Are You Insane - or Just Crazy About your Business?
The English language is not easy to learn. Just as it ascribes many different sounds to the same letters in the alphabet, it also has many different meanings for any one word - and that situation is growing as we use colloquial expressions that give totally different meanings to established words.
The word ‘insane’ technically describes someone who is suffering from a mental illness severe enough to interfere with their ‘normal’ life and has legal meaning rather than psychological. In today’s marketing driven world, however, we accept sales slogans such as, “Don’t miss this insane offer!”, without thinking that the product (or it’s producer) is mentally ill. In fact we may find the product so good we are crazy about it - does this mean we are becoming insane?
I have often used the quote about insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” and have always attributed it to Albert Einstein, but it turns out that there is no evidence that he actually said this! It is more likely that it was first used, or at least published, by mystery writer Rita Mae Brown in her novel “Sudden Death”in 1984. Whoever is to blame (!), it is often used as evidence that people expect their life or business situation to improve while not doing anything different to make this happen.
While this is true of many people, we need to differentiate between the ‘insanity’ of taking the same actions day after day and hoping for a change, and the commendable practice of persevering in a course that will eventually bring about an improvement. So, what is the difference? To go back to an illustration that we have considered before, think about a very young child learning to walk. It perseveres in taking ‘baby steps’ until it can use those ‘baby steps’ to reach it’s goal or target, maybe a parents outstretched hand or a familiar toy. If it just attempted to stand, took one step and stopped, then repeated the same process day after day, it would never progress further than that one step.
The key is taking the next step, no matter how small. The motivation to take that next step is having a goal and recognising that we will only reach that goal by taking steps, which in fact is a built in concept that we have even when learning to walk - you never see a young child trying to jump several meters at once, but it moves a step at a time naturally stretching a little outside it’s comfort zone, often falling but seldom failing.
That other word (crazy) in our title above is also subject to many different meanings. In it’s original form if you were crazy you were approaching insanity, but these days if your girl/boyfriend tells you they are crazy about you, you should be pleased rather than call their psychiatrist! One online dictionary gives the definition of crazy as being ‘possessed by enthusiasm or excitement’. If your goals are so real to you that they fill you with enthusiasm or excitement, then congratulations - you could be crazy!
So, how to stay crazy without going insane? Make sure your goals are clear and that you can plan and take those ‘baby steps’ one at a time, stretching outside your comfort zone if necessary, rather than just going through the routine of taking the same step, time after time and hoping something or someone is going to change your situation. The change has to come from you.
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