Friday, April 24, 2009

Prophecies

I think we might have it all wrong. There is so much strategic thinking going on right now to cure the ills of the world and the emphasis is on how we are going to get to a certain point. When that point is within reach or already attained, we then go to the “think tank” again to strategize once more. This is the process bought into by the large majority of the population; strategize, achieve or fail, repeat.

Our hope is that we succeed, in which case we can chalk it up to great strategy. Sometimes we fail and blame it on our narrow mindedness and inability to strategically “think outside of the box”. In either success or failure, we place great importance on our ability to adapt in a way that promotes evolution, but forget the most important piece; what specifically is our desired outcome.

Greatness decides the outcome first and then plans the strategy to fit the desired outcome. It does not hope or wish that their strategy reaches their outcome because greatness is empowered and knows that the order is to know where you are going and then figure out how to get there. What this does, is allow us to hit a snag in life and reframe our strategy in a way that gets us back on the path to greatness. What this doesn’t do, is allow us to hit a snag, panic, and then initiate the strategic process from the beginning.

20th Century sociologist Robert K Merton coined the expression “self-fulfilling prophecy”, which is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true due to positive feedback between belief and behavior. These prophecies, either through fear or logical confusion, can sufficiently influence people, including ourselves, by declaring something as true when it is actually false.

How this works in our favor is that instead of saying if we do AB&C then we will ultimately get to D, we can start out saying we are D and then figure out what AB&C actually is. The important piece of the puzzle is that we believe we are D and our strategies (AB&C) will ultimately prove that we are so. By defining situations as real, then the consequences we face from the situation we become real as well; both positive and negative.

By defining our behavior through the situation we are in, we don’t become a victim to the situation, hence empowerment. If we are to let the situation define our behavior, then we are being pulled in whatever direction the situation decides to pull us in. This puppeteering act puts us on the wrong end of the strings and causes us to strategize our way to the other end. If we reverse our process, we see ourselves as the puppeteer and allow ourselves to manipulate our surroundings so that we gain the control over what our destiny should be.

Strategic thinking is ultimately what will lead to our success if it is placed in the right order. When we can visualize what we are to the extent that it is real, strategy will then complete our self-fulfilling prophecies and allow us to spend each day moving forward towards greatness.

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