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“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
— Thucydides

“A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
— Jean-François Revel

Different Results Require a Different Approach

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A noteworthy quote that popped up earlier this week in the “Daisy Tracker” Dashboard widget that I keep on my Macs… It’s attributed to self-help guru Tony Robbins, so feel free to take it with a grain of salt if you’re not a big fan of his “awaken the giant within” schtick, but I think there’s a solid core of essential truth to it:

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

…which paraphrases a similar maxim that I’ve always found to ring true:

The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result.

A cursory search didn’t turn up a clearly correct attribution for the latter, but it sure strikes me as a deep and important truth. We tend to get stuck in our comfortable behaviors more than we’re aware of, only rarely coming to realize that some of them may be the very cause of frustrations we repeatedly encounter. It’s well to remember, and probably shouldn’t be surprising, that getting to a different, desired result is likely to require a change in approach — sometimes even one that calls for a daunting departure from our comfortable habits.