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The effort paradox, and 6 things you can do to make it work for you.

The type of thinking that pervades much of our workforce, especially our leaders, will not lift us to where we want to get to, or even need to get to – on a country, societal, business or personal level. Big stuff.

Most thinking is incremental and lineal. One effort in. One result out type stuff.

True. Without effort, grit and determination you achieve nothing worthwhile. However this effort needs to be directed.

Think about problems differently

I recall working with a small business owner some time ago. It was fascinating. Great little business. Profitable – through hard work. Good staff. Lots of opportunity. After looking at the business I said – “wow, this is great. I believe you can at least triple your profits.” Triple profits. Who wouldn’t want that. Money on the bottom line. More money for family, Here’s the kicker. “Triple the profits? I’m already working around 60 hours per week.” They couldn’t see any way forward. Consumed within their world of being busy.

We’re not talking laws of physics here. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Some of this is because we’ve been educated and conditioned in this way. Incremental lineal output to input. Some of it is risk averseness thinking. People don’t really want the change that comes with new thinking. Existing organisations and industries just can’t do it. There is too much inertia in every fibre of the dysfunction – especially in the thinking and therefore Will. Some of it is just the comfort of familiarity – no matter how dysfunctional and chaotic things are. “That’s just the way things are around here.” Some of it is avoidance based behaviours because doing something is too hard. The talk is all about needing to change, and the talk stays about needing to change. “Yes, we must change! Do some more analysis and report back in 6 months.” Or people are deep down just afraid. Their ability in actually being able to do anything courageous is non-existent.

Dont think like everyone else

Move over. Get out of the way of people that want to do something but you’re choking the life out of them, so they too become autobotic drones conditioned to be portrayed in Dilbert cartoons.

Life, and certainly business, isn’t like that. Say that to the creators of Uber or AirBnB. They’re not thinking – “I have 20 cars I can rent out. Assuming a 40% utilisation at an average rate of X I can make Y, less my costs = Z. If I then get 2 extra cars then … Where should I advertise? What cars should I buy? …” Uber. Bam!

If you think about it. This is crazy thinking! Stop thinking like everyone else. Well – just start thinking instead of continuing in the rut.

We invest so much time just running around doing the stuff that the real value stuff is just lost. We creep along in the shadows, just out of the light.

I’m not saying this is negative thinking. It is just unconscious thinking. Thinking is too hard when you’re in amongst it. Everything is instinct and routine. It takes a lot of effort to overcome this.

If you’re in this place, and want something different, there are some things you can do about it.

Listen to me. You don’t have to work longer or harder to achieve more.

Smarter and braver

If you’re this place and want something different there are some things you can try:

  1. Make the choice to change. This is the big thing. Are you in, or are you out?
  2. Stop. Think. Unfortunately this is something that people cannot find the time to do.
  3. Use your support people. They’re a source of enormous opportunity. Use everyone’s strengths. Cut the crap thinkers, nay-sayers and outright losers who suck the positive energy from you.
  4. Work less. Make a decision to work less. This will force you to think differently
  5. Consciously think about your thinking. Tricky. Think about what you’re thinking about. Think about your thinking processes and where they lead you. There’s a lot of good stuff around to help you change course.
  6. Clarify your vision. Create a plan. No not just a little plan on incremental changes. We’re thinking different now, and you need to visualise and imagine, not go through a technical process of writing out a plan. You’re better than that.

I’m interested in knowing:

  • What you’re doing about your thinking
  • What is working for you
  • What support you need

Give me a yell. Keen to hear. Keen to understand. Keen to help.

  • Mike Overwater

Mike's an ordinary bloke who had a dream, and wouldn't give up. As the founder of EKO Group, and co-creator of, he thought it was time to share his truths and personal life lessons. Mike hopes to inspire you to always keep it real, to go for your dreams, and to let nothing stop you! Above all BE YOURSELF.

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