For years I had a cartoon up in my office showing a bunch of guys struggling mightily to carry on their shoulders this huge wooden boat – full of wheels.
The entire time I was at the racetrack as a kid, everybody shoveled the manure from the stalls into big plastic tubs with handles, hoisted and carried them the length of the barn to the big manure wagons outside, then had to lift them up over the sides of the wagon to dump them – about 50 pounds to near shoulder height. Finally, today, they put ramps on the wagons and we use wheelbarrows. Well, why do practical solutions prove so elusive to so many?
No matter how smart you are, when whatever you do becomes routine, and you develop both ingrained belief systems and habits of thought and behavior about it, when you become emotionally invested in “your way”, when you do the same things in the same order the same way day after day, you develop SCOTOMA: essentially, inability to see anything but what you expect to see.
It’s why it’s so hard to proofread and spot typographical errors in your own work that you’ve labored over for hours or days; your eyes now see what’s supposed to be there; they actually see wrong as right!
It’s simplistic to say that working insulated in a business makes you stupid. I don’t think your I.Q. actually goes down. But your ability to apply it to the too-familiar situation does.
Are there cures? No. No cures. But effective treatments, yes. Like: not doing the same job or business or sport for more than a decade. Enough’s enough. Move on. Like: getting out of the business and day-to-day routine at least once a month, to go somewhere enlightening or inspiring or mentally challenging – like coaching/mastermind meetings. To bring in “fresh eyes” however you can, often. To read, a lot. To ask yourself a lot of questions. To catch yourself clinging to something just because it’s your way. To have somebody who can call you on your b.s., challenge your thinking, play devil’s advocate – with some credibility.
There’s a soothing balm too, and it doesn’t come in a jar either. It is simply remembering that we are ALL frequently Stooges