Apparently, Albert Einstein did not say “The definition of insanity is going the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.” It is sometimes also attributed to Ben Franklin, who probably didn’t say it either. I don’t know who said it, but I think it makes a very good point.
We have, as a society, decided that there is a ‘right way’ for certain things. We persist in believing that this ‘right way’ is right, even when it is quite obviously Not Working, because at some point ‘the way’ was handed down by, apparently, God. Except that doesn’t seem likely, so someone we have endowed with the power to decide Truth from Not-Truth.
Or, wait. Maybe we just persist in believing certain things because someone, often the news media, said it was true and we all picked up the sound byte and ran with it.
It’s January, and that’s the traditional time of year for thinking through plans and goals and making decisions about new directions and ventures. (It’s also traditionally the time for making resolutions about diet and exercise that we won’t keep past March.)
One of the things I’ve been thinking about is rethinking my approach to thinking. It’s very easy to have an idea, start to think it through, and suddenly have any number of ‘should’s and ‘will’s and preconceptions about how it will go based on nothing but what has happened before.
I was speaking to my Russian neighbor this morning about doing things differently. She said it is the hardest thing because people would rather be lazy and comfortable. My Russian neighbor doesn’t do politically correct.
So this year I really want to focus on thinking differently. Not doing the same thing because that is what is expected. Not believing things just because that’s what we’ve always thought, or done. Let’s take off those every day spectacles and give the lenses a good cleaning because I think they’re pretty smudgy.
Voltaire actually did say “Lorsque l’on effectue une action, atteint un mauvais résultat, puis répète l’action plusieurs fois attendent un meilleur résultat, on est un peu fou de singe, non?” or “Once one has implemented an action and gotten a poor result, then repeating that action multiple times in hopes of a better result is a little crazy, isn’t it?”
I want to do things differently. What will that look like?