

Think about it – if you always do things a certain way based on previous methods, then your vision of the future is like the past. You have nothing new to look forward to. This is especially true for those of us who are “up-there in years.” We have so much history that we can’t imagine a new and different way of doing something. “That’s the way we’ve always done it!

How about a fresh and new look on life? Let’s use the philosophy behind the statement, “we always do it this way” sparingly.

Consider changing the statement to, “We always DID it that way, but now we are considering new ways.

Should we look for new ways to do what we do?

Well, if we like stale and mundane, then no.

If we don’t want “freshness” in our approach to doing what we do, then no.

But, if we want to learn from the past AND not necessarily repeat it, then yes, we should look for new ways to do what we do. :-)

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Does Failure Really Exist?

May, 2010

This picture is by Jackson Pollock and once was considered a “failure” by many experts in the art world. Now, it is proudly displayed as an example of good art.

Does failure really exists? Before I answer that question let’s consider some other questions – all related to failure. For each question, I will give an answer or response which represents the first thing that comes to my mind.

>Do I know of anyone who has failed?

Yes and no! I know people who said they failed, but I think they didn’t. I’ve known people who didn’t think they failed, but I think most people would say they did.

>What does failure mean?

Failure is having no success. I realize this is a simplistic and short answer, but I think it is the only way we can think of failure. Too often, failure is the term used when the person who “failed” had much success and still was stuck with the failure label.

Does this prove we are not failures?

>Is failure relative?

Definitely! One person’s failure is another person’s success. Consider a school room setting where one student is considered to have great potential, but doesn’t perform like s/he is expected. Now compare that to another student who is considered to have little potential, yet performs far above her/his perceived ability.

>Are we programmed to believe that failure is bad?

Yes! I think failure is considered to be a negative word. Most people, when hearing the word ‘failure,’ immediately consider it to be something that is bad.

>Are we afraid of failure?

I don’t know about you, but I have always been concerned about being labeled a failure.

>Does everyone experience failure?

This is an interesting question. I have often experienced what many people, including myself, would initially call failure, but many times, upon hindsight, turned out to be just a good learning experience. This, I think, happens to everyone.

Failure is a locked door to success!

>Is failure more of an attitude than something that really happens to a person?

Now, this is a most interesting question and it is also one that I find most difficult to answer. You see, failure does seem to be more of an attitude than something that really happens, BUT how can that be reality? :-) What I mean, is when we have failed and we feel we have failed, it seems real. On the other hand, most failures that I have experienced were not as bad upon hindsight as they seemed when they happened. In fact, always after the failure, I can see a lesson learned, different point of view, etc. that usually allows me to view the “failure” as more attitude and less real failure. Wow!

Please peruse the following quotes about failure from successful people who walked many different paths through life. For each quote, I have provided the author’s name in hypertext, giving you a direct link to a website with more information about her/him.

“We seem to gain wisdom more readily through our failures than through our successes. We always think of failure as the antithesis of success, but it isn’t. Success often lies just the other side of failure.”

Leo F. Buscaglia

“Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.”

William Saroyan

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas Edison

“Failure is success if we learn from it.”

Malcolm S. Forbes

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Henry Ford

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”

Zig Ziglar

“Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure… it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.”

Robert Schuller

“I don’t believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.”

Oprah Winfrey

“There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.”

Tony Robbins

The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.

“Failure is impossible.”

Susan B. Anthony

“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

Buddha

“One must be a god to be able to tell successes from failures without making a mistake.”

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Ok, so it seems to me that successful people don’t necessarily think in terms of failure, but instead, they think in terms of what they can learn from the experience others are calling failure. Instead of labeling oneself a failure, consider it a learning experience AND it is what you make of it.

Almost all of what is called failing involves experience; experience is an important part of the learning process. Why is it that we admire an experienced person and disdain a failure? Perhaps, if we consider failure as nothing more than an experience that we can learn from, then fear of failing and other negative aspects of failure will lessen. Or, if we look at failure the way those successful people quoted above did, then we are much more likely to experience less of it. I fail to see how this won’t lead to success! :-)


Is “We Always Do It This Way” A Good Reason?

November, 2009
In April 1947, The Assembly line of Ford plant is halted for the day of Henry Ford's funeral

In April 1947, The Assembly line of Ford plant is halted for the day of Henry Ford’s funeral

Our World Is Made Of New Ideas

Our world is constantly, a “new idea!”

Throughout my life and on many different occasions, I have heard a reason for doing something stated as, “we always do it this way.” Of course, there is some merit in doing something because it was proven to work in the past. If we are familiar with what we have done, then we will have a certain degree of confidence in doing it like before. If it has worked in the past, then we readily assume that it will work in the present. And, it might.

So, why consider doing it differently? If we do something a certain way because, “we always do it that way,” then what are we giving up by not trying a different way?

Consider Henry Ford and his invention of the Ford assembly line. He decided to have the cars move to the workers instead of the “we always do it this way” of having the workers move to the cars. That simple switch revolutionized the automobile industry. How did he think of this? I’ll bet he didn’t know exactly what the result would be when he decided to change his assembly line. I’ll also bet he was operating on a hunch. He decided to do something that wasn’t the way it had always been done.

How can we get out of the rut of doing something the way it has always been done? One way is by using the old education saying of, “start with a clean slate.” Literally, start out with nothing from the past. I’m not saying we shouldn’t use past knowledge, but I am saying we should set it aside as much as possible in order to have a fresh new look at what we are trying to do. Do some “what if-ing.” Consider the implications and consequences of the “what if’s” and then, if they seem reasonable, try them.

Starting With A Clean Slate

I’m starting with a clean slate!

Starting out with a clean slate allows the creative part of thinking to be manifested. As long as we use our critical thinking to help assess the creative output from our mind, we should be able to have fresh approaches to problems, while still using what we know from the “way we have always done it.”

For a change, consider trying new approaches to some of the mundane parts of your life. Instead of mowing your grass by going back and forth, try going round and round. Instead of going to the grocery store using your usual route, try a completely different one that takes you past a new area. Instead of eating a salad at the beginning of the meal, try eating it at the end of the meal. There are many times during a normal day that we could change our approach and reason of “we always do it this way.”

Eating Salad At End Of Meal

I’m eating my salad for dessert!

By getting rid of the reason, “we always do it this way,” we will be able to have a new look at our future. Too often, people are stuck in the past by not trying new ways of doing things.

Think about it – if you always do things a certain way based on previous methods, then your vision of the future is like the past. You have nothing new to look forward to. This is especially true for those of us who are “up there in years.” We have so much history that we can’t imagine a new and different way of doing something. “That’s the way we’ve always done it!

How about a fresh and new look on life? Let’s use the philosophy behind the statement, “we always do it this way” sparingly.

Consider changing the statement to, “we always DID it that way, but now we are considering new ways.

Please consider a comment for a new way. :-)grab-small-r21


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