Today my wife and I were chatting about our life in Thailand over the past 14 months. As many of you know from recent posts, this chapter of our life is closing and a new one is beginning. What successes and failures were there during this time? Hang on, do we need to use those terms to describe events in our life? Could we take a different view?
Is this our reaction to things that don't seem to work?
As an avid reader of material from the Quiet Leadership Institute, Sharon discovered a fascinating interview. Charles Duhigg has worked at the New York Times since 2006. His book, The Power of Habit — discusses the science of habit formation in our lives, companies, and societies.
In a recent interview with the Quiet Leadership Institute, he discussed a raft of qualities that are found in effective leaders. It includes the need for effective leaders to model the patterns of behavior he/she wants to see in their teams. One of the important attitudes that he talked about was the concept of “constructive disturbance”. What does that term mean and how could we use it in our on-line business programs? Could this change how we view our day-to-day progress here at Wealthy Affiliate? Here is Charles Duhigg’s explanation.
“Leaders who believe in the value of constructive disturbance see the decisions they make as experiments, and they pay attention to what happens after they run the experiment. Most of us don’t tend to look at the choices we’ve made as an experiment—we look at them as something that was good or bad, a success or a failure. But experiments are never binary that way—experiments are things that give us both success and failure. Usually what a scientist does is try to figure out the ratio: “This experiment was 90% a failure and 10% a success because I learned X and I can use X to run the experiment again a little bit better.” That’s a powerful framework for thinking about the decisions we’ve made. We know that every choice has good elements and bad elements. Understanding how to quantify that, how to recognize the good and the bad, that’s how you learn what to replicate and what to discard.
When people bring some disturbance into their life, the next essential step is to take a step back a little bit later and say, “Okay, so I ran an experiment. What did I learn that worked, and what did I learn that didn’t work? How do I take that knowledge and build on it for the next experiment I’m going to run?” When something doesn’t work, it’s not a failure. It’s an experiment that gave you some data. The only way it ever becomes a failure is if you don’t learn what you can from it, if you don’t make it useful.” – Quiet Leadership Institute, Newsletter April 2016.
"Constructive Disturbance" - Not a "Failure"!
Success or failure – we use those words so often when analyzing our attitude to life, to relationships, to business. And so many of us talk about not fearing failure – I have in some of my posts. Why not use the phrase “constructive disturbance” from now on? I certainly will be. I can think back over many instances in my life that I have deemed a failure, yet said in the next breath, “but I learned this about myself”.
Some of the things we try in developing our niche websites don’t always turn out the way we had hoped or expected. So it is another experiment that had a percentage of valid information and a different percentage of stuff to discard. I have changed widgets, affiliate links, images, installed and deleted plug-ins and deep down knew it was experimental. I was engaging in what Charles Duhigg calls “constructive disturbance”. I have used those occasions as knowledge building, giving me valuable experience for the future.
“Constructive disturbance” – not success or failure – should motivate us to keep working, taking progressive steps to a platform of experienced accomplishment.
Got an opinion on “constructive disturbance”? Love to hear from you.