Recently, I discovered some interesting academic writings. I found my self attracted to one professor in particular. He has several interesting ideas, mainly in topics that go far over my head, that usually have something to do with “Jungian Archetypes”, “Lobsters”, or the like. One of the ideas that I actually could comprehend was his ideas on truth, perhaps best explained via his quote here, “The truth is something that burns, it burns off deadwood, and people don’t like having their deadwood burnt off because they’re 95% deadwood”. As an interesting aside, he even went so far as to hypothesize that perhaps, symbolically, this was the reason that when God spoke to Moses, he did via a burning bush.
Now I think it may be reasonable to assume that the readers that frequent Michigan Tech’s website here, may have the age and experience to make the phrase “95% deadwood” become slightly hyperbolic, but I’m sure the general thought that we all have weaknesses and bad habits that need to be disposed of, is a true idea. These weaknesses that we all harbor can have a negative impact on both our professional and personal lives. Yet we hide these weaknesses not only to others but also to ourselves. Shahram Heshmat, in his article “The Many Ways We Lie to Ourselves” says, “90 percent of all drivers think they are above average, and 94 percent of professors at a large university were found to believe that they are better than the average professor”. It may seem obvious that 50% of us are below average when it comes to driving, but admitting to one’s self one’s own incompetency is a difficult thing to do.
Often when one speaks of Lean or Continuous Improvement it is in the board context of organization; however, the principles behind Continuous Improvement require growth as an individual. Once an individual recognizes their own flaws then they can begin to “burn off the deadwood”. I doubt that I, in my youthful ignorance, could begin to articulate any processes for self-growth after this, but I do think it is clear that, metaphorically speaking of course, every once in a while we all need to Jump in the Fire.
- Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. The Many Ways We Lie to Ourselves. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201708/the-many-ways-we-lie-ourselves.