Tuesday, August 22, 2017

You’ll Never Get There from Where You Are

For some, this is a delicate topic.  Some of you may be offended, even though that is not my intention.  This subject is rarely addressed in the way I have laid out.  By addressing it, I understand the potential consequences.  Speaking bluntly on the topic could result in hate mail or silent adversaries.  Nevertheless, the intent is to create an awakening. 

With that said, when I say ‘where you are’, it has nothing to do with
physical proximity.  It has to do with mindset.  There are various mindsets.  Some minds focus on difficulty; others on impossibility.  While some minds focus on constant development, there are others who’re committed to successful achievement.  And there are a multitude of nuances within each.  In all likelihood, the mindset that got you to where you are will not get you to where you want to be.   

If you want to know your current mindset, listen to the conversations of your family and closest friends.  If they complain often, there’s a chance you do the same.  People who complain a lot rarely ask for what they want.  They focus on what they don’t want.  Because they have not articulated what they do want, they often get more of what they don’t want.  This mindset can produce tremendous frustration with very little accomplishment.  When it does accomplish something, it’s usually mediocre.  Or there is enormous pressure and they produce one-time extraordinary results.  After that, they go back to complaining.  As for accomplishment, they talk about and live off the one great thing they did in the past.  

If you listen to the complainer, he usually sees himself as a victim.  Unlike the mindset of high achievers, complainers have been programmed by their environment to constantly find something wrong.  High achievers, on the other hand, are often seeking to produce some unprecedented result, like breaking a world record.  Many corporations hire college and Olympic athletes.  They’re seeking people who can transfer high performance to another career.  They may also want people who understand how to be a team player. 

If you observe teams that perform poorly, you’ll hear them complain about team members, coaches, equipment, etc.  The list goes on ad nausea.  As a result, they’ll most likely be embedded in dysfunction.  However, they won’t see the dysfunction.  It’ll always appear that circumstances are the source of their problems.  Instead of training and developing to be the best, they squander practice and focus on what’s wrong.  They may even forego practice so they can voice their complaints.  For them, they may believe their complaints are accomplishments.  Except, when they’re done complaining, they’ll be in the same exact place they were before the complaint.  When they continue to get what they don’t want, their complaints become more aggressive.   

The dirty secret is they have presupposed nothing ever works for them.  As long as they can prove nothing works, they do not have to be responsible for becoming high performers.  Fortunately, though, no one is born with that mindset.  It is learned.  Therefore, it can be unlearned.

The contagiousness of this mindset not only happens with teams, it happens in communities.  Once the team or community believes their current circumstances are the result of someone else, they will assign responsibility to another.  Without responsibility, the contagion will continue to claim new candidates without mercy. 

When you’re immersed in this mindset, it’s difficult to see the trap.  And it could appear disruptive or uncomfortable to step out of it.  First, you have to understand there’s nothing wrong with this mindset.  It’s simply one way your environment taught you to see the world.  Second, examine whether or not it produces the results you want.  If so, continue.  If not, you may have to accept that it could be an inappropriate mindset for your future accomplishments. 

Why is this topic relevant in 2017?  If you take the black American community, for example, they’ve been protesting for decades.  The results have been the same, which has them constantly protesting about the same thing.  In other words, protesting has never worked.  Perhaps if the black community took their mind off of what they believe is wrong, they could focus on desirable outcomes.  Instead of protesting, which is a form of complaining, train and develop self.  If you look at Black Wall Street, it was not the result of protesting.  People who were committed to economic empowerment built it.  What mindset do you need to build?     

While it’s easy to understand how to apply training to sports, it may be counterintuitive to train for life and business.  To do that, it’s no different than playing sports.  It requires unlearning bad habits, practicing actions that produce results, creating new possibilities and a mindset that supports it.

In the face of recent events in Charlottesville, people may be inclined to display greater dissatisfaction with the system.  In all likelihood, that may be a dead end, at worst.  At best, it can lead to being placated.  If the black community is committed to economic power, that would be a different path than complaining.  And it would require a team effort. How do you prepare, train, develop, manage and create a mindset to build economic power?  Since it hasn't happened in recent US history, it's time to realize you can't get there from where you are. 

What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback.  And I’m open to ideas.  Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.


  1. Hi Ted loved, loved loved the article, You can't get there from here. DEAD ON! I have been peaking at your work through the TBT newsletter. I know that if you really believe what you wrote in this article (and practice it) you are truly special... I'll look to friend you on FB. Here is my contact info. Let's chat soon, in person. Coach KENYA WWW.MYBODYDIVINE.COM

    1. Thank you, Kenya. As you saw the first paragraph, I predicted some would not like the article. And I knew there would be people who understood where I was coming from. So thank you for getting it.

      By the way, I stand for everything in the article. And I train and advise executives to develop that mindset and culture in their organizations. So it’s a way of being for me. And I understand not everyone has the training.

      I would love to speak with you in person. Talk to you soon.

  2. Damn good assessment. You really touched on the critical basics.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with the above statement. Yes, it is a mindset for both the individual and the collective whole. Tulsa Oklahoma of the 1920's, Black Wall Street is an excellent example of what Black Folks have and can accomplish. It is also an example of systemic racism for those of us who know the history of Black Wall Street.

    I do believe for Black Folks in America to improve our condition must establish an independent mindset. Yes, this will alienate even more folks then your statement, cause what Black Wall Street showed us, is it's not until we have an independent mindset that we will improve our conditions.

    1. Thanks for the comment and well stated, Dennis. I'm willing to bet you can't complain your way to an independent mindset.