We’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. What most of us don’t think about (or are too busy working hard to notice) is how innate and intuitive it is to recognize when things aren’t quite right and then make a subtle shift for new results.
It’s more than just a success tactic; it is actually a basic survival instinct of mammals. Here’s what I consider to be a beautiful example of that.
I took a whale watching tour on a small zodiac boat in Victoria BC. As I was bobbing and weaving in the ocean and watching a magnificent display put on by a mother and baby humpback whale, our guide explained more about the humpback’s mating rituals.
Each year the male whales sing a song to attract a mate. What’s fascinating is that all the males sing the same exact song. Not only the males in one geographic location but all the males of the species around the world. The whales in Mexico sing exactly the same tune as those in British Columbia. They sing and sing and when a female likes what she hears, she chooses her mate.
Here’s where the “doing what works” part comes in. If and when the males keep singing but it doesn’t seem to be working anymore (meaning they are not being chosen by the females), one male will change the tune ever so slightly. All the other male whales change their tune as well, and they do this until it starts to work again.
These subtle changes ripple throughout the local waters and beyond for the species until the mating season ends.
The lessons these whales have for us are:
- Doing what everyone else is doing might work for a short-term but not forever.
- Be attuned to the need for a subtle shift in what you are doing to achieve much greater results.
- Don’t wait for someone else’s permission to make a change if you aren’t getting what you want.
There’s a natural rhythm to things and our ability as business owners to tap into that and embrace the subtleties is extremely powerful. Sing a beautiful song, but don’t get attached to it. Don’t get caught up in the insanity of just “working harder” when it isn’t working. Know that by changing your tune ever so slightly you might just get what you want.
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