Exclusivity’s Shortcomings and Detriments

The previous article ‘Traits of High Performers’ outlined the potential contributions of high performers to elevate an organization’s strategies, and consequent operational productivity and status as an “employer of choice.” The clearly delineated traits were properly identified as remaining unforeseen and/or an individual possessing those traits were unobtainable, yet I outlined a pragmatic strategy to entice and retain members of this exclusive group. While the promise of previously deemed impossible goal attainment seems elusive with a mesmerizing enticement for completion, we must exert caution when engaging with, and ultimately hiring, member(s) of the vaunted high performer group.

I did note in the previous article ‘Traits of High Performers’ that a cognitive bias, the halo effect, was present during interpersonal interactions. This reality was evident as an exceedingly superlative attribute of the individual such as a high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) developed a holistic overview of the individual as beneficial to the group, manager, and organization while muddying an overall objective view covering all dimensions of the human mind and persona. A related recurring trend I’ve observed is that high IQ individuals pompously, arrogantly, and smugly defend their positions through unvetted “opinions”, and voraciously refuse to accept dissident viewpoints substantiated through copious evidence known as “facts”.

Despite a litany of potential shortcomings, the high performer group retains the same human framework of adaptability that is integral in a rapidly changing corporate landscape. If the high performer group’s core traits like humility, an open-minded approach, and creativity are deemed beneficial in furthering the organization’s progress toward its goals, then other undesirable traits like arrogance and a smug demeanor can be adapted through training and interpersonal interaction given that the latter traits are either secondary and/or tertiary in expression.  Awareness of the interplay between character traits allows us to accurately measure risk, so we may enter into the most well-informed decision possible by accounting for all or nearly all available data points.

We may not be able to completely derisk the hiring transaction, but the opportunity cost of losing the highly valued productivity of a high performer may outweigh the lost or diminished productivity due to personality conflicts. One study did exhibit a detriment of hiring a group of high performers, and placing them in a supposedly copacetic team structure to coalesce around attainment of a common shared goal. The opposite result of unhinged incongruity was observed as members pedantically discussed the semantical intricacies of possible strategies and their alternatives including execution risks, unintended consequences, and counterparty risks while not arriving at an actionable conclusion to derive desired results. Therefore, we must not only account for individual traits in the high performer group, but assessment and selection processes must place gravity on organizational dynamics representative of either a collection of individuals from the high performer group or a congruous group assimilation of a high performing individual displaying novel, contrarian thought processes.

The foibles of project management are countless when involving both provoked and unsolicited input, which is subject to constant change, of numerous internal and external stakeholders. The human element can galvanize progress through seamless clearly defined task completion toward a shared common goal, or usher in unheralded uncertainty and/or ambiguity through shifting priorities, deadlines, and allocation of tasks or resources:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ten-monster-projects-kill-your-career-intrapreneur-tristan-kromer/?trackingId=rg%2B%2Bzz0PEHmgV60m1s41eQ%3D%3D

The complexity of project management with almost incomprehensible scope, like in the case of “MechaGodzilla”, appears unwieldy, overwhelming, and without an all-encompassing solution for completion. An individual from the high performer group tends to revel in and welcome seemingly impossible scenarios, as adept and all-inclusive strategies may be employed with a pragmatic action plan per Occam’s razor. The pedantic discussion of project semantics may either cease, or become non-existent, when a high performer is left to their own devices with occasionally sporadic collaborative discussions to refine ideas into their simplest form for ease of execution in alignment with Occam’s razor, and corroboration of likely results from applied theories. This project management scenario is not only feasible, but may flourish by accounting for all alternatives, facets, and resources involved in the project while developing a concise, straightforward action plan that clearly defines tasks and responsibilities with only relevant, potent measurement metrics to assess progress to specification.

