Victus Spiritus


You're not the right duracell battery unit

08 Oct 2009

Pardon the nonsense post title for a moment. Today's topic is Taming Rebellious Minds, even your own.

Forcing Yourself to Work on Something Dull

Before discussing the fine art of coercing others into working on something new, I'll begin with a situation we are all familiar with. No matter how fascinating your work is, if there is even the slightest disconnect between your passion and a particular project goal, you will face the boredom beast. It is an 800lb gorilla sitting in every office and home on the world, and it begs you to procrastinate that dull task with every breath. From distractive email, to discussing a friend or coworkers suddenly fascinating problem the boredom beast will lift you away from the grim task of doing something dull.

I don't have an easy answer, but I do have a suggested plan of attack. Shoot that hulking ape in the head by spinning a dull task in a direction you are passionate about. The people that receive your labors might expect something dry and functional, but instead you'll blow away expectations by finding a pearl in an otherwise tedious task. Some folks are not going to like this. There want you to do the dull or boring thing because that's what they expect. When you switch up your product/results be prepared to ease these folks into the new, hot, & sexy version. Make sure you can still satisfy any agreed upon interfaces as well, or have damn good reasons why they won't work. Also you have get the thing working in a short timeline, but this part comes naturally as now you're excited about your work.

Getting Others Excited About Work

This challenge is a ton easier than the internal sumo battle with the boredom beast above. Do you want your co-workers, cofounders, employees or volunteers to produce something awesome? Listen to them. Yup, these folks are more than willing to share their greatest interests and driving motivations. Align different aspects of the project to each person's passion, and watch them tear difficult problems to pieces like pirrahna in a feeding frenzy. If that doesn't work you have only one recourse, and it isn't harassing or belittling them!

Become so enthusiastic about the project that you can't help by contagiously infect the people around you. Go on and on about the world changing glorious applications of this project, how it will revolutionize how people toast bread, and at all times be 100% genuine. If the work isn't providing a remarkable solution maybe it's a good time to scrap it. If you don't believe in the project enough to rally others to the cause but it is important enough, someone else will. Just let it go. You're not the right duracell battery unit (a homeless man once told me that after leaving a supermarket, and the incomprehensible line has stuck with me to this day).