You Act Your Way Into New Thinking, You Don’t Think Your Way Into It

Richard Pascale says in Surfing the Edge of Chaos, “Adults are much more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking than to think their way into a new way of acting.” 

We want to think we’re smart. That we’re logical and rational and calculating. But that’s never it. It’s ever the whole story. And we’re lucky it’s never the whole story. 

The Spock we might aspire to be is just one character in our heads. It’s one of our selves. Emotions (and feelings, and behaviors) are the reminder all those other selves are in the room and trying to be heard. 

You know when you’re going to buy a car and you’re at that almost decided but haven’t committed point? 

You know that emotional tug that pulls you to, “OK, I’m going to do it.” – ?

That’s your multiple selves interacting. 

Change, in all aspects of life, requires we mix our mental math and magic via action. 

Change requires we f*** around and find out (a little ideally, maybe not too much). 

We don’t calculate our way into a new way of acting. We do act our way into a new way of thinking. Just ask your New Year’s Resolutions. 

Part of my job is helping people adapt and evolve. The planning work looks like it should be all about math, and a big part of it is. But it’s NEVER the whole story. 

You enter a new phase of life by actions. Be it a new career, a new marriage, or a new experience of any kind. Something triggers your curiosity and you start doing it despite the logic, and maybe just maybe you end up with a new habit. 

h/t Herminia Ibarra’s Working Identity which is where I found this quote, and Bogumil Baranowski’s interview on Talking Billions with David McRaney, both of which will likely inspire several future posts. If you want me fanboying McRaney’s work over the years, click here.