Gumptionade Blog

Execution

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Your Great Ideas: Dime a Dozen
Executing Your Plan: Rare as Hens’ Teeth

Young mouse: We will put a bell around the cat’s neck, so we hear
it coming!
Old mouse: ’Tis well said, but who dares bell the cat?

The quarterback hands the football to the halfback. Two guards pull from the offensive line and lead him around the end. The tight end blocks the linebacker on that side. Here comes the power sweep.

The Green Bay Packers, winners of the first two Super Bowls, ran the simple power sweep over and over: 28, left; 49, right.

Adapted by Vince Lombardi from the old single wing offense, the play was strategically mediocre. It was simple, and easy to recognize. Opposing defenses knew the Green Bay power sweep was coming at them several times a game. They just couldn’t stop it.

The reason was execution. Due to constant repetition in practice and on the playing field, the Packers executed the play brilliantly. The Green Bay power sweep: a mediocre plan plus sound execution creates excellence.

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Alternating days of Bikram Yoga, weight training, and swimming a mile is a brilliant plan for getting fit. It uses all the muscles, is interesting, lets you buy three different cool outfits, and is guaranteed to give anyone under seventy a great body. Just walking for thirty minutes every day: mediocre.

Execution - Gumptionade will help you turn your plans to reality - Learn more today!

Which program do you think most of us will be more likely to stick to over the course of a year? Those Speedos won’t get the job done from the closet.

We are going to make baby food from organic local vegetables; we are going to use only cloth diapers; we are going to iron those diapers; we are going to play classical music for baby every day; and we are going to employ only college graduates as babysitters. A brilliant plan for raising a healthy child. Fuhgeddaboudit.

How about: we are going to keep our children reasonably clean and properly clothed and fed. We will read to them when we can, not scream at them when we are exhausted, and take them to the doctor when they get sick. We will do our best to let them know they are loved. That is a plan most parents can pull off. Hey baby, let’s try that.

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Physician Atul Gawande writes about the yawning gap between our nation’s ability to develop breakthrough therapies for disease and our ability to make them effective. Huge advances are made in medicine. Brilliant plans are written for improving public health. What is overlooked by government, foundations, and academia is blocking and tackling, the boring—crucial— task of execution.

Our approach to health care resembles the flea flicker: an entertaining, elaborate, and unpredictable football play. Anything but the simple Green Bay power sweep. Result? We are way behind.

New discoveries and new ideas are vivid and inspiring. They fill us with enthusiasm. We forget to plan the work of making them work. We forget about the laborious adaptations and manifold disappointments of personal development. The bright idea is fascinating. Execution is boring, the opposite of Easy and Magic. But like Easy and Magic, bright ideas will not get us past Day Four.

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Stop trying to bell the cat! Use the free Gumptionade Worksheet #11 “Unbend Your Spoon” to overcome the damage that has done to your self improvement plan.






i. Physician Atul Gawande writes about the yawning gap… Atul Gawande, “The Checklist,” The New Yorker, December 10, 2007.

After Easy and Magic Comes Perfect

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Watch out. Perfect confuses performance with results. It ignores the role of forces outside of your control, including randomness and luck. Perfect doesn’t allow for human fallibility.

"Perfect is a trap. Striving to be excellent is not." Robert B O'ConnorPerfect is a trap. Striving to be excellent is not. Excellence is from process and growth, not outcomes and opinions of others. To be a perfect dieter requires a perfect diet and a perfect you. Not gonna happen.

But dieting can make you better than you were. You can learn about yourself by paying attention to the process. You can become a better person, and a better dieter. A little closer to perfect.

Perhaps the self-improvement program you select will give you the tools you need to become better. Don’t let that confuse you. The spade does not plant the garden. It is not the program that is changing you; you are changing you.

You can use the free Gumptionade Worksheet #11 “Unbend Your Spoon” to overcome the damage Easy, Magic, and Perfect are doing to your self-improvement plan.

Another Way Mr. Magic Defeats Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Mr. Magic can be most dangerous to your New Year’s Resolutions when he is pseudo-rational. When he serves up new age versions of the traditional life-as- journey metaphor: You are the CEO of your life; life is a work of art; life is like managing an investment portfolio. It’s not.

Heroic feats of productivity are part of Mr. Magic’s spoonbending. Not a moment will be lost. The apps, the hacks, the trading software, the notebooks, the juiced-up calendars and to-do lists online and off are indispensable implements for the superhuman parsing of every minute of every day.Real change begins with understanding the predictable weakness of human behavior. Eat coffee for lunch!

This is another version of Mr. Magic’s mind power spoonbending. Somehow you will find limitless knowledge, time, and energy for self-discipline and industriousness.

Now the products offered by Mr. Magic or the other spoonbender Ms. Easy are not useless. But like a bar of soap that does get you clean but costs $972, they are overpriced and oversold.

Despite initial appearances, Ms. Easy and Mr. Magic promote passive behavior, including passive consumption. Raspberry ketones! Their nostrums are diversions from the more challenging work of real change.

Real change begins with understanding the predictable weakness of human logic, and searching for the reasons why you can’t or won’t do better. That takes more than soap.

You can use the free Gumptionade Worksheet #11 “Unbend Your Spoon” to overcome the damage Easy, Magic, and Perfect are doing to your self-improvement plan.

 

 

i …life is like managing an investment portfolio. Micki McGee, Self Help, Inc.: Makeover Culture in American Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 69.

How Ms. Easy and Mr. Magic Defeat Your New Year’s Resolutions

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“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is
the first duty of intelligent men.”

