Have you noticed big circle elephants held by small ropes tied to their legs?
With the power they possess, that rope should be joke. They could break free anytime.
When they were young, they tried that and failed. Now, they are conditioned to believe they can’t.
When am I aware of my own power to yank the rope? When I realize the opposite may also be true.
Here are a few from my experiences that cover the range - sober, hmmm that is interesting to super feel good.
1. There is a village in China where villagers pay Doctor only when they are *healthy.*
That last word has expanded my horizons so much.
I walked by an urgent care center in a strip mall today. I peered through the window. The reception area was empty. They make money only when someone enters. That made me pause. Is this the best incentive to have when we are at our most vulnerable? The payer is [usually] a third party — an insurance company. The moral code that holds bilateral transaction is missing for what matters — that scares me too.
At work, we try to align incentives to shape outcome. The opposite of paying for a service makes a lot of sense in health care. The Chinese village doctors believe it is their job to make sure a person is healthy. And when they are, the doctor gets paid.
I learned about this line of thought from Derek Sivers. It runs in my head often. He is my mystic. He opens his mouth and my mind expands.
2. We go to work and take time off for vacation. What if the opposite may also true?
In a traditional workplace, we travel to work regularly and take a few weeks off during vacation time. What happens if the concept of taking a few weeks away from your work team turns on its head?
What happens if you meet your teams for a few weeks in a year — in person. Rest of the time, we are remote and agile — not sitting next to each other and yet iterating.
Real estate would be cheaper. You are more than just night sleepers in the home you built with care. Roads would be populated as needed. And you can have virtual conference right in your living room. 100% remote could be a new norm. And you still meet your team in person — occasionally in a memorable destination. Google up, there are pioneering companies advocating this concept.
3) When last name is family name, my children have a different last name than me.
My last name is my father’s first name. I am not the only one from South India with that structure.
When university admission letters came from US to my home, I remember my dad asking me, “Why are the letters addressed to me?”
When I explained it, he chuckled then.
Now, it is always fun explaining US airline reservations agents that all my children share a last name different from me. They pause. After I spell it out — they connect the dots with my first name. And I bring a chuckle to their monotonous day.
4) Best for last: a ball boy may hold the umbrella for a tennis star. Sometimes, just sometimes, the opposite may also be true.
I cannot explain what great leadership qualities are, I know when I see them. What qualities to you do see in Novak Djokovic here?
The quality I see — the eye to eye of equals.
Talking about eye to eye of equals, I learned through time that one of the biggest nemesis for wise people/ subject matter experts is raised chins and exposed inner nostrils. A symbol of self-importance that obviates any goodness in the content they cherish to share. As adults at work, we instinctively dislike looking at people’s inner nostrils. What is true for us, could it be true for kids? My experience as a dad seems to indicate so.
The response from my young kids is awesome when I lift them to my eye level. A little muted, when I bend over. The sparkling best when I bend my knees and meet them at their eye level. So, the bent knees are the quality I have inculcated in myself.
Bringing the conversation together
The point — rules are made by society. Somewhere, the opposite may be the norm. Sometimes, the opposite may also be true. Be open to possibilities.
From a believer of assumptions, become a seeker of possibilities.
Along with your mind, your eye to eye dinner table conversations expand to embrace new frontiers. In the process, you earn mutual respect.
That is a triple layer dessert for the mind. Yummy and pleasurable.