Thanks again to Ann Oliveri for pointing to a good Seth Godin post. This one gets (slightly) political, as Godin makes the case for Hillary Clinton quitting her Presidential bid. He really isn’t talking politics, though: he’s talking about how hard it is for people to quit or stop doing something if they have "invested" a lot in it in the past, even if it’s clear that in the present and future it’s not going to work. From Godin’s post:
For a long time, we’ve created a myth in our culture that it’s worth any price to reach your goal, especially if your ego tells you that you’re the best solution. We’ve created legends of people and organizations that pursued transformative long shots to achieve great results.
I need to be really clear: pushing through the Dip and becoming the best in the world at what you do is in fact the key to success. But (and it’s a big but), if you’re required to become someone you’re not, or required to mutate your brand into one that’s ultimately a failure in order to do so, you’re way better off quitting instead.
Amen. But here’s the rub: we tend to make sense of our world by looking backwards. It’s the only way we can make a coherent story, one where we can trace the cause and effect and things can "make sense." When we start to look into the future, that clear progression of things suddenly becomes fuzzy. We don’t like fuzzy. So instead of living with that and rolling with that, we tend to pick a specific future that we like and convince ourselves that it will happen. So when Godin says you shouldn’t "become someone you’re not" or mutate your brand so that it is ultimately a failure, he is right—but we often don’t see it. We spend less time truly understanding who we are and what will make our brand succeed, and we spend more time investing our energy in a narrow band of stories that represent our preferred future. If you really want to be successful, you need to reverse that ratio.