Insanity, Defined

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results”—Albert Einstein.

How often do we hear that?  There’s a lot of truth there, especially when we face challenging situations with no clear-cut solutions.

But let’s spin that quote sideways, and see if it clarifies or complicates:  “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and getting different results.”

Think on that for a minute.

You may have heard of the experiment where a lab rat sees a green light, taps on a button, and is awarded a food pellet.  If it sees a red light, it gets a mild shock.  Continue that for awhile until the rat thinks he’s got it all figured out.

But mess around with the wiring.  And now, the rat gets shocked when there’s a green light…maybe every third time, or maybe every time.  But the red light doesn’t do anything.   Or maybe it drops a pellet.  Then switch things back to how they originally were.

You’ve effectively made the rat insane.  It was doing the same thing over and over again…and getting different results.   That’s the real insanity.

Due to the rapid changes in technology, marketing, politics, media, economics, and countless other aspects of modern culture—the same thing happens to us, although on perhaps a less insidious scale.  And it impacts workplaces, relationships, and psyches.

Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss…only different.

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