Sunday, 3 June 2012

The 110%'ers

I put it down to poor use of a thesaurus; desire begot passion, and passion won out over professionalism, which suffered through being less easy to fake and having too many syllables. But who am I to talk? Two comments annoyed me last week; quite why I’ve been so irritable or these particular remarks I don’t know, they’re hardly the silliest. I’m beginning to think I have a specific dislike for good points badly made, or good subjects undercut by an over-the-top zeal.
Why are so many businesses down on discussion with emotion and passion? Gotta harness them and focus on a good final outcome.
New Yorker cartoon - Enthusiasm by William Haefeli
This is easy to answer; they’re not. Are you one of those people who whoop and holler when the audio engineer checks the microphone, or is it the result of hearing something really good? Yes, I know this analogy is shaky, but the point I’m trying to make, badly, is quality, commitment, a clear vision, and so on, will result in those other signals that indicate success. There’s nothing quite so dispiriting for some as enforced jollity, the ‘spontaneous’ applause at the end of every stand-up. It’s cyclical, you don’t create good product by getting excited about it, you get excited at the prospect of creating good product, and this requires those old fashioned virtues we seemingly only whisper. Then there was this:
If you’re not outside your comfort zone, you’re doing it wrong.
No, no, no; you’re trying too hard - change the word “not” to “never” and I’d be a lot more... erm... you know, though not that much. I’ve had enough of these false prophets, those 110%’ers who’d have us believe that anything less is to fail. This particular example might not seem so bad on reflection, yet it is, tending to an authoritarian school that inflicts us all; I’m always tempted to respond “is this evidence based?” because such slippery-worded nonsense defies proof. Imagine the reaction to “I’m not very comfortable with this new release but, hey, you know what they say.” What the comment should be trying to convey is the advantage in stepping outside your comfort zone every so often, pushing the envelope occasionally or whatever cliché floats your boat, challenging commonly held assumptions; which is a little different from permanently living on the edge. False dilemmas such as the one above lead to a suspicion their purpose is more self-validation than advice.

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