In the movie Groundhog Day Bill Murray gets to live his life over and over until he learns some basic lessons. I use this movie as a metaphor for how many of us live our lives. We seem to have the same problems every year and they never go away. Do you ever wonder why this happens?
Success is making the problem a past thing.
I’m not talking about making your life successful. I’m just talking about success at making a problem go away. If what you think is a problem comes back year after year, there is something in you. It’s not the outside. It’s not your spouse, it’s not your co-workers, and it’s not your kids. It’s something that you’re doing.
If you’re not willing to look in the mirror I can guarantee one thing: You’ll get a chance to repeat the problem again and again. Don’t you get tired of doing this? Wouldn’t you rather take responsibility, learn, and change your behavior?
If you don’t learn it’ll repeat.
Let’s face it, if you’re repeating a problem it’s because you haven’t changed. This is where understanding blame and justification comes in. If you blame someone for what went wrong, it’ll never get better. If you justify your actions (and only you know whether this is what’s going on) I can guarantee the problem will return.
Until you become personally responsible the issue just keeps coming back. I know I’m repeating myself. I can’t say it enough. If you’re not going to be personally responsible you get to live through tough issues over and over again.
Problems just are.
Problems or what you call problems aren’t good or bad. They just are. Some people like to make problems into opportunities. If that’s what you really do, then good. Most of the time it’s a way for you to justify what you’ve been doing and think you’re thinking about it differently. Until you actually take actions that will change your behavior your problems won’t change.
Experience must be different things.
I love it when I run into someone and they tell me they have twenty-five or thirty years of experience and they’ve obviously learned nothing new in the last fifteen years. They don’t have that much experience. They actually have one or two years experience repeated twenty or thirty times.
If you are really going to stop being a groundhog, you’re going to have to have different experiences. This means you’re going to have to try lots of experiments. Make the experiments small ones so when they fail (and most of them do fail) you’ll have the energy to move on.
Planning for a great big initiative usually provides the same bad result you had before. The only thing this accomplishes is the next time you try you’ll be less likely. The pain and effort are just too much.
The big question, what did I learn?
If you’ve been hanging around this blog you’ve heard me ask this question in a variety of ways. If you’re going to stop being a groundhog you really do have to change what you do. If you’re not asking what did I learn any changes you make are just pure luck. Stop trying to be lucky. Start thinking about what you learned and what can you change. Your outcome is likely to be much better.
We have a special report on the roles a business owner plays. Understanding what role you’re in and what role you need to move to can help you stop repeating the same mistake year after year. To get this report, click on the button below.