Another benefit of including high performing individuals is their aptitude to connect seemingly disparate ideas to develop change initiatives aimed at corporate infrastructure improvement. Some studies state that only 20% of the workforce is accountable for 80% of an organization’s production, yet this figure aligns with multiple other studies referring to the commonly used business principle of 80/20. If the above figure were credible and valid, then corporations that proactively decide to hire high-performing individuals may reap the discussed benefits of unsurpassed progress while avoiding distinct shortcomings and detriments of this exclusive group of people if the individual is placed into a formative setting.

The proper setting to eviscerate a high performer’s penchant toward analytical discussion is an environment affording autonomy to creatively explore plausible alternatives and solutions to discern organizational inefficiencies and iniquities, rather than being placed in a narrow confining box with restrictive, strict adherence to standardized processes and procedures. Furthermore, the inclusion of individuals exhibiting average or above average intellect and behavioral tendencies toward collaboration should promote increased inclusion of divergent ideas to foster unity and harmony within the work group. Steve Jobs aptly described the value proposition and optimal environment for high performers:

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

Typically, a high performer will readily become familiar with a job description, yet the scope of their abilities and interests will form the outline for a position’s contributions. Jobs was apropos in his assessment of the work style of high IQ individuals for achieving maximal performance including process improvements, other various change initiatives, and optimizing productivity. A corporate approach of placing the onus of defining the scope and scale of one’s role is traditionally reserved for the upper echelons of the corporate hierarchy, direct managers, or external job group evaluation consultants. This traditional viewpoint and approach assumes that the corresponding organization will discover, attract, and hire a fitting candidate, and the selected candidate will be stimulated by the role’s rote tasks and responsibilities with no guarantee of growth in the role’s makeup and/or accession to an increased responsibility role. High performers require a counterintuitive approach, which affords high performers the latitude for creative experimentation that both serves to create innovative connections and discover infeasible projects to avoid potential costly mistakes or failures. We may enjoy the seemingly endless possibilities for an unequivocal competitive advantage by hiring a high-performing individual if we shrewdly account for potential shortcomings and detriments; however, we must first seek to understand the entirety of an individual’s being to arrive at a fruitful hiring decision within a group’s unique personal dynamics.

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Merry Christmas

As I alluded to in my previous post, here is the link for an insightful article covering the unique challenges faced by someone with a high IQ who experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):

https://www.dancingupsidedown.com/the-high-iq-tbi/

I am thankful and eternally grateful that I was spared from the numerous drawbacks that hinder an individual from experiencing a satisfying quality of life. As we praise the birth of the son of the ultimate healer, I hope everyone enjoys priceless time with their friends and family.

Traits of High Performers

I previously referenced an ancillary LinkedIn article in the post ‘Sense of Urgency’ defining the top 5 traits of high-performing individuals, and would like to revisit this outline in a primary focus. Many individuals in corporate America are continuously attempting to identify, attract, and retain exclusively unobtainable high performers without essential direction. The practices are an unfounded trial of experimentation with unsubstantiated hopes of efficacy for the organization. I intentionally noted high performers as unobtainable, since that is the permeating perception throughout the entirety of industry verticals. Hopefully this post will lend usable and practical insight into the makeup of high performers, so businesses can define essential qualities through strategy development, and attract corresponding high performers through enticing verbiage in job descriptions that aligns with the desires and motivators of this targeted group.

The targeted group of high performers aligns with the trite representation of a “perfect” candidate as a purple squirrel. These candidates are described as the non-existent, yet highly sought after, rodent, to reiterate and solidify the idea that the existence and attraction of candidates matching 100% of an opening’s and organizational culture’s requirements is impossible. While this opinion may be valid, I propose that the high performing group exceeds adequacy in potentiating delivery beyond mere sufficiency of predefined qualifications for a role and organizational culture. A grave disconnect is present due to organizations, and their constituents, in both developing a defensible, effective, and comprehensive strategy aimed at this people group, and containing the ability to readily identify an individual from the high performing group through analysis of an impersonal, superficial representation of an individual known as written application materials.

