My iPhone, the Weather and Controlling Results
A couple of times this week the subject of creating results has come up in client conversations. (which you'd expect when people are trying to do things in the world!)
The specific conversations have been around the relationship between what we do and what actually happens.
Those conversations reminded me of something I do on a regular basis, and how completely off-base I am when I do it…
The World Doesn't Do As It's Told!
I know, sad as it is, the world around us, and the people in it, don’t do as we’d like them, or tell them to do.
What happens for me is that, before I plan my day, I like to check the weather—I’m looking to see if rain is forecast so I can plan my dog walks or bike rides.
So I check my iPhone.
… I’ve noticed that the weather doesn't always do as it's told —sometimes it’s forecast to be sunny and it rains, or vice versa. Or the timing is slightly off.
How annoying, right!?
I’ve planned my day according to the forecast and now the weather dares have a mind of its own??!
Usually at this stage I’m laughing at myself but sometimes I’m genuinely upset with the weather!
It's obvious, of course, where I’m going with this.
The weather isn't created by the prediction on my iPhone, the phone is merely attempting a best-guess based on some algorithm of wind and pressure patterns, and historical climate data. The closer in time, the more likely it is to be accurate.
It's the Same with Results…
This is pretty much what we do with results.
We make a plan, and we create a prediction in our mind about what's likely to happen based on past experience plus our internal algorithm of imagined interactions with people and events around us. Or we imagine what we’d like to happen, what would be great for that ideal day we’ve imagined…
…and then we’re surprised when things don’t go the way we expected and we don’tn get the results we planned for.
Sometimes we're more than surprised—we’re annoyed, upset, anxious, and then we try everything possible to bend reality according to our prediction, rather than seeing and responding to what's happening in front of us.
I'm out of flow,
was how one client put it.
Of course, she wasn't out of flow; she just didn't understand the science of forecasting, and the relationship between action and results.
It’s so easy to think we’re in control, just like I’d love to be in control of the weather so that I can create my perfect day. But I’m not. There’s a black box in the middle that is moving the sun and shifting the clouds and causing water vapour to fall from the sky.
It’s Not in the Forecast!
The futility of trying to predict, and therefore control our results is exactly the same as me trying to control the weather and force it to act in accordance with my iPhone's prediction.
Even though forecasts are sometimes right, that doesn't prove a causal link. If the weather changes, it's absolutely not a result of something that happens in the back of the iPhone.
When we understand that there isn't a linear relationship between actions and results, we're much more likely to be at ease with the randomness of life, and be able to act on opportunities that seem to come out of left field.
I say "seem" because that weird thing that happened isn't an aberration, it's simply the way the world works.
When we understand that most of our results—or at least the opportunities that can lead to results—come out of the black box rather than from apps on our phone, it’s easier to relax. We don't need to control what’s coming along, just as | don’t need to control the weather.
Best I can do is get a good waterproof!
P.S. As soon as you see your plans and predictions for what they are—one version of a possible future based largely on what happened yesterday in metaphorical 'weather-world', then you can take yourself and what you're doing a lot less seriously. And that is what frees up time and energy to do more of what you want and have fun doing it!