A few years ago I really started to get into weightlifting. It was hard, lifting iron. As all worthwhile things seem to be. So when my internal motivation flagged I looked to those who came before me for inspiration. One such man was Henry Rollins. He started with nothing, he was picked on in school and he made himself into a man. He made himself into a person of strength and value through his constant determination and belief.
He wrote an article for Details Magazine entitled “Iron and the Soul” which has helped to guide a lot of people onto the proper path. To show people weightlifting shouldn’t be about vanity or the ego. Its about connecting with something deeper within ourselves, through our exertions with the barbell.
Its hard to quantify or explain what makes some people successful. In fact if you ASK some of the most successful people out there they’ll have no idea. They’ll answer you all right (oh I’m rich because I drink two eggs every morning or I’m so good with my kids because I always pay my taxes on time). Kidding what they’ll probably say is some combination of determination, resilience, a clear vision and support from those they care about. But what got them to where they had those things and do you need them to be successful? What is success when everyone wants different things? I’m going to tell you a little metaphor about seeds which I think should help answer those questions.
If you were to watch 100 people try to solve an open ended puzzle. I bet you’d see each person solve it in a slightly different, if not drastically different way. Ie how to use whats in a house to climb onto the roof where theres a ton of potential solutions. Some of which you would never think of. Maybe someone jumps from a nearby tree. This goes to show that sometimes the best way to learn is by watching other people do odd things and learning what not to do.
In the vein of learning from other peoples odd decisions I want to discuss a story. Theres a tree in southeast England which was studied to discover more about oak trees. The project which studied one particular oak tree was creatively named OneOak. Its to the point at least.
Sometimes insight can originate from the most interesting places. It may be an idea for your business from a subway ad, or some thoughts on a relationship you’re in coming from someone talking about their lunch. Our brains are constantly scanning what we perceive and connecting it to things we’ve thought about or experience before. Often these are pretty predictable (food still good) but sometimes they can surprise us.
Insights Can Come From Anywhere
Enter the Monty Hall problem. This problem was based off a game show and was answered in a columnists weekly column in 1990. The problem (taken straight from the source) is as follows;
Have you ever met someone and noticed how in control of their life they seem. They don’t blame others for their life’s circumstances. They understand that they’re actions do have weight, and also to what extent they do. They’re not necessarily more skilled, or intelligent or focused. So what are they? What makes these people different? Why is there internal world seemingly so cohesive?
Locus of Control
There’s a concept in personality psychology known as a locus of control. Its a scale which every person falls on somewhere. Where on the scale you fall either towards internal or external is a measure of how much you believe your actions control the events around you.