—George Orwell

Spoonbenders sell the illusion that the life you want can be had without sacrifice and struggle. The name comes from magician Uri Geller, who made sold the illusion that he could bend metal spoons with mind power.  There are two Spoonbenders to be wary of as you make your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions: Ms. Easy and Mr. Magic.New Year's Resolutions

Ms. Easy promises that you’ll change with almost no effort, because of her unique product. Mr. Magic promises that you’ll change via incredible feats of mind power, to which he has the secret.

Ms. Easy starts with this premise: Do better at this one thing (whitening your teeth, conditioning your hair, losing weight) and you will be better. Ms. Easy overpromises: this is going to be (pick one) effortless/convenient/cheap.

Possibly, if your goal is controlling dandruff. Absolutely not for more profound changes, such as a mature long-term approach to diet and exercise.

Nevertheless, in one form or another, Ms. Easy’s siren song “eat what you want and still lose weight” echoes in your ears around the new year.

The only way to do that is to change what you want to eat. Simple. Not at all easy.

Mr. Magic also starts with a reasonable premise: Be better and you will do better. But then he gets out the spoons.

He may take a mystical approach. Mr. Magic may even borrow from evangelical Christianity and use revival-style meetings to deliver his message and sell his merchandise. He’ll also put an exaggerated focus—like Uri Geller—on mind power.

Mr. Magic may even tell you that positive thinking and proper mental alignment will quickly cause improvement in bank accounts, advancement at work, and family relationships.

Now you know people can call forth latent courage to do more and be more. But Mr. Magic makes it sound so easy and so final. (Like painless weight loss!)

If that doesn’t get you to open your wallet, Mr. Magic may declare that the power is not within you, but out there. You will, he says, grow your wealth, lose weight, get happier by aligning yourself with the universe, which will then provide you with abundant prosperity.

Mr. Magic suggests that being broke is just a blockage of energy. He advises opening up your channel – with his help – so money and consumer goods can flow through: “Prepare your wish list to the universe.”

Prepare for spoonbending, actually.

Everything you want is out there awaiting delivery, says Mr. Magic, if only you will provide the correct address. Like the lie of painless weight loss, the Laws of Attraction are much more convenient than the work of real change.

Like Uri Geller’s spoonbending, close inspection reveals the content of Mr. Magic’s message to be less compelling than the delivery. This is a new-age version of “eat what you want and still lose weight.”

Keep this in mind when you make your New year’s resolutions: so-called universal laws gain traction on your wallet through magical thinking, the absence of common sense.

Gumption ignores the spells and promises of Ms. Easy and Mr. Magic and gets on with the work of real change.

You can use the free Gumptionade Worksheet #11 “Unbend Your Spoon” to overcome the damage Easy, Magic, and Perfect are doing to your self-improvement plan.

No Spoonbending

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“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is
the first duty of intelligent men.”

-George Orwell

A magician named Uri Geller received widespread media attention in the United States in the 1970s. He claimed to be able to bend metal spoons using paranormal mind power.

Geller appeared on many U.S. and European television programs to demonstrate. Critics showed that he used simple tricks. This did not stop Geller from making a living from the illusion that spoons can be bent with mind power.Spoonbenders make a living selling the illusion that the life you want can be had without sacrifice and struggle.

Some people make a living selling the illusion that the life you want can be had without sacrifice and struggle. That’s magical thinking. Over one hundred million people in the United States go on a diet in any given year. Dieting is a growth business, despite and because of the fact that the customers fail to get the results they want.

There is copious spoonbending centered on the illusion of painless, convenient change: Eat what you want and still lose weight! Spoons are not bent by magic. Losing weight is neither convenient nor painless. Even people who succeed tend to add the lost weight back in a year or two.

Every January many of us become powerfully infatuated with the idea of a new and improved version of ourselves: fit; organized; rich; and—above all—thin.

Infatuation knows nothing of common sense. We don’t foresee, let alone prepare for, what Carl Jung called “the laborious adaptations and manifold disappointments” that accompany any sort of significant personal progress.

We buy soap instead: Spray ’n Change.

The problem is not that this soap won’t get us clean; the problem is that the sellers claim it will keep us clean forever. And they want $972 per bar.

What we spend is not surprising. America is a rich and optimistic nation. Most of us hope to be better than we are now.

What is surprising is how poorly most of these products perform. Their goal is to overcome your resistance to buying, not your bad habit.

Spoonbenders encourage passive consumption over creative suffering. They are false guides. They direct you away from where you need to go.

Gumption doesn’t buy Spray ‘n Change, even on January 1.

 

How will you combat the spoonbenders? Gumptionade – The Booster for Your Self Improvement Plan will show you how.

i. “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious…” George Orwell’s January 1939 review published in Adlephi, of Bertrand Russell’s book Power: A New Social Analysis; http://www.lehman.edu/deanhum/philosophy/BRSQ/06may/orwell.htm. Accessed March 13, 2015.

ii. Over one hundred million people in the United States go on a diet in any given year. ABC News Staff, “100 Million Dieters, $20 Billion: The Weight-Loss Industry by the Numbers,” Posted May 8, 2012; http:// abcnews.go.com/Health/100-million- dieters-20- billion-weight- loss-industry/ story?id=16297197. Accessed August 24, 2014.

iii. …the illusion of painless, convenient change. Keith Girard, “Startup Stories: Challenging Diet Industry Giants with a Computer,” allBusiness.com, undated; http://www.allbusiness.com/company-activitiesmanagement/company- structures/5963512-1.html. Accessed August 24, 2014.

iv. …add the lost weight back in a year or two. Rena R. Wing, Ph.D., Deborah F. Tate, Ph.D., Amy A. Gorin, Ph.D., et al., “A Self-Regulation Program for Maintenance of Weight Loss,” New England Journal of Medicine, 355:1563–1571, October 12, 2006.

v. ... “the laborious adaptations and manifold disappointments that accompany any sort of significant personal progress.” C. G. Jung, AION: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), 34.