Crippled CEO Blog #154:
Pigeons can be made to be superstitious.
BF Skinner, in his 1948 study, provided food to pigeons at random times. Often, whatever random action the pigeon happened to be doing before the food appeared — turning in circles, bobbing its head, etc. — the pigeon would start doing whenever it wanted food. And sometimes, because the timing was random, food would come while the pigeon was doing its ritual dance, further reinforcing the superstition. The pigeon was convinced it was causing the food to appear with its action, even though the two were completely unrelated.
There are a lot of things we are doing that we think are important and necessary, but almost certainly aren’t. Like the pigeons in the study, we found success while doing something, but we attributed it to the wrong thing.
Life Saver Pool Fence dealers thought that going to the customer’s house and doing a full sales presentation was a necessary part of selling a removable mesh pool safety fence.
During Covid, many figured out that the entire process could be done over the phone, sometimes entirely by text and Google Earth, with no visit to the home necessary. This is a huge timesaver for both the sales person and the customer.
How many “important meetings“ could you cancel, and everything would be just fine? How many engagements do you attend that you really don’t want to, because you think something bad will happen if you don’t? Do you really need that employee (or customer) that upsets everybody and makes you miserable?
Why are you still wearing high heels? They look like they hurt, and I promise you that no one would think twice about it if you never put them on ever again. The heels aren’t the thing making you attractive.
I stopped wearing shoes after I dropped out of high school and I quit wearing underwear a few years ago. Nobody cares about the shoes and only people who I want to see me naked noticed the missing underoos.
The reality is that you only have to get a few things right, and those things probably aren’t the ones that cause you the most stress and anxiety. It might take some experimenting, but it’s worth figuring out what you can cut back on so that you can do more of what’s actually important. Stop being a superstitious pigeon.
(Do you know who else stopped wearing underwear? Your grandmother — just like your mom. Your mom also gets a text from me every Sunday with a link to the latest blog post. Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.
Did you know that I have a YouTube channel now? I do! I am putting up two videos every single week. Go search for Crippled CEO and you’ll find me. I would appreciate it if you subscribed.)