My “Radical” Healthcare Solution

January 30, 2010

Okay, but face it, Michael… you’re a radical, Jim said to me the other night at dinner. The first time I recall being called a radical was back in grade school. It was also the first time I had ever heard the word, and I didn’t know what it meant. Based on my teacher’s tone, and the fact that my thinking didn’t align with others, I assumed it meant something bad. Over time I learned its meaning and looking back on that first experience, my teacher’s use of the word was pretty accurate. It seems I was, and according to Jim, still am a radical.

His accusation came during a discussion concerning healthcare. Jim’s position was pretty simple: Government should stay the hell out of healthcare… period. After a few more statements along the same vein, I realized Jim, like many U.S. citizens, had taken the bait. By bait, I mean the propaganda that has become the faulty cornerstone of the so-called “healthcare” debate. What made me a radical in his eyes is that I didn’t accept it. I was interested in discussing “health” care… not “sick” care. Jim wanted to argue about government involvement, insurance companies, hospitals, drug companies and so on… politics.

When you stop listening to rhetoric and start looking at reality (facts and evidence), most “problems” start looking different. Healthcare is no exception. It has little to do with the issues being discussed in Washington or in the media. Read more

Solutions That Stick

January 23, 2010

In 1942 when researchers were searching for a way to make clear plastic gun sights, they formulated a substance called cyanoacrylates. It didn’t work. In fact, they considered it a big problem. Why? It stuck to everything! Based on this, they rejected it.

In 1951 a new team of researchers rediscovered the formula. But this time, rather than reject it, one of the scientists was intrigued with its bonding properties. By viewing it for what it really was (and by contrast, seeing it for what it wasn’t), he set his imagination to work and saw it for what it could be.

His solution? Cyanoacrylates made for an amazing SUPER GLUE! In fact, it could bond almost anything you could imagine. The stickiness problem became the solution… or so it seemed.

Paradoxically, when it was discovered that the formula really did bond nearly anything, including human skin, its strength quickly became its perceived weakness. For the company planning to produce this new product, the potential legal issues and dangers far outweighed the benefits. Once again, cyanoacrylates became a problem.

That is, until the U.S. military heard about it. At the time, doctors in Vietnam were looking for a quick way to suture wounded soldiers. This “problem” substance once again became a great solution and saved many people’s lives in the process. Cyanoacrylates in one form or another are still being used today in medical applications around the world. Read more

Finding Solutions

January 19, 2010

Turning problems into solutions requires that we adjust our perception, suspend our judgments, and remain open-minded to all possibilities. In other words, it means seeing reality for what it “really” is and for what it “really” isn’t.

Since our brain filters through volumes of random data each moment, selecting and rejecting evidence to support our beliefs, we need to consciously define and focus our attention on what it is we are seeking.

Look at the following words and quickly say the actual color aloud (not the word).

If you’re like most people, even this simple challenge requires effort to reprogram your brain. With practice, this task becomes easier once you focus more on the color and less on the actual word.

What we believe and focus on… becomes our reality. If you go out looking for trouble, you’ll find it. If you focus on happiness, it will appear. Once you decide what you’re looking for, your brain will go to work to find it and make it your reality. Whether you’re focused on problems or solutions, it doesn’t matter… your brain will subconsciously gather evidence and make it your reality.

Remember, evidence that could disprove our beliefs is marginalized or blocked by our brain filters, while weaker or even false evidence is distorted or enhanced to support them.

Since labeling something helps make it so, why not start by labeling a “problem” as a “solution”? While this may seem counterintuitive at first, successful people have been seeing problems as solutions since the beginning of time. Read more

Seeing Beyond Labels

January 18, 2010

Our five senses collect far more input than we can ever process. To prevent sensory overload, our brain filters and edits the outside world. Through this selection process, our perception of reality is established and maintained. In other words, our reality is a filtered version of REALITY itself.

Subconsciously, our brain selects what we believe is possible, plausible and “real,” while ignoring or blocking everything else. Have you ever been in a noisy room with many conversations going on at once when out of nowhere you hear your name