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The Dramatic Pause : Sometimes, You Gotta Let It Simmer

Effort is overrated. Have you ever noticed someone putting forth tremendous effort to improve a situation yet still failing to advance? It’s easy to believe that failure is a result of not enough effort, however, sometimes failure is a result of too much effort or a lack of understanding regarding how things “work.”

Effort is overrated. Have you ever noticed someone putting forth tremendous effort to improve a situation yet still failing to advance? It’s easy to believe that failure is a result of not enough effort, however, sometimes failure is a result of too much effort or a lack of understanding regarding how things “work.”

If you’re unable to improve a situation that seems to be getting progressively worse, perhaps you don’t fully understand how it works or how your efforts impact the outcome. Try pausing. Just stop. We can learn a lot about pausing from great creatives; the writers and their white spaces, the artists with their use of negative space, the entertainers and their dramatic pauses. Michael Jackson referred to it as “simmering” or bathing in the moonlight.

COMPENSATING FEEDBACK LOOPS

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
One of the 11 truths of systems thinking, identified by Peter Senge, is “The harder you push, the harder the system pushes back.” In other words, the more you try to improve things, the more effort seems to be required, and the worse things can become. This is called compensating feedback. According to Senge, compensating feedback occurs when “well-intentioned interventions call forth responses from the system that offset the benefits of the intervention.” Here’s an example of compensating feedback:

Quit smoking suddenly–>Gain weight.–>Decreased self-esteem.–>Smoke to relieve the stress.

THE SECRET TO WINNING WHEN YOU CAN’T WIN FOR LOSING

Instead of forcing more action, try stopping. Pause, step back and observe the situation before trying to enforce change. Develop the confidence to observe what happens without additional effort. Pausing will help you to sharpen your senses, learn something new, identify bootlenecks & barriers to change, realize new approaches, discover new paths, or even experience some magic. So slow down. Maybe even stop. For maximum and lasting impact, a slow, gradual approach works better than a forceful or toilsome effort. Let go and let it flow.

Kishau Rogers

Kishau Rogers is an award-winning technology entrepreneur specializing in wrangling complexity using computer science, systems thinking, creativity, and common sense. She is the Founder & CEO of Time Study, Inc., a high-growth startup offering solutions for using machine learning, advanced natural language processing, and data science to automatically tell a story of how enterprise employees spend their time and its impact on the areas that matter. As the Founder and CEO of Time Study, Kishau is one of the first Black women in Virginia to raise millions in venture capital to scale her tech startup. She is also the owner of Websmith Studio and the editor of the bigThinking project, a resource for promoting the principles of systems thinking.

Kishau’s work is featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and Black Enterprise. In addition, she is a recipient of many awards, including the VCU Distinguished Alumni (in Computer Science), NAWBO Wells Fargo STEM award, the Lyn McDermid Community Impact Award, and the MBL Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In her commitment to using technology as a tool for social good, she also serves as an advisor to organizations and initiatives like AI for Afrika, Think Of Us, WAAW Foundation, Level Up Ventures, Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Computer Science, the first U.S. White House Hackathon for Foster Care and SheHacks Africa, a software engineering intensive providing training to women & girls across Africa.

She holds a Computer Science degree and has over twenty-five years of experience in the technology industry and more than 15 years of entrepreneurial leadership.

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