When talking about performance, you can choose to see either what facilitates and makes it possible, either to identify what hinders it.
I am a strong believer that human beings are driven by goals and a constant desire to achieve and prove themselves competent. From the day we start crawling and make first steps, up to when we are in our prime, we are always, but always, in a constant move to achieve what we set our mind on.
I have been for a long time disappointed by psychology as a science as it chose so many years to favor causes rather than goals in explaining one’s behavior. I think the real explanations of what we do are not in the past, in patterns from our previous experiences in which we might be subconsciously trapped, but in what we are looking to accomplish, in what we pursue.
More than that, I do think it is a mistake to consider humans as being human mostly when we are referring to weaknesses, failures, and mistakes. Almost nobody talks about being a human and the need to be understood and accepted as such, when we achieve what we aim to accomplish, when we are effective and have efficacy in what we do. But we talk about the need to be accepted as human beings when we fail, when we miss our goals and thus experience suffering. And this is a mistake: we are not at our core identity only when we suffer and fall, but also when we accomplish and win. We are goal driven beings, I do believe.
That is why in my work I am so keen to see what makes us succeed and, in this article, what can hinder our achievements and makes touching our goals much more difficult.
If one can much easier identify the big and loud enemies of performance, I do think that those insidious and more difficult to see can influence us as much or even more in this direction. More than that, being insidious and hard to pinpoint makes them even harder to manage or to get rid of.
In this regard, the most insidious factor in my opinion, that constantly keeps us away from being effective in almost all what we aim to achieve, and that can accompany our entire life, is WAITING.
How did WAITING become from a virtue associated with patience a vice that hinders performance?
I do believe and see that in most situations, we choose to wait instead of taking an action. Somehow, we convince ourselves that the first option is better for us. Please keep in mind that performance and achievement is always referring with what we do, with what steps we take and what behaviors we choose.
WAITING manages to affect us in 3 major ways:
1. Thinking over acting.
Of course we have to think before we act, but thinking just to have us thinking over and over will always keep us away from results. Even if we are chess players, thinking instead of acting will keep our pieces immobile on the table.
Thus, it is important to always think on purpose so that action can and must be taken later on. If no action is taken after we have thought so much, then we gave WAITING factor its negative influence in keeping us away from the results we aim.
2. False sense of fairness.
What do I mean by that? Is WAITING after we performed some behaviors. We somehow strongly believe that if we work hard, or perform sets of behaviors, we should wait (under the coating of “expect”) the results we previously anticipated. And so, we act, and stop acting and start waiting. “The results must happen!” we say to ourselves.
In real life, especially in those of high achievers, things don’t go like this. Life is rarely “righteous” with us because we tried so much, or because we worked so hard. In reality, we do no get what we deserve, we get what we negotiate and intend. By negotiate, I do refer people, circumstances, resources, options.
Life is rarely “righteous” with us because we tried so much, or because we worked so much. In reality, we do no get what we deserve, we get what we negotiate and intend. By negotiate, I do refer people, circumstances, resources, options.
I do believe that this “sense of fairness”, how I like to call it, can and does greatly affect our achievements in a much more insidious ways than thinking over acting can. We are grown in a culture that tells us that if we do this, we get this, if we do that, we get that. And this does almost never happen. To put conditions on life based on what you do and later on expect to be rewarded for, is like giving a lion a pet name and expecting it to behave like a poodle dog after that. It might, it would feel somehow fair to be like this, but it never happens! Performance is what we constantly do, not what we expect to rightfully happen based on our previous deeds!
Although not so insidious, as we choose to always complain so that we can be heard, rarely do we connect complaining to failures.
Sense of fairness, accompanied by lack of dreamed results almost always makes complaining probable to happen. Rarely do we see it like this.
The problem with complaining is that in order to happen, we previously validate ourselves, our actions, and as a result, our failures. And that is why is so seductive. The real damage is that it takes the sense of control from within us and puts it outside (the locus of control is changed, and that is really, really bad!)
The problem with complaining is that in order to happen, we previously validate ourselves, our actions, and as a result, our failures. And that is why is so seductive. The real damage is that it takes the sense of control from within us and puts it outside
The opposite of complaining is taking responsibility, even in those cases when less is up to us or our fault. Taking responsibility means empowering ourselves and getting the right attitude to act, to cause effects and make adjustments.
Complaining is telling ourselves that we cannot do a thing with what we complain for, is refusing to see any options or resources and, of course, means WAITING and doing nothing.
So, If I would like to resume why is WAITING such an insidious and elusive factor that hinders our performances on one hand, and seductive on the other hand, I would mention these three:
- Thinking over acting
- False sense of fairness
I would suggest, never to wait, but to act, observe results, adjust according to initial intention. Over and over again, like this, until the aimed results are on their intended place and form.
Act, observe, adjust according to initial intention. Over and over again, like this, until the aimed results are on their intended place and form.
I do believe that not only we are goal driven beings, but also achievers and accomplishers by nature. Simply putting aside what keeps us from being so, can make us equally performant as adopting positive, performance facilitating behaviors. Either way, things start to become much easier to be obtained, when we really mean.
Give it a try an see for yourself!
Founder and CEO at AMS Accelerate IT