Why Don’t We “Get It”?

Posted by & filed under Reflection.

Seth Godin posted a great blog on October 16th titled “I Don’t Get It” (see a full copy of the blog posting at the end of this message). In it, he points to the more and more common, and quite frightening, trend of people quickly giving up when facing complexity or not understanding what is in front of them, and not looking deeper to gain further insights to actually “get it” at the end.

I ask myself why people do not probe further, think deeper, pause to reflect, put their actions and decisions in a broader context and anticipate. Is it lack of skill? Laziness? Is it that we are so overworked and tired that we opt for the easy path, the simple solution, put a check mark on the “to do list” and are off running for the next gig? Have we become so mechanical that it is OK to neglect caring? Why is it that a person is proud to say to me “Edyta, I don’t pick battles that I can’t win” and why is it that another person ignores digging deeper in order to analyze a complex file that needs urgent attention?

I have come to a simple, and perhaps crude, conclusion – what we are missing is perseverance and curiosity.

My sense is that we have gotten used to being instantly rewarded for our outcomes. Taking time to think is often seen as luxury. And even if we have time to think, at times we do not really know what to do with it… so solitaire comes out on the smart phone, or we start answering emails. Uncommonly we engage in the “talk through it” activities that help us dialogue, explore and learn without starting with a strong position, bias or a conclusion. This affects our creativity. This affects our depth and insight.

Demonstrating interest and asking others to “tell you more”, or simply asking “why” can help us to discover, learn and see things differently. So, to all of us who do say or think “I don’t get it” and move on…stop.

Sir W. Churchill once said “a man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but usually manages to pick himself up, walk over or around it, and carry on”. I would hate for him to be right… in 2013.  Thank you, Seth Godin.


“I Don’t Get It” by Seth Godin

Who is teaching us to look deeper?

If you read a blog post, and it begins with an analogy about car dealers, is your instinct to say, “well, I’m not a car dealer…” and then jump to the next post?

When you see something working (or not working) in the marketplace, something you don’t understand, do you stop to figure out why it’s working (or not working)? Or is it easier to change the attention channel and get back into line?

I’ve discovered (the hard way) three rules for writing a blog post that will spread:

  • Don’t use unfamiliar words or concepts.
  • Avoid subtlety.
  • Try not to challenge deeply held beliefs.

Education, politics, marketing, tourist attractions–they all seem to work better when we keep people moving, behind the velvet rope, input & output, cause and effect, this then that. When the masses conform to the system we’ve built, the system works a whole lot better.

But who wants to be a cog in that machine? While playing it safe might work, where does it get us?

The best opportunity you’ve got to grow and to make an impact is to seek out the, “I don’t get it,” moments, and then work at it and noodle on it and discuss it until you do get it. Analogies and metaphors are your friends. Dense lyrics, almost indecipherable prose, mysterious successes–these are the places where you will leap forward.

I know there is now an infinite amount of media to choose from, an infinite number of experiences to have. But if you skip over the ones that aren’t spoon fed to you, all you’ll end up with is eating from a spoon.

Posted by Seth Godin on October 16, 2013 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/10/i-dont-get-it.html

Follow Seth on Twitter(@ThisIsSethsBlog)

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