it depends…

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i am well aware of the frustration i cause with that answer. nearly every question i am asked gets that simple response. the problem is there is not enough information – i would first have to assume that the person asking is aware and communicating all relevant information, and second – i would have to assume that they are interpreting my answer as i intend. all those assumptions are radically optimistic in the very best circumstance. training is about communication, about relationships… we are so used to being sold simple answers – 10 step plans – not because they work but because they are palatable – they are easy to swallow and easy to sell. but the truth is that no plan survives implementation. better yet – no successful plan survives implementation. any fool can set their mind and close their eyes to new information. ruts and pigheaddedness are not new, and while i can appreciate the poetry of leveraging individual will against the tyranny of circumstance – there comes a time where one must decide between being right and being righteous.

it is easy to market a plan; 8 simple steps to… whatever. creating solutions to the problems that we best understand, following best case scenarios to a solution we are selling. circumstances change. actions have consequences. progress is messy, and rarely linear. our response to that fact is to not sell a plan or a package, but a skillset. sure we have a plan, multiple in fact – but we are not so arrogant as to assume that we have thought of everything. our plan is to adapt. to learn and respond. to achieve our goal.

because that is the rub – as well as the first step. being honest, not only with the end result but with the means – with the costs you are willing to pay. how do you define success? do you want the outcome or the credit? is it still a victory if no one knows your name? how much praise is enough? when you realize that there are more conditions to what you consider “victory” then you will be better able to plan. to get used to the idea of accepting less or to increase your willingness to pay. either way – to approach the goal honestly. we must always be considerate about action and consequence. about correlation and causation. to walk the line, to work diligently to separate the two right up to the moment that it doesn’t matter.

time marches on, relentless; and you can’t be neutral on a moving train. plan, weigh options, act. it is as simple as you allow it to be. time – energy – emotion – everything costs something. be ruthless, be flexible – our real strength lies in our adaptability. incremental change. the ability to use the tools that suit our needs, to adjust, to learn, to pursue our goals. to respond.

remember your goal – it is your counterweight. it will point the way, separate the the useful from the useless. protect what is important, eliminate what is unnecessary. there is no good news, there is no bad news – there are facts, there are feelings. control what you can, work around what you can not. waste nothing.

 

be honest. be deliberate. and take responsibility.

 

the rest is easy.

 

-the station.

 

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not to put too fine a point on it, but when someone tries to sell me a prepackaged solution i assume that either they think i am too stupid to understand the finer points of change – in which case i do not trust them. or worse yet, they actually think that writing a plan down is the same as understanding how to solve a complicated problem…

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change is the goal. understanding the difference between causation and correlation allows for greater flexibility – but is not always necessary for implementation. when my house is clean – my diet is better. i harbor no illusions that a messy house somehow interferes with my ability to eat well – but i do understand that a messy house is a sign i am heading towards difficult territory – it is an opportunity to do better.

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analyze. interpret. adjust. cycle focus between your goal and the next step. separate those things that you can change, that you cant change, and that you have decided not to change. know the differences, and how to handle them. know the cost – of action and inaction. spend wisely. blame no one.