He may not have said it; so many aphorisms are attributed to Oscar Wilde.
‘A grapefruit is a lemon that saw a chance and took advantage of it’.
We still use the word ‘lemon’ for ‘failure’.
But it’s the importance of ‘a chance’ that interests me.
It may be a direct result of all the turbulence in the world, but every team I work with at the moment is incredibly anxious. They are anxious about being right, anxious about pleasing the boss, anxious about doing the right thing, and anxious about being in control. Being anxious all the time is exhausting and misery-making.
And it loosens the sanest person’s grip on reality.
A cynic’s guide to change and project management did the rounds a few years ago.
It consisted of 6 phases. It went something like this.
Phase 1 Enthusiasm
Phase 2 Disillusionment
Phase 3 Panic
Phase 4 Search for the guilty
Phase 5 Punishment of the Innocent
Phase 6 Praise & Accolades for the nonparticipants
I think it may actually be becoming true.
This truly does seem to be how certain management teams like to run things, now.
So we have a choice. That choice is to realise that ‘control’ is usually illusory (and only generates anxiety) and to stop playing their game.
Loosen your grip.
Start to believe in chance.
Get ready. (‘Chance favours the prepared mind’ said Louis Pasteur)
Make space for unexpectedness, and make space for chance.
And voilà. Grapefruit.