What would Batman do?

“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”
– Batman Begins

The hardest thing to change is ourselves, and that is also the only thing we can really control and change. It is really easy to talk about changing how we eat, exercise, or how we work. It is a bit harder to actually do the change when we have a lot of time and energy. The hardest thing is to actually follow our new diet, exercise regime, or way of working when we are tired or stressed. But that is usually when we need it the most. If you are tired or stressed then we usually need to eat better or go for a run. If you are tired or stressed at work that is the time when you should stick to your teams new way of working and not glide back into your old way of working.

We need some help with this and research shows that distancing us from decisions makes it easier for us to go against our ingrained habits. For five year olds answering the question: “What would Batman do?” helped them make better decision).

Not sure if it works for adults as well but I will start asking myself: What would Batman do? the next time I’m unsure of what to do.

A common way to handle conflicts, but I’m not sure it is the best one…

“Maybe if I didn’t say anything about what had happened, we could get back to the way things were. Ignoring a problem was a perfectly acceptable way to deal with it, as long as both people agree to never bring it up again.”

– Kim Harrisson, The Good, The Bad and The Undead

A common way to handle conflicts, but I’m not sure it is the best one…

Practice gives you time to focus on what is important

“As with everything, fighting takes practice. Anything can look easy if you’re watching someone who’s mastered whatever it is they are doing, but what you don’t see is the hours and years of effort that go into perfecting their craft. I am sure you can plow a field in a fraction of the time it would take me for this very reason. Sword fighting is no different. Practice will allow you to react without thought to events, and even to anticipate those events. It becomes a form of foresight, the ability to look into the future and know exactly what your opponent will do even before he does. WIthout practice, you’ll need to think too much. When fighting a more skilled opponent, even a split second of hesitation can get you killed.”

Michael J. Sullivan, Theft of Swords

Some people can make playing a guitar look easy. Some people makes it look easy to stand in front of hundreds of people and make them laugh, cry or understand something completely new. The reason it looks easy is that they have practiced for years to become that good. What practice does is to make the standard moves into the subconscious which allows them to focus on what is important. When I learned how to drive my focus was mostly on shifting gears, and remembering which pedal was the break and which was the clutch. After practicing driving my focus slowly moved away from those things and on to what was important; looking at the traffic, watching out for pedestrians and bicycles.

The same thing happens when practicing to give presentations. Instead of focusing on exactly what to say, how to stand and trying to keep your voice from trembling. You can start focusing on how the audience reacts, their questions and then follow that to make sure your point gets across instead of blindly following your script.

Experience also give you the ability to predict what will most likely happen and prepare for that, while someone without the experience have to constantly react to all the new situations.

Practice gives you time to focus on what is important.

You are asking the impossible

“You are asking the impossible.”

“So that’s a ‘no’?”

“It’s more of an ‘I’ll try my best’.”

Neil Gaiman, Marvel 1602

Sometimes we need to prepare the people we work with for the possibility that we will fail in the task we are working on. It is not a reason to stop working on it. It is a chance to push the edges of what we know and what we think is possible. It is here that we learn the most, we might even learn more if we fail. The challenge is to create an organization that sees failure as something to learn from instead of trying to find someone to blaim.

We all have different blind spots

“You want to know why? Because we all have blind spots, Vi, even you. The good thing is that yours are different from ours. ”

Brent Weeks, Beyond the Shadows

This is one of the best reasons why we need to work in teams. Because of the blind spots we all have. The hard part is to keep listening even though we can’t see what they see. It might take a while to understand their perspective.

Living your purpose

“he was the world’s best swordsman, wielding the world’s best sword, facing a monster out of legend. Lantano Garuwashi was living his purpose”

Brent Weeks, Beyond the Shadows

Living one’s purpose is about finding what you are really good at. It is about practicing those abilities. It is about using the best tools. It is about surrounding yourself with the people that can support you in fulfilling it, and you helping them live their purposes. Your purpose is not fixed, and it will change over time. It does not have to be about saving the world, but if it is about making the world a bit better then it probably will be a bit more fulfilling. You don’t have to work on it full time, do it as a hobby. Do it because it is fun.

Do something that you are good at and that you love.

How trustworthy are you?

“He’s untrustworthy,” Amaram said.

“He keeps his word, so far as I know,” Dalinar said. “That is more than I can say for most.”

“He keeps his word because he never promises anything.”

Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance

If you say you will do something and you do it then it will increase people’s trust in you. If you say you will do something and you don’t do it then their trust in you will decrease, no matter the excuses you have for not doing it. If you don’t promise anything to anyone then you will never break anyone’s trust but you will not create any long lasting relationships either.

We will have to do

Aladar extended his hand, but hesitated. “You realize that I’m stained through and through. I’ve got blood on these hands, Dalinar. I’m not some perfect, honorable knight as you seem to want to pretend.”
“I know you’re not,” Dalinar said, taking the hand. “I’m not either. We will have to do.”

Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance

No one is perfect. No one has all the skills needed to do a task perfectly. No one has lived a flawless life without making any mistakes. Find people that you can be yourself with, and that have skills you don’t have. Surrounds yourself with people who you want to learn from. Ignore their flaws and focus on their positive sides. Then create something fantastic!!!

Making decisions can help a group grow

“I register four yes votes, two negatives, and one abstention,” said the Consul. “The ayes have it. Who wants to start?”
The table was silent. Finally Martin Silenus looked up from where he had been writing on a small pad of paper. He tore a sheet into several smaller strips. “I’ve recorded numbers from one to seven,” he said. “Why don’t we draw lots and go in the order we draw?”
“That seems rather childish, doesn’t it?” said M. Lamia.

Dan Simmons, Hyperion

What would have happened if they instead of just drawing lots had taken the time to talk as a group and decide in which order to tell their stories?

You should avoid some decisions because they will take time and just use up energy, but sometime the energy that is lost now will be regained during later decisions or conflicts. People need to practice discussing and managing conflicts, and it is much better to start with something small than having your first conflict when the entire organization is hanging on the line.

Sometimes we rush towards what we think is important when the most important thing is happening right now.

Be honest but not stupid

“In her business, there were many who laughed at honest men, calling them easy pickings. That was a fallacy. Being honest did not make one naive. A dishonest fool and an honest fool were equally easy to scam; you just went about it in different ways.
However, a man who was honest and clever was always, always more difficult to scam than someone who was both dishonest and clever.
Sincerity. It was so difficult, by definition, to fake.”

Brandin Sanderson, The Emperor’s Soul

Being honest does not mean that you have to say everything it just means that you are honest in what you share. A very honest response would be:

  • “I can’t talk about that right now.”
  • “I don’t feel like talking about that.”

Being honest mean that you want people to be honest with you as well, but it does not mean that you trust everyone you meet.

If you want people to be honest with you, the you have to be honest with them.