When you think there’s got to be an easier way, there is

by | Feb 25, 2014

brickandmortar500One day on your morning walk you come upon a man bashing his head against a brick wall in the middle of a field. You watch, mesmerized, as he stands in front of the wall and rhythmically butts his head against it over and over again.

After a few minutes you just have to ask what he’s doing. When you do, he barks out a response between grunts and groans.

“I’m trying BAM to knock down OUCH this blinkin’ BAM wall. What GRUNT does it BAM look like?”

You allow as how that is indeed what it looks like, but add that you wonder if it’s the best way to proceed.

“Look buddy,” he grunts. “I don’t have BAM a battering OOF ram or BAM dynamite. UNH I’ve got BAM to use BAM my head.”

“Okay,” you say. “But is bashing your head against the wall going to work?”

“Maybe not BAM,” he replies. “But it OOF certainly BAM won’t work BAM if I stop GROAN.”

Oooookay, you think. Whatever blows your skirt up. And you walk on.

The next day you pass by the same field. The man is still at it, but now he’s wearing a helmet. And the day after that you see that he’s got a giant bottle of Tylenol at his feet.

“I see you’ve made some changes,” you call out.

“You bet,” he grunts. “I’m working BAM smarter, BAM not harder.”

It sounds insane, doesn’t it? But how often do we bash our heads against metaphorical walls, convinced that it’s our best, albeit unlikely, shot at getting what we want?

And how often do we equip ourselves with helmets and painkillers, under the illusion that that’s what working smarter means?

We grind away at problems, thinking and overthinking until our heads are splitting, then we look for ways to alleviate our headaches so we can think some more.

Of course as long as we’re using our heads as battering rams, we can’t step back from the wall and use them to reflect on the possibilities. As long as we envision problems as solid walls, we can’t see the ladders up one side or the paths leading around to the back.

The solution always is to stop bashing against the wall.

Just stop.

Because no matter how impractical that may sound, head bashing is even less practical. Head bashing is guaranteed not to work.

What works is taking a fresh look when your head clears.

And your head will clear, though you’ll probably have to walk away from the wall for a bit.

It’s worth noting that walking away isn’t about avoiding the problem. It’s about broadening your perspective, freeing your mind, making room for new thought to flow and insight to flower.

That’s the way to bring down a brick wall.


The origins of Shaboom and an invitation to apply for individual coaching

The name of my company, Shaboom, is taken from a tune written and recorded by The Chords in 1954. The refrain, “Life could be a dream” captures the promise and impermanence of dreams. It calls us to be bold, visionary, and creative. It honors intuition and alternate ways of knowing. And it reminds us not to take  ourselves too seriously.

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Photo Credit: Damien Cox via Flickr