Size 2 Hearts

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“My life sucks”

People at Size Two are separate from others, although unlike those at Size One, they are surrounded by people who seem to have some power that they lack. As a result, their language expresses “my life sucks.”

My life sucks. They don’t listen to us; they don’t take our suggestions seriously; nothing will ever change; management’s a bunch of idiots; this idea too shall pass; here we go — here’s another dumb idea.

“I had to give up my art, because the cost is my family.” He sounds like a victim of circumstance: that others can do art, but not him. His life sucked — he’s made it to Size Two.

Second, this person can move to a tribe where the offending behavior is not tolerated. The mother of a former gang member, whose son began attending a church-run youth center, told us, “I’m worried; he used to be so alive, but now it’s like the cord got pulled.”

From an attitude perspective, her son went from the fire of despairing hostility (Size One) to the passivity of being an apathetic victim (Size Two).

This was progress.

If interviewed, he would look sad and say, “This place sucks — I don’t know anyone here.” He has gone from the alienation of Size One to the disconnection of Size Two.

There are people in Size One who want life to be different; At the same time, if people aren’t willing to leave the allure of Size One.

People in this Size are passively antagonistic; they cross their arms in judgment, but never really get interested enough to spark any passion. Their laughter is quietly sarcastic and resigned. The Size Two talk is that they’ve seen it all before and watched it all fail. A person at Size Two will often try to protect his or her people from the intrusion of management. The mood that results from Size Two’s theme, “my life sucks,” is a cluster of apathetic victims.

The cultures of Size 2 individual are many of the most challenging environments: low energy, no innovation, where the tribe is still locked into negativity.

In The Old World my driver's license expires would have to go Department of Motor Vehicles across the land ever few years to get a license to allow you to use the transportation system; the thing one would say, when one was standing in line is, "How can people be so dumb, and yet live?"

Now, am I saying that there are dumb people working here? Actually, no, I'm not. But I'm saying the culture makes people dumb. So in a Size Two culture -- and we can still find these in all sorts of different places -- you find them, in fact, in the best organizations in the world. You find them in all places in society. I've come across them at the organizations that everybody raves about as being best in class. But here is the point. If you believe and you say to people in your tribe, in effect, "My life sucks. I mean, if I got to go to TEDx USC my life wouldn't suck. But I don't. So it does." If that's how you talked, imagine what kind of work would get done. What kind of innovation would get done? The amount of world-changing behavior that would happen? In fact it would be basically nil.

3 Doctors with Size 2 Hearts[edit]

Three doctors walk into an elevator. And one doctor said to the others, "Did you see my article in the New England Journal of Medicine?" And the other said, "No. That's great. Congratulations!"

The next one got kind of a scrunches his face and said, "While you were, you know, doing your research, I was stuck doing more surgeries than anyone else in the department of surgery at this institution." Notice the contempt in his tone.

And the third one got to his chance to bitch about his life and said, "Well, you think it was bad doing your monkey meatball surgery, that eventually we'll train monkeys to do, or cells or robots, or maybe not even need to do it at all, I was off pushing pencils running the future of the residency program."

And they all kind of laughed and they patted him on the back. And the elevator door opened, and they all walked out. That is a meeting of a Size Two tribe.