We’ve probably all heard the saying: Insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over again expecting a different result. Brilliant. Love it. It’s sooo true. Unfortunately, simply hearing that saying hasn’t stopped me from continuing to live that way sometimes. We need help in how to stop being crazy.
I saw it in some of the ways I lived this past year. I would take up some practice—whether it was a specific workout routine, a business growth strategy or a new nutrition plan—and if it didn’t produce the results I wanted, rather than pause and examine why, I would often just do it again, only harder. Then when it failed a second time, I would do it again even harder (or maybe just angrier . . . sometimes I confuse doing something angrily with giving it my all).
The end result? I exhausted myself by year’s end. I felt like I really worked hard last year (because I did), but I failed to achieve the goal.
Why? Because I’m a little bit insane. (I say “a little bit” to make myself feel better.) I can get caught up in my own personal crazy-train loop, doing the same thing over and over, expecting it to produce a different result every time.
Can you relate? For example, maybe you:
- keep giving your spouse the silent treatment every time he or she hurts your feelings, and wonder why your relationship never improves.
- consistently fail to hold your team members accountable, and wonder why you’re not reaching your goals.
- do the same dull workout routine week after week, and wonder why you’re not getting any results.
- overpack your time every single week, and wonder why you can never seem to get on top of your schedule.
Maybe it’s not any of those. Maybe you’ve got it all together. But I’m guessing you don’t. I’m betting you’re probably a little bit insane too. (No offense.)
I want it to be different. I want learn how to stop being crazy, and turn up the authentic butt-kicking. To do this, I’m incorporating a new tool. I thought I’d share it with you. It’s deceptively simple, but don’t let that throw you. A lot of people fail to employ this simple practice in their lives. Because they’re insane, like me.
It’s called the Learning Loop, and it’s really just a simple 4-step process for improving your performance in any practice or endeavor you go after—from working out, to leading better, to improving communication with your spouse. It’s how to stop being crazy. Here goes:
How to Stop Being Crazy
Step 1: OBSERVE
At regular intervals, press “pause” and simply notice what is happening with respect to the behavior or practice. Are you doing it? If so, what’s helping you do it? If not, what’s stopping you? What’s the effect? What results, if any, are you noticing?
Step 2: EVALUATE
What’s the lesson or insight you can draw from what you’re observing? What’s needed now (or the next time you do “X”)? How might you adjust your strategy or approach to improve your results? What other ideas do you have about it?
Step 3: DECIDE
Based on your evaluation, what will you do? Decide on a clear course of action. Don’t leave it ambiguous. If you have multiple options and aren’t sure which one to do, just choose one and try it.
Step 4: ACT
Follow through on the decision. Act! Then repeat the Learning Loop.
Observe. Evaluate. Decide. Act. A simple process to stop the crazy.
This year as you charge after those New Year’s Resolutions and/or goals and/or themes and/or whatever works for you, I strongly urge you (and myself) to incorporate the Learning Loop as well.
The alternative is insane.