If you move a rock in a stream, everything downstream changes forever.
Do you remember the first time you drummed up the courage to kiss your girlfriend or boyfriend? Everything changed, right? How about the first time you moved over to the driver’s side of the car and took the wheel? The first time you raised your hand in class? The time you decided to quit that job or take that ballroom dancing class? In just one moment, you changed your life, and you can do it again whenever you like.
I’ve been reminded several times this past week of Zig Ziglar’s famous saying from Yazoo City, Mississippi: “If you keep a doin’ what ya been doin’, ya just keep a getting’ what ya been gettin’.”
Your Knower/Judger is charged with the responsibility of making sure you “keep a doin’ what ya been doin’.” It’s the keeper of the status quo…good or bad…right or wrong. It exercises great control over your behaviors to keep you in your comfort zone, minimizing risk and helping you get through life with minimum disruption—and keeping you from making the changes you want to make.
But if you look at your life as a young person, you’ll see many examples of times when you broke your K/J rules. You may have been experimenting, or perhaps peer pressure helped you move into your Learner/Researcher. You were nervous, uncertain, adventurous, and you moved that rock. And everything downstream was forever altered.
The older and more entrenched our K/Js get, the less likely we are to take the risk of breaking those rules of life, so we “keep a gettin’ what we been a gettin’.” This affects all aspects of our lives.
Consider the following example. I recently coached an executive team, and one VP had a record of trumping every situation with his K/J arguments. He just had to be right even though he usually wasn’t right. His direct reports were tiring of the ongoing harangues and time-consuming debates. They felt they had to fight the good fight and push back against the VP’s very real ignorance. It wasn’t working. The harder they fought, the firmer he dug in. K/J versus K/J, and my K/J is bigger than your K/J!
In a moment of L/R clarity, one of his direct reports told Mr. Boss he was absolutely right. Voilà! End of argument.
You might think that this left the issue unresolved, but no. Since the K/J versus K/J fight was over, Mr. Boss no longer had to win anything—he’d already won. Within minutes, the two were looking at the data that disproved Mr. Boss’s stand, so Mr. Boss could make a valid decision. Everyone was satisfied, and the whole transaction took about five minutes.
Just a moment of abandoning your K/J rules will change everything downstream.
Your assignment for June: Engage in some repetitive interaction that always seems to go a certain way, and don’t play your part. Tell her she’s right. Take a different route to work. Take up ballroom dancing. Move the rock.