When was the last time you thought about how to put on your pants?
Chances are, it wasn’t recently. Once you got through the comedic phase of childhood where you ate facefuls of carpet while learning the one-foot-per-pant-leg rule, you probably stopped having to think about the challenges of clothing yourself. Your grown-up brain takes care of it for you, using hardened synaptic pathways developed over a lifetime of Levi-wearing to guide your legs gracefully into your garments.
Like most adults, I have dressed myself without a thought for the last 38 years or so. And then, 2 weeks ago I underwent a major surgery. Turns out my procedure has resulted in more than a pile of insurance paperwork—it’s also caused serious upheaval for my synaptic pants pathways.
Thinking about how to put on pants is now something I spend an inordinate amount of time doing. Which leg goes on first is a vital question (answer: the bad one). Putting on underwear and trousers at the same time halves the overall effort—and elasticated waistbands, though not suave, are a must. Finding a material that slides on easily helps too. In fact, I’ve been discovering a need to reroute my synaptic responses to many basic tasks that I previously took for granted. Stairs look like honey badger infested mountains, high shelves may as well be the moon, and sitting on the floor is Hades’ underworld. But the challenges aren’t daunting–instead, they excite me.
Facing my physical limitation has brought forth a wellspring of ingenious ideas. My former solutions are painful or physically impossible, and so my dormant ingenuity reignites—the ability to invent and create is there, allowing me to jump the ingenuity gap to reach the new practical solutions I need to overcome daily challenges using what I have. The thought of re-coding my brain to be able to do something today that I couldn’t do yesterday gives me a reason to get up in the morning, not a reason to stay in bed. What’s more, the humble challenge of how to put on pants is no different from the sort of problem-solving we sometimes need in the office.
Work can be like putting on pants—you just don’t think about it anymore, and your brain takes care of it for you leaving no need (or room) to rethink. But sometimes that humdrum needs to be broken. You may be under-serving customers, falling behind competing challengers, or you may face obvious inefficiency, economic difficulties, low staff morale, or even personally find yourself in a rut. But short of getting fired or reassigned, there’s often no work equivalent of having your pelvis sliced in three to kickstart a new ingenious solution.
That’s what the Blitz Cycle is for. The six rapid ingenuity practices enable you to fire up the same parts of the brain that respond when your body needs you to find a new way to get dressed. Future Blitz helps you break the cycle of precedent to start a new cycle of learning and positive change—all without breaking any bones. Once you start creating ingenious solutions, you won’t want to stop; it will become the reason to go to work—and isn’t that how it should always have been?