In our present time, the hiring authorities of many organizations still rely on application materials to form a regrettably incomplete hiring decision. We must adapt our processes in alignment with current trends to a more holistic, comprehensive assessment of a candidate through personality assessments, competency/skill assessments like trial work duties, and multiple rounds of structured interviews along with pervasive, yet not intrusive, due diligence to include character background checks. I believe the advent, and widespread adoption, of social media does create a hyper-connected world devoid of needed personal downtime, but social media allows hiring authorities to glean deeper insight into the complexities of the human mind.

Moreover, inherent potential of the high performing group is challenging to identify, despite additional data points, as individuals must either be trained for identifying signaling markers, or contain an IQ at a level allowing for accurate assessment of mental capacity within + or – 5 points (1/3rd of a standard deviation). These points hold valid unless the individual exceptionally excels in a particular vocation, trait, or specialty through definition as a thought leader or pioneer of an industry trend. We must display caution when hiring standout individuals, as our lasting impression of unsurpassed proficiency in one particular facet can jade an overall perspective of their persona, as we overlook potential to create discord within groups and other work style inadequacies like procrastination. Another prevalent industry trend is the hiring, praising, and promoting of people possessing superiority in traits known as “soft skills” that correspond to an individual’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ), yet this trend has been shown to ignore another salient trait correlated to performance of Intelligence (IQ). An analogous situation is evidenced in the job searching marketplace, as a bevy of individuals with undergraduate and graduate degrees remain jobless while a dearth of individuals exist whom possess trade skills like required for mechanics or construction workers, despite rising demand in the latter industries. The Harvard Business Review develops persuasive argumentation for consideration of both EQ and IQ when assessing either internal or external candidates for potential executives:

https://hbr.org/2005/11/hiring-for-smarts

This example appropriately places increased priority on IQ for executives due to the complex intricacies of ideating, implementing, and executing initiatives both cross-functionally and transcending geographical boundaries with corresponding cultural and legal ramifications. Business schools present a model where strategic, tactical, and human abilities are required of all managers, yet the percentage requirement shifts when we move from front-line manager to director to executive. A front-line manager requires more emphasis, and adept proficiency, in the human aspect as they complete daily operational work through the efforts of direct reports with minimal emphasis on the strategic aspect, since these individuals execute daily tasks in adherence to standardized processes, procedures, and protocols. Executives are tasked with overseeing seamless, streamlined operations of expansive organizational entities while also promoting and implementing change initiatives to maintain pace with a rapidly evolving marketplace replete with innovative disruptions from new market participants, supplier fulfillment issues, substitute products and/or services reducing a stable market share, potential Intellectual Property (IP) impropriety such as intentional infringement or theft, and meeting adaptive consumer needs with refined product and/or service offerings through surveys and/or focus groups. The strategic-tactical-human model aptly displays that IQ is important for all managerial roles with greater emphasis on strategically demanding roles integral for uninhibited growth while traversing myriad obstacles and challenges. If an organization is seeking thoughtful change management that accounts for the likelihood of vested interest in implementation, then high performers will successfully measure the severity, frequency, and duration of imposed changes to ensure desired implementation along with additional forethought into potential unintended consequences to mitigate execution risk, and consequent financial losses.

High performers can provide a distinct competitive advantage, as top corporations realize humans are an organization’s unequivocal, indefensible, and irreplicable competitive advantage. Does your company desire to attract high performers to further the attainment and exceedance of organizational goals? Do your current offerings meet and/or exceed the fulfillment of the following 5 traits:

  1. Purpose
  2. Autonomy
  3. Impact
  4. A Formidable Team
  5. Salary and Benefits[1]

Aligning your operations with this list will serve to heighten cultural satisfaction, and consequent morale. Perceptibly “Purple Squirrel” candidates will either expectedly or unexpectedly appear in your talent pipelines with a desire to implement fruitful change for your organization. We must first ensure the capability to identify this invaluable group of individuals, then we can focus on attracting, retaining, and developing this unique subset of impactful candidates. We must not discount the importance of providing a fitting placement into a group and organization to augment the current structural integrity, rather than detract from intended progress.

