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Reason, long-presumed to be the only thing other than fashion separating us from the chimps, seems over-rated. What the old, reliable predicate calculus can represent kind of skirts around the edges of human difficulties, but we rely upon it anyway; probably over-rely upon it. Just because there’s no reasonable way to resolve something doesn’t limit choice much. Limiting choices to only reasonable ones might be the most common cause of modern difficulty.

I subscribe to the perhaps delusional belief that reason makes a better excuse than it does an imperative. Much of what everyone does every day makes little sense, it just works. If it has to make sense to even qualify to be tried out to see if it might work, we shouldn’t need to make any excuses if we’re stuck. We know the cause and it is us.

Of course, some stuff won’t work and some might even fail more or less catastrophically. An unblemished record seems at least questionable, and could be indictable. Most organizations suffer from a sincere absence of the crazy stuff that keeps this world humming, chasing well-reasoned resolutions to the exclusion of the deliberately half-baked. This approach should drive any self-respecting human at least a little crazy.

The BriefConsultant might feel moved to introduce his client to the age-old concept of Any Thing But That, but only if the client seems sufficiently desperate. I’ll ask after the one thing he would never, ever, under any circumstance consider doing to resolve his difficulty, then suggest that he try that. If the difficulty has proven itself unresolvable, ricocheting off every well-reasoned attempt at resolution, perhaps it’s aching for difference. Could another well-reasoned tactic probably qualify as sufficiently different to make a difference? Maybe—and how could the proposition be posed as anything other than a maybe?—the unthinkable, the irrational, or even the differently rational could work; Anything But That.

There’s no compelling requirement to go completely apeshit here, a 1% solution might adequately serve; leave 99% of the Anything But That on the table and see what happens next. Sometimes, 1% works, and when it doesn’t, the downside’s no overwhelming slide.

Communication breaking down? Rather than trying to adopt the latest method for ensuring good communication, focus upon deliberately making it worse for a while and watch what happens next. This Anything But That might at least bring the difficulty into sharper resolution, and that, almost alone, might well illuminate previously unconsidered options.

Adopting Best (or, as I call them, Blessed) Practices, sometimes prove impossible, producing a Have-to, Want-to, but Can’t stymie; a real stuckness. The sponsoring executive issues a Must-do mandate, and the whole organization seizes up in response. Even more emphatic engagement seems to reliably deepen the quagmire, which encourages even more emphatic engagement, a spiral I call Even More Of The Same; proving the old adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The sameness might be found anywhere: in the emphatic form of engagement, which could be suggesting that some sincere slacking should be considered here; The overly catholic interpretation of the Must-do mandate, which the executive might not have intended to be quite so strictly embraced; or even the Have-to, Want-to, but Can’t trance, which might be conveniently broken by choosing not to care so damned much.

Who I am might be more in my control than I’ll ever feel comfortable confirming. It’s helpful sometimes to have an evil Jiminy Cricket whispering in my ear, suggesting unthinkable options, especially when my reasoning starts driving me crazy. Maybe only if I care enough to not care so damned much will I ever find my way beyond my rational self, back into the more fully functioning one again.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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