In the media today problems are everywhere. There are community problems, policing problems, political problems, and business problems … the list goes on and on. Add in your own problems at home, work or school and it can seem endless. Because our lives and work have grown ever more complex, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to become an expert problem solver in a dedicated pursuit to identify, analyze, and fix the myriad issues that surround us. But when we focus too long on our resistance, problems, and dark spots, it’s easy to become cynical, self-protective and exhausted from a life that seems to be going nowhere fast. In turning all of our attention to finding what is wrong or could possibly go wrong, we lose the ability to see what’s right and what’s possible.
What if we could design something different, something much better? What if, instead of becoming only expert problem solvers, we changed how we lived and worked in a way that was more energy-giving than energy -sucking? To help guide us in this exploration of new perspectives, we turn to the field of physics, one that sees the connection and possibility in the most complex of systems – the universe. The knowledge and insight from this discipline not only applies to understanding the building blocks of our vibrant physical world, but it also applies to understanding what builds a vibrant culture and a vibrant life.
Take Ohm’s Law, for example. You remember Ohm’s Law, right? Don’t worry, we’ll explain it and we promise we’ll leave out all of the confusing, math part. Ohm’s Law looks at the flow of energy through a circuit. This flow is known as current and is related to the voltage (strength of the energy motivating the flow) and the resistance (friction throughout the circuit that impedes flow). Here is what the equation looks like:
So what does all this have to do with our work, our company culture or our lives? This physics principle teaches us that we can increase flow (and it’s a great thing when your life and work are in flow) not just by decreasing resistance (traditional problem-solving) but also by increasing energy. How do we increase energy? By focusing our time, attention, and intention on finding and growing the “bright spots” – those parts of our life and work that are already bringing us the results and joy we are seeking. When we shift our perspective from “What problems do we need to fix?” to “What gives more energy in my work and in my life?”, we start to widen our view and begin to discover what’s possible.
What we have come to understand over the years in our practice of Experience Design is that we can draw on the power of those bright spots and intentionally strengthen, connect and expand them. When we do that, even the problems that seem to threaten the very fabric of organizational culture quickly and efficiently solve themselves. They’ve literally been designed out. And each time we do this, we start to create the building blocks of a more vibrant career, company, culture and life. So both the lessons of physics and experience work combine to recommend the practice of this bright spot wisdom.
What are your bright spots? Those places where you already shine. What are your company’s bright spots, the things your company does that you think are great? What could you contribute to your company that brings joy, inspiration and enthusiasm to yourself and those around you? How can you intentionally strengthen and grow these areas? More often design them in. Tell us about your insights of going beyond the world of problems to the world of possibility. Follow the bright spots.