I wanted to thank my viewership for expending time to read my loquacious discourses, and wish everyone a happy holiday season and Merry Christmas. Tomorrow’s piece will be succinct with a link to an article describing the unique challenges presented to high IQ individuals whom have experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

[1] Migale, Davide. “5 Things Top Employees Deeply Care About.” LinkedIn, 5 Mar. 2017, http://www.linkedin.com/pulse/5-things-top-employees-deeply-care-davide-migali/?trackingId=qII%2F01Ux8kav2DHecZJffQ%3D%3D.

 

 

 

Athletic Mindset

In alignment with my previous post ‘Patience is NOT a Virtue,’ athletes are accustomed to enacting action to spur improvement, progress, and hopefully consequent results. An always striving mindset is in stark contrast with the somewhat predictable oscillations of workflow and seasonality of hiring processes. As stated earlier, I would prefer for tasks to be completed yesterday with an unparalleled sense of urgency, which is in concert with an athlete mindset of continuously improving every facet of a performance to include the most minute contributing factors. A factor such as strengthening small stabilizer muscles like the peroneals would appear frivolous, yet the corresponding exercises maximize gait stability and minimize horizontal movement that wastes energy and leads to overuse injuries. The targeted strengthening exercises reduce ground contact time with a stronger push-off due to heightened maximal power output, nerve conduction, elasticity, and proprioception. An athlete is methodical and calculating in their focused approach toward improvement through a fully comprehensive plan aimed at utilizing every available alternative for achievement.

I was reading an article encapsulating an athletic mindset produced by a service tailored toward placing job seekers with collegiate athletic backgrounds into one measure of achievement, suitable, gainful employment, known as Athlete Network. Unsurprisingly, the majority of positions are either purely meritocratic or a hybrid-meritocratic compensation structure to incentivize performance and results over seniority, tenure, and maintenance of the status quo. This mindset is certainly intrinsic to allow athletes to not only survive the rigors of an increasingly competitive landscape of athletics, but thrive during competition that requires maximal resources and abilities to best vaunted, and equally proficient, opponents. Coaches are known to share a continuous improvement ideology by attempting to elicit an increased effort through direct control, recognition, encouragement, and guidance of athletes with constant application attempted at increasing an athlete’s motivation for goal attainment.

The intrinsic insatiable drive and passion of athletes does not necessitate external stimulus like intricate compensation plans to incentivize desired behaviors, as athletes already contain a desire to excel stemming from demanding competition. One study proclaims that an individual will experience increased productivity in the days following receipt of their first paycheck; however, this effect is impermanent, as after approximately 3 days the individual’s work productivity is restored to prepayment levels in support of Herzberg’s Hygiene-Motivator model. A hygiene factor, such as compensation, is shown to merely maintain a continuous productivity level, whereas if the work itself aligns with an individual’s aptitudes and attitude, they are likely to experience increased productivity through increased levels of engagement. An athlete’s identification with sustained, arduous effort is universally accepted, but must be nurtured to avoid overextending an athlete beyond their energy levels and adaptive capabilities.

The unending, tireless striving to excel within an athlete marginalizes the effect of prudent rest and recovery. Many world class athletes utilize 2 to as many as 4 weeks rest from arduous training upon the conclusion of a competitive season. This rest serves to restore either exhausted or nearly exhausted energy reserves while allowing the body to adapt through strengthening of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones, and forming new neurological connections among neurotransmitters and their makeup from the axon through the synapse to the dendrite and ultimately passing to the soma (cell body) through epigenetic change. Furthermore, an invaluable lesson can be derived from the lasting benefits of rest and recovery: workers in the United States must focus on allowing themselves to decompress from life’s stressors to maintain sanity, improve decision-making, and optimize productivity levels without unexpected downtime to recuperate.

