If you have spent anytime in corporate America, you’ve heard the words “you don’t know how it works here” probably more than a few times. I know I have and recently one of my friends shared her experience hearing this phrase one time too many times. This phrase is the epitome of thinking inside the box and it’s time we all started responding to the stupidity of it with:
You don’t know how it can change.
The older I get, the more I realize I’ve spent the vast majority of my years not conforming. I’ve never really looked at it that way. I have always thought of it as finding a better way to do what we are already doing. So, which kind of person are you? The one who is locked into “the way we do things around here” or the one looking for ways we can change the way we do things around here? Think about it and be honest with yourself.
The thing about choosing the change agent path in life is that you will never be truly satisfied. Nothing will ever be quite good enough. This doesn’t mean you can’t be happy and enjoy life. Instead, it means you find enjoyment in challenging the status quo. You are finding ways to get your thinking outside the box. About a quarter of a century ago, I was presented with the following concept of knowledge:
- What we know.
- What we know we don’t know.
- What we don’t even know we don’t know.
Think about the above concept for a second. Then, visualize it as three circles. The first is tiny. the second is about 10 times the size of the first. The third circle, what we don’t even know we don’t know, is bigger than the piece of paper you are trying to draw on – far bigger.
The odds favor change
Whenever you think about sitting still, just think of entire industries that said “you don’t know how it works here;” you know like, buggy whip manufactures, passenger trains, the post office, and one of my favorites, the newspaper industry. The businesses those folks were in all still exist, but they just look very different. Now, people drive cars, not buggies or ride trains (for the most part). We still send mail; but it’s just more likely to be email. And yes, we still read the news. It’s just more likely to be in a web browser than on newsprint.
So, what are you going to change today?