Imagine that our objective is to successfully navigate a challenging problem in our “river of life.” It is as if all of the river’s current seems to flow directly into a giant rock that obstructs our river.
Let’s also imagine that we have some time to formulate an approach to navigate this demanding section of river… and our rock.
Conventional wisdom quickly turns our attention to our best attributes — our superpowers — that could help us conquer this problem. These could include responding with speed, strength, or confidence.
While immediately confronting chaos before the rock with our superpowers is a common approach, it sets up a clash that limits the effectiveness of qualities like speed, strength, and confidence.
A more difficult first step is to engage the chaos from another perspective — to patiently align ourselves with this uncertain force of energy.
To simply be with the water for a moment. To feel it. To process it…THEN to work with the water to better leverage our superpowers.
To align with the river sounds great in principle — a powerful and continuous force of energy that works for us and with us as we engage what lies just ahead.
But we rarely make this choice because the act of aligning with the river often challenges every fiber of our conventional wisdom.
Which uncovers a strategic problem → a reliance on conventional wisdom.
Conventional wisdom roots our choices in a comparison to average… and an impatience with average.
The harder we lean into conventional wisdom, the more we unnecessarily stress our unique attributes, which reduces our options.
Enter the strategy of counterintuitive.
Here, we build an open-minded framework that keeps a variety of options in tact.
The strategy of counterintuitive turns us away from average and towards thoughtful consideration and nuanced choices. We gain a broader perspective from vantage points often hidden to conventional wisdom.
At every phase of my life on the river, the strategy of counterintuitive surprises me… and challenges my thoughts and beliefs, ultimately helping me to:
- Refine the fundamental elements of my personal skills, values, resources, and experience to better align with chaotic forces of energy.
- Evaluate choices of timing, speed, and patience in situations of great consequence.
- Efficiently course-correct mistakes on the fly.
- Seamlessly transition to Plan B (Or Plan C, D, or E….)
These exact elements that define the best of my Olympic journey and my river journey anchor the mental agility needed to pursue contentment in an uncertain life journey.
To question the impulsive status quo is HARD.
To find the self-awareness to enact patience is HARD.
To settle on choices that are different than those of others is HARD.
But, once the strategy of counterintuitive sets the guideposts for our practice, we notice how our rocks opportunistically guide the water with which we want to align…
Which is counterintuitively simple.
With gratitude, — Joe
The Strategy Of Counterintuitive is a part of my continuing Sunday Morning Joe series, The Pursuit Of Contentment On The River Of Uncertainty.
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Connect with Joe:
I coach established and experienced professionals, who feel stuck in place, to thrive in transition and bring focus to what matters most without compromising their lives.
My personal experiences winning an Olympic Gold Medal, serving as CEO of a national sports organization, and my current “Simple, Slower, and Less” lifestyle in the Catalan Pyrenees help to form accountable and transformative collaborations that see my clients create their next and most impactful chapter.