Truly Powerful People (80)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I am surrounded by books. I love books. They are like people; some are merely acquaintances while others become dear friends that I visit often. One of my favorites is Influence by Robert Cialdini. Recently, I spent the morning rereading the last chapter because it has been haunting me, sitting in the back of my mind for months. He posits that, with the pace of technological change and the explosion of information we’ve had to adjust to the way we make decisions. He believes that, although we all want to make carefully considered decisions, “More and more we are forced to resort to another decision-making approach – a shortcut approach in which the decision to comply (or agree or believe or buy) is made on the basis of a single, usually reliable piece of information.” He continues, “An isolated piece of information, even though it normally counsels us correctly, can lead us to clearly stupid mistakes….”

This is the great paradox; the tiger trap hidden in the jungles of contemporary life. We are moving too fast to see clearly. We are so inundated with information that we meet complex challenges with simplistic thinking and are dumbfounded when we further complicate the challenge. Surrounded by information, we are uninformed. Inundated with information, we cannot hear our inner voice.

It is the word, “isolate” that called me to the chapter; “An isolated piece of information,….” Most people I know feel isolated from some sense of greater meaning, purpose or community. A standardized test is nothing if not an attempt to isolate meaning from greater context. Many of the people I coach in business wonder why they are doing what they are doing. Their actions are isolated from a clear intention.

There is an old Chinese parable; an image of hell in which people sit amidst a fantastic feast, starving because their chopsticks are 3 feet long and they are incapable of getting food to their mouths.

Sometimes the change we need is counter-intuitive. Slowing down enough to get out of traffic and breathe. Standing still. Listening inside. Not buying the line that anything about a human being can be standardized. Offer a helping hand to someone so they know they are not an isolated bit of information. Offer a helping hand so that you know that you are not an isolated bit of information.

One Response

  1. Love ! especially the last two lines… isolated X2 = decisive.
    still loving your posts David – Ive been sharing with others –
    Thank you.

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