3P Random Reflections Blog

Managing people? That's funny! First of all, we don't even really "manage" our own thinking, let alone anything else.


In fact, a more accurate picture of what we do with our thinking, is that thoughts randomly appear in each moment, and sometimes we notice our thoughts and sometimes we don't, and sometimes we believe and dwell on our thoughts and sometimes we just unconsciously let them flow on through.


There is actually never any time when we effectively tell ourselves what, when, and how to think, and then dutifully follow our own orders. Just go ahead and try that for even 5 minutes. If you've ever tried meditating, you'll notice how your deliberately-focused thoughts go off track, even after the first few seconds.


And so then you may be wondering, if we're not controlling our own thinking in some way, how do we function at all? Well, that's just the intelligence behind our miraculous design. When a random thought pops up in our mind AND it's one of those thoughts that appears very real to us, we naturally collect other thoughts to support and reinforce its validity, and then it automatically drives our behaviour.


So for example, if we have a thought that it's critical to get to work on time, and we really believe it, then other thoughts will pop up supporting our belief, and we will usually manage to get to work on time. If we have a thought that we "should" get to work on time, but don't really believe it as critical, then we'll likely do other actions that will appear more important to us in the moment, and we will likely sometimes be late.


Ultimately, it's not WHAT we think, but how much we believe our particular thinking in any given moment, that drives our behaviour.


What makes me laugh about this now, is that I've spent a good part of the last 20 years of my career teaching others (and learning for myself) how to manage other people. But consider this... If we can't even proactively manage our own thinking and beliefs (which is what influences our behaviour), then what's the chance we can manage other people's thinking?


It's completely ridiculous. And yet we continue to act as if it's realistic and possible. And there are thousands and thousands of books and training programs that are eager to tell us how to do it. My guess is that the staggering volume is just a testament to their ineffectiveness.


Now don't get me wrong. It's not that all those processes and programs and tips and steps and techniques and tools and best practices don't work at all. When we're tasked with managing others, they sometimes work, for some things, for some people, at some times, in some circumstances. But they never work for everything, and in fact they don't even work for a majority of things.


And the reason why all those things don't work that well, is that they can't possibly account for one critical variable: Each person's capacity for infinite possibility of thought in each moment. Add to that, the fact that each infinitely-thinking-person spends their days bumping up against other infinitely-differently-thinking-people, in a world with infinite possibility of circumstance, in each infinitely unique moment, and you can begin to get an idea of the challenge of creating a consistent and reliable solution.


So what can we do if our job is to manage other people?


Well, first of all, we can come to the realization that we can't. Which funnily enough, can remove a huge load of pressure and responsibility from our weary shoulders. And which even more funnily, helps us "manage" better. When we're no longer invested in trying to achieve the impossible (getting others to change their thinking), we become more understanding of ourselves and those we manage, which is a great start to being a better manager.


Second of all, we can begin to get a better understanding of the three basic principles (the common thread) in how all humans function. This in turn helps us navigate the craziness of our own thinking, as well as the crazy thinking of those we manage.


And when we get insights into this understanding, we get more frequent access to better decisions in what to say and what to do and how to respond in each unique moment. And when either we, or those we manage, don't do what we think we/they should be doing, we don't get so bent out of shape, and we eventually discover it's not a problem at all, or we just know what to do next and we do it.


And so maybe the next best step will be to take a course on how to manage... Which will fortunately keep me employed for a while longer. :) And while my employment lasts, you can guess that my training will be focusing more on an awareness of our state of mind for managing people, than the steps, techniques, processes, and tools on how to do it.

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Latest comments

01.10 | 19:31

I am so glad to hear Sara! So kind of you to let me know! On the website menu to the left is also a "Procrastination" page which has some insights on the topic.

30.09 | 22:08

I found your blog post after googling "procrastination and the three principles". I'm new to this understanding and your very clear explanation helped. ☺️

13.12 | 04:29

Thank you Lars! So happy to hear from you, and glad you enjoyed the reading! I hope to continue writing and sharing whenever inspired. 😊

12.12 | 20:30

Hi Jonelle
Just stumbled across your website, love reading all your insights.
Hope you keep sharing. Thanks from Lars (all the way from Denmark