What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Who did you check in with when you had some good news this week? What music did you listen to today?
I bet I can guess all three.
You ate something familiar to you.
You checked in with someone familiar to you.
And then, you listened to familiar music.
Am I right, or am I right?
Leaning on things that are familiar is great. It gives us comfort and ease. It puts our brain on autopilot, and we can safely engage.
Those things (including people) who are familiar to you are probably similar to you as well.
Four reasons why the familiar/similar trap isn’t good for you.
The trap isn’t great for your:
- Creativity; the same ol’ same ol’ doesn’t spark new and creative ideas
- Innovation; ditto, the same ol’ same ol’ doesn’t spark putting those new creative ideas into use, aka innovation
- Growth; same ol’ same ol’ can hamper our growth
- Learning; learning is all about stretching, and we’re not stretching if we’re in the familiar/similar pit
The yearning for familiar and similar is mighty powerful though.
“We’d rather be stuck than screwed,” says Bill Burnett and Dave Evans in their fabulous book Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.
So keep your ease with some familiarity AND make a conscious effort to try some things that are not familiar or similar to you.
- Approach your day with a scientist’s mind – get curious and deliberately look for ways to experiment with things that are different
- Check out my Life Lenses® online assessment which will help you identify what is familiar to you (what comes onto your radar easily, naturally, and comfortably) and what flies below your radar, which are areas to seek out and explore so you don’t fall into the familiar/similar pit..
When the walls of the (too) familiar and (too) similar trap are too high, and you can’t see your way out to enhance your creativity, innovation, growth, and learning, simply try one of my four steps: create a try stuff box, put on your scientist mind, watch for your biases and/or try my Life Lenses® assessment.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead
- Check out one or more of the resources I’ve shared: how to create a ‘try stuff’ box, what biases to watch out for, and/or try your hand at my Life Lenses® assessment.
- When you start taking steps to escape the (too) familiar/ (too) similar trap, you may find that you’re not as stuck as you think, like this beloved pooch
- Share this post with a friend and/or colleague and help each other stay out of the (too) familiar/ (too) similar trap
P.S. I recently launched the online version of my Life Lense® online assessment – which clients from all over the world have benefited from, including many UN agencies. Check it out for outta sight insight, including how to reach people who wear different ‘lenses’ than you!
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