‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference’ pops up on most lists of
motivational quotes, usually ascribed to Churchill. But it isn’t a little thing at all. Attitude is profoundly important. (Our ‘attitudes’ help construct our self-identity, help us belong, defend our egos, and to kid ourselves that we can predict how others will behave.)
And, as you would expect, a default attitude tends to take up residence suspiciously early in our lives. Unless you were lucky enough to grow up in a Liberty Hall atmosphere, a key syllable in your default attitude vocabulary will be – ‘no’. You’ll be using it to control situations and people, and very used to closing down and switching on various defenses when it is used to you.
The grown-up version is ‘but’.
Now this IS a little thing that makes a big difference. ‘But’ stops collaboration in its tracks. Experts in collaboration and performance thrive in sport and in the arts, and
business people love to learn from them. The Improvisation people have been teaching ‘Yes, and’ – the principle of accepting any offer (idea / notion / line) from a fellow performer – for a long time.
And under-selling it, I think.
If character A says ‘What an interesting looking bag that is.’ and is met with ‘But I
don’t have a bag’ by Character B, then the conversation is over. So over.
If character B says ‘Yes, and… I…’ then anything could happen. And it probably
‘Yes, and’ changes energy, commitment, imagination and enjoyment instantly. It is accepting and encouraging and ego free. The instinct to control what is happening is a truly ingrained part of a default attitude to life and work and others: ‘Yes, and’ is a perfect antidote.
Collaboration and creation relies on, just for a while, having no idea what is going
to happen; on having no control over the outcome, on accepting others.
Over-ride that ‘but’ instinct. Try ‘yes, and’…..