Our society focuses on almost 100% work uptime to amass material goods, enter into relationships, and procreate in concert with our peer group and neighbors. This phenomenon is colloquially referred to as “Keeping up the with Joneses,” which promotes the dreaded groupthink in attaining a superficial status symbol like a job title, material good like a new car, or blissful relationship. One study highlighted the unintended consequences of unlimited vacation time in the United States, as employees almost interminately deferred usage of said vacation time for fear of potential termination, being overlooked for promotion, and an inability to expeditiously complete backlogs of work resulting from the vacation time to ensure timely deliver of a product or service. We are bound by a focus on the progress of others while neglecting our instrinsic needs resulting from our unique personalities and characteristics.

A proven athlete focuses on their personal improvement and progress while ignoring the successes waged by competitors, as our journeys will certainly involve a chasm, yet may coincide or overlap in the future. We are unable to validly predict the outcome of our journey, but must adopt a balanced approach in moderation of all life’s creations. This approach will ultimately ensure longevity from personal health care while satisfying our personal motivators and talents in a role and culture that is fulfilling and not deemed dreadful daily. Opting for daily dread, so we may “Keep up with the Joneses,” is an exercise in futility as we will ultimately become despondent and disconnected in our interpersonal relations, and/or terminate the malignant stressor of unfulfilling work in an endless search for fulfillment if we choose to employ similar strategies that resulted in the initial lacking choice.

Ideas are Cheap, Execution is Priceless

Thankfully entrepreneurialism is alive and well in the United States with a growing interest in pursuing business ownership albeit with some focus diverted to the schedule flexibility and financial independence rewards offered upon successful corporate oversight. Our culture is marked by innovation, creativity, and the value in production of quality products through human ingenuity. I sanguinely view this upward sloping trend as continuous supported by diminishing government intervention with the termination of social service programs, although some are in dire need of continuation like Medicare/Medicaid to heal and prolong the longevity of either elderly or monetarily less fortunate individuals, respectively. Politics aside, the United States culture rightfully places unmatched value on the human spirit in realizing that individuals are capable of goals beyond what many would outline as confining limitations.

With a more widespread adoption of entrepreneurialism and its guiding principles, I have constantly questioned and challenged the reasoning for the existence of graduate business schools. However, a cogent argument availed itself that intrapreneurialism outlines that some individuals operate fluidly and maximally within the context of a structured environment with developed processes, frameworks, and procedures and/or some individuals’s backgrounds are comprised of specialized technical fields like computer programming or engineering devoid of business concepts to apply their specialized, functional talents across a corporate multi-functional context. Therefore, business school serves a viable service with continued demand depending upon the program’s efficacy through a track record of results. (i.e. job placement rate, graduation rate, etc.) I am an avid reader of the site Poets and Quants, which primarily focuses on the efficacy and processes from admission to attendance to graduation of business schools at the undergraduate and graduate levels. I was recently reading an article covering a top 20 MBA institution when I noticed that the comments section was flooded with engineers hailing from India whom were inquiring about their admission chances and/or likelihood at said institution. Many individuals commented that a person’s entire profile including hobbies, interests, and voluntary contributions are weighed to arrive at a decision on the entirety of someone’s profile, rather than through a confining measurement of admittance derived from solely two quantifiable factors: GPA and GMAT/GRE score.

In a generalized conclusion, my life experiences in speaking with, interviewing with, working with, and reading contributions of individuals from the continents of Asia and India is a focus on approaching solutions to problems through common, identifiable routes adopted through traditional teaching over decades and in alignment with a collectivist culture.  From my experiences, I would surmise that individuals from both continents are culturally predisposed toward a systematic application and replication of structured processes, rather than the fierce independence we experience resulting from entrepreneurialism.

We must discover a balance between systematizing approaches and infrastructure for ease of use and understanding while retaining an ability to creatively ideate and implement already vetted and established principles and concepts in novel ways. I remember stating that I was employing a Poisson Queieing strategy to measure recruiting effectiveness to an undergraduate student who attended many of my classes, and he was astonished that someone not only remembered the information taught in a course, but applied the information to further an organization’s progress toward its goals. This individual stated that the concept I was referencing was presently being covered in the Operations course he was currently attending.

Statistics from leadership training consultant company, Development Dimensions International, stated that only 15% of students apply learned concepts to their field of work. This reality is alarming in creating a vast knowledge gap required to both successfully derive and implement ideas that fulfill a market and/or corporate need. I will continue to assert that ideas are cheap, as I originated two just this morning, yet don’t intend on an implementation that requires an unmatched logistical savvy to cover research and development, patent filing, human resources, warehousing, distribution, branding, accounting, sourcing, customer service, and daily operations. Execution requires a vast knowledge of applicable business processes and strategies implemented at the appropriate time while accounting for resources required coupled with the severity and duration of each new initiative for seamless cultural assimilation in accordance with change management. I would advise others to ardently follow their passion, which may include entreprenuerialism, yet always utilize a mentor for guidance in implementation, personal growth, and to identify potential shortcomings of an idea’s implementation like a saturated and/or fragmented marketplace.

Life’s Path

I have written ad nauseam about life’s winding and unpredictable path, but want to conclude my thoughts with this hopefully enlightening piece. I have also covered the duplicitous concept of control, which will leave individuals with Sisyphus-like life journeys forever attempting to, and longing for, the culmination of predestination – ultimate control. We must be at peace with the liberation inherent in succumbing to a more intelligent entity with unsurpassed trust in life’s convoluted and intricate plan.

The omniscient God has provided me with a litany of work opportunities to engage in not only fulfilling roles, but exemplary workplaces that recognize excellent productivity and significant contributions. Per my CrystalKnows profile, I exhibit a guarded and skeptical affront, which evaporates through the gradual development of credibility and trust in an individual during interpersonal interactions and relationships.  In the sport of Running and life I was never satisfied with either my results or progress, despite a multitude of significant achievements. I was always striving for continually higher accolades in a subconscious desire to placate the definition and/or personal expectations of others placed upon me. My identity was contrived from others’ assessments, rather than an introspective view of my personal desires. I believe a fulfilling life is comprised of both service to others and  fulfillment of personal desires to enhance personal pleasure with the following quote aptly describing this concept, “You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself.” Self-care is paramount to our success, as no progress will occur if we are ailing or too frail to continue our journey with great fervor. Life’s obstacles and setbacks will prove insurmountable, as we begin to concede the pursuit of endeavors aligned with our talents in favor of stagnation to minimize potential setbacks and obstacles while also serving to minimize growth and development in our preconceived interests and talents.

Therefore, I will continue to ardently read, write, and expound upon knowledge gained prior to my existence, as my core personality remains somewhat static, yet I will seek to understand and fulfill my personal needs and desires in future endeavors. My LinkedIn feed is filled with an expected voluminous construct of positivity and encouragement, yet one published author establishes preeminence with regularity. The author, Brigette Hyacinth, focuses primarily on psychology within the workplace, which is a fitting outlet as we spend the majority of our adult lives at work. Brigette stated a universal truth that resonated with my mindset of, rather than a just a juxtaposition of, work and life with an inextricable linkage of the two components as evidenced in practical application:

“Go where you are celebrated, not just tolerated.”

I hope she doesn’t mind quotation of her piece, although it may serve to further her brand and upright reputation. I witnessed many individuals stating in the ‘comments’ section of the article that they never were afforded the opportunity to experience a workplace that valued their being and contributions. I challenge others to seek out understanding of their personal purpose, mission, and vision to attain a life that is valued and celebrated instead of criticized, scrutinized, and denounced. We must retain our personality, and character makeup, as the world thrives through revolutionary ideas stemming from disparate thoughts and perspectives. If we are continuously learning and developing in self-awareness, then we will satisfy God’s vision for our life as empathy, compassion, and understanding are tantamount to human connection.

I opine that God will not merely provide the opportunities, yet He will instill the vision to engage in the necessary steps and choices to fulfill His mission. I was blessed with extraordinary communication skills, both verbal and written, which have been either not utilized or underutilized for decades. This reality provides one facet for the rationale of the blog while another significant piece is to serve others through delivering knowledge gained from formal education and informal life experiences. My hope is that my personal journey will aid at least one person in enacting positive change in their life.

 

Childlike Wonderment

Life is a fascinating conglomeration of events, responses to those events, and the creation of new experiences either unintentionally or intentionally. I posit that we should aim for intentional creation of new experiences to broaden the scope of our knowledge while introducing potentially viable pathways to traverse. Everyone is susceptible to myopic thought processes viewed as safe with disregard for their impact on future events. These supposed safe avenues are ripe for stagnation to cease growth and development, as options are limited. This new reality appears inviting and welcoming, as dimensions of a chaotic life are confined to an infinitesimal subset, which can now be suitably ordered, planned, and organized introducing that aforementioned thin veil of control.

One thought-provoking episode of TED Talks describes the nature of the new reality’s close-minded thinking when an individual is unemployed and searching for suitable, gainful employment. Brain activity was measured at regular intervals evidencing minimal activity throughout the brain’s entire structure in a display of signs of depression. During depression, one is reticent in an almost hermit-like state, which only serves to inhibit or cease the dissemination of useful knowledge. This thought process only serves to distance us from society at an inopportune time when we must enact an opposite scheme to build our personal brand awareness by engaging with others regarding our value proposition. We can reverse this hindering downward spiral of personal affairs by adopting an attitude open to the wide world of possibilities in actualizing our unfettered, astronomical potential.

As children, we fearlessly inquire, investigate, and explore the novelty and beauty of all facets of life devoid of potential discord created and/or subtle or blatant corrections by peers and society. Novel thoughts and ideas are not only tolerated during a child’s formative years, but are encouraged by educators and parents alike. We gradually descend into a herd mentality of placating dissonant thoughts through unchecked agreeableness in hopes we are accepted to quench our insatiable sense for belonging and inclusion. This attitude molds an individual into another drone with a predictable mindset and speech prosody. Groupthink is the antithesis of creativity and growth signaling a proclivity for complacency by following the trend, rather than adopting potentially world-changing, innovative thoughts.

An adaptive mindset helps us successfully navigate the many changes, successes, and failures experienced either throughout each day or over longer time frame. I experienced unexpected success in the sport of Running by besting multiple professional runners after over a decade of refining my approach and ensuring execution to specification in training and races. I believe the sport of Running serves as a microcosm of life where we must embrace and revel in our earned successes, gain insight from our failures, and realize that ultimate progress doesn’t follow a convenient upward linear path.

Some may say that any deviations experienced within a sporting career are due to oversight of myriad variables like nutrition,  strengthening, rest and recovery, corrective exercises, training surface, footwear, and training load. Any of these factors could lead to dreaded muscle imbalances or a litany of overuse injuries, but I meticulously and methodically adhered to a stringent plan accounting for all variables. Therefore, any failure was not planned, and in direct opposition to goal attainment, but I believe failure inevitably existed to test my mettle and likelihood to reflect upon my plan and its trajectory. Sometimes maintenance of current protocol is sufficient whereas other times failure requires a drastic change for progress to ensue. Setbacks are an inseparable part of running’s and life’s process, and must be celebrated for their invaluable learning experience, should we desire to continue life’s wayward trajectory.

I have watched multiple videos and read multiple articles stating that an individual’s life, and intertwined career, trajectory are often divergent from plans and/or expectations following an immeasurable curvilinear and/or stepwise pathway. Many individuals do not experience progress in alignment with their plans and/or expectations for many decades beyond their initial intent. However, like mentioned in previous posts, if we continue to strive with open hearts and minds, opportunity will inevitably avail itself. I am a staunch proponent of the concept that luck doesn’t exist, rather luck is the fruitful combination of hard work, and opportunity presenting itself with the caveat that we contain essential awareness of the situation to seize its merits. I challenge others to retain a childlike affinity toward learning about our splendor-filled albeit challenging world. Individuals surveyed while on their death bed stated that their number one regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me,” so avoiding the complacency trap will never leave someone regretting what they didn’t experience.