I Could Be Worse
Summer’s here, so I confess I was looking for a way to slide by with minimal effort on this blog. My bright idea: Offer a quick overview of some favorite online posts from the last month or so. Seemed harmless (and easy) enough. But the first one that came to mind ended up taking me down an unexpected rabbit hole of rebellion. I emerged feeling a surge of new, if not necessarily life-changing, resistance to being a perfectly behaved employee!
It started seriously enough with a Huffington Post piece, “Six Toxic Beliefs That Will Ruin Your Career.” The author, Travis Bradberry, wrote the No. 1 bestseller “Emotional Intelligence 2.0.” Bradberry’s main point: Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s what happens next that matters most. Negative self-talk and toxic beliefs — like I have to be perfect to succeed or my accomplishments depend on others’ approval — can put you on a downward spiral and keep you from pulling out of it.
Bradberry’s ideas were empowering. They also made me wonder what other negative, misguided notions about on-the-job behavior might be keeping people (including me) from realizing their true potential. My pursuit of this new truth led me to the following revelations:
Writer-producer Hilton Collins presents a compelling argument about why daydreaming’s bad rap is wrong. Offering anecdotes about the invention of Velcro and insight from John Tierney, a New York Times science writer, to bolster his position, Collins suggests daydreaming spawns creativity, helps us process and prioritize information and provides impetus for reaching goals.
British psychologist Dr. Jeremy Dean, founder and author of the popular website “PsyBlog,” loves to take esoteric scientific information and turn it into simple tidbits anyone can understand. In this post, he summarizes a study published in the The Arts in Psychotherapy journal that shows making art — doodling in particular — boosts the blood flow through the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain linked to regulating higher functions such as thinking, feeling and acting. Remember that next time you’re in a boring meeting scribbling random squiggles on your notepad!
The main thrust of this piece by Tom McKay, staff writer for journalism site Mic, is that messiness isn’t evil and unproductive like we’ve been told. There’s fairly robust psychological evidence that it might actually provoke creativity. McKay presents a compelling argument citing sources ranging from psychologist Kathleen Vohs, Columbia Business School professor Eric Abrahamson and his and fellow researcher David H. Freedman. The upshot: the emphasis on order and efficiency in work settings can be misplaced and actually stifle creative problem solving.
Armed with these insights, I’m ready for summer in the workplace. And I have just one word for you: Resist!
Written by: Diane Landsman
Diane Landsman is familiar to many in the HR community as a former editorial director at Human Capital Media. Now an independent communications strategist, writer and editor she helps enterprises educate, engage, influence and sometimes even entertain their audiences. Her specialty is crafting original content across media channels, from websites that attract searchers and keep them engaged to email campaigns, articles that put organizations on the map, and executive-level whitepapers, speeches, and op/ed pieces.