Some people have trouble coming to grips.
For an example, look no further than Tatiana at Charlie’s Italian Restaurant on a recent episode of Kitchen Nightmares. She bought a failing restaurant because she thought she could get it back on its feet. She didn’t change one thing and then was surprised when the restaurant continued to fail.
When presented with evidence of poor kitchen skills, poor product, and poor management – she freaked. She had never considered any of that before. Yet she thought she had the skills to be a great restaurant owner.
Why the cognitive dissonance?
And better still, how can we keep from having that same cognitive dissonance?
How can we keep from being the owner asleep at the wheel?
Start at the Beginning
The most famous book of all time starts with three simple words. “In the beginning…”
Those words punch right to the soul. It’s like the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. It seems only proper for the beginning to be the beginning.
But life isn’t like that.
Sure, it’s true that we all have a first moment on this earth. Each of us once took our first breath. That’s our beginning. Or is it?
What about that night, roughly nine months earlier? Does that push the clock back a little bit?
And if it does, does that mean that we can start talking about generations and not just you? Can we talk about your biology instead of your “self”?
Where does it all start?
Well. You big dummy, it starts at the beginning.
And the beginning is an iterative process.
The big bang is a scientific idea that tries to explain how our universe started. NASA created the WMAP to study the cosmological origins of the universe. What they came up with was a map that shows the location of the oldest light in the universe (aka cosmic background radiation). Through studying this data, they were able to determine that the universe is 13.75 billion years old, with an uncertainty of plus or minus 110 million years.
If we presume that’s true, that’s interesting enough.
There was an event called the Big Bang where everything that exists exploded out of one tiny super heavy dot. And 13.75 billion years later, a bunch of dudes were able to take a picture and figure out how long ago it all started.
It seems weird to just be sort of squirted forth from some single point of matter. And that doesn’t exactly explain where this singularity (as it’s called) came from. Where’s its beginning?
Could it be that each universe is created from the black hole inside of another universe (thus giving rise to the arrow of time)? And if so, where did the first original universe come from?
Is it really turtles all the way down?
When you’re a kid, you just assume that everybody lives in the same situation you do. Getting older means having to come to grips with everything you thought about your life: your upbringing, what you think about your parents, your economic status, and so forth.
When issues come up, Freudian psychology encourages diving into the pool of childhood memories. Get back to the beginning. Understand the underlying mechanism.
When you’re ignorant, it’s easy to pass off any good story as fact.
We love to dress up our problems with little tropes to help us address them. But we often get caught up in the trope and not in the fact.
We see this all the time with weight loss.
Ask anybody if they’ve ever been on a diet. Most of us have. Then ask them what they did on their diet. Most people will talk about their calorie restricted diet that’s light on sweets, meets, fats, salt and heavy on fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains. Oh, and exercise.
That’s the conventional wisdom.
But what you won’t hear is anybody explain to you the biological mechanism that’s responsible for weight loss.
Most people don’t know what it is. And so the obesity rate is rising, diet companies are making a killing, and people are having a hard time losing weight.
What’s wrong with this picture?
What’s wrong is that they don’t know the beginning. They don’t know the mechanism. And that makes success elusive.
The Bedrock of Business
A business needs a beginning. And for most businesses, that beginning is the Self.
It’s something inside of us that prevented us from taking a job and signing up for the traditional American dream.
The thing we created instead is intensely personal. It’s crafted to fit our emotional needs and it’s crafted for our own comfort. It allows us to show off our strengths, and reveal our weaknesses. In short, it’s the naked truth.
And so that makes biological awareness, self discovery, and having some kind of philosophical or spiritual bent important. It allows you to see your strengths and weaknesses – the things that make your business special and the things that hold your business back.
You’re the business. You wrestle with the business. And weirdly, it wrestles back.
It shows you your weaknesses – if not in colorful charts and graphs, then in bills, a lack of new work, and a quickly draining bank account.
But if you know where you stand at the beginning: at the self, you’ll be able to level up appropriately.
What Makes a Whole Person?
I think a good list of attributes for a whole person includes:
- Diet/physical health
- Mental health
- Working knowledge
- Financial and physical security
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but rather a rough guide by which to talk about this topic.
Satisfying all of these attributes is essentially the whirling-dervish of life.
And since you’re in the business of creating your own future, it’s worth knowing what affects you at the beginning… at the core of your being.
When you see adversity (as Tatiana did in the Kitchen Nightmares episode with her business tanking), take a moment to assess each part of the whole you. And you will find some areas that are red lining. They’re not being taken care of properly. And because of this, you suffer and your business suffers.
Now, by the time Gordon Ramsey shows up on your doorstep, you’re really in the shit. Thinking in this manner is meant to head off long term decline and turmoil.
The answer for a successful life is the same as what Gordon gives to the restaurant owners: [highlight color=”eg. yellow, black”]Maintain high standards.[/highlight]
Maintain high standards about your diet, your physical health, your emotional health, your spiritual health, and your physical and financial security. Seek balance.[highlight color=”eg. yellow, black”]”Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.”[/highlight] – Glenda Cloud
Grow the attributes that are atrophied and you will grow yourself and your business in ways that allow you to enjoy life more.
It has to. You’re the beginning.
It all grows out from you.
So embrace the chance to build a better beginning.
By doing so, you’ll build a better future.
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