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Thought Leaders Unpacked -> What the Dog Saw #3: Blowing Up

thought-leadersChapter 3, entitled “Blowing Up,” was worth the price of the book. After lukewarmly enjoying the first two chapters, (and who really enjoys anything lukewarm?), I find myself in self-reflection heaven.

What if a common cultural assumption were wrong?


What if you’d been evaluating your own ideas, actions, successes and/or failures against this fallacious standard?

“We associate the willingness to risk great failure—and the ability to climb back from catastrophe—with courage.” (p. 75)

What if, in fact, though…

“There is more courage and heroism in defying the human impulse, in taking the purposeful and painful steps to prepare for the unimaginable.” (p. 75)

Ouch. And then, after recovering from the unexpected punch below the belt, the relief of being released from a very restrictive prison system.

Ouch to the ego. I caught myself buying into a cultural stereotype that not only isn’t backed by facts, but hasn’t been serving me well as an individual.

Ouch to the impulsive, impatient, adventurer. It’s easier and more exciting to go with my gut. It involves less grunt and grind, preparation or foundation-laying or research.

Ouch to the lazy, procrastinating excuse-maker. I didn’t have to face my own preference for the easy win or my own dream of simply hitting the jackpot.

Once I face those less than pleasant realities, though, in pours the relief.

Relief in the form of reality-based evidence that the unimaginable does in fact happen, and that I can be prepared for it.

Relief in the form of character-building practices wherein I become a certain kind of person who has the capacity and poise to make better decisions.

Relief in the form of disciplines, principles and perspectives that result in sound, reality-based alternatives.

What assumptions of your own did this chapter challenge? What practices or disciplines do you use to become a better decision-maker?

Each Friday I post my reflections from one chapter of What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. If you are just joining the discussion now, welcome! Catch up on the entire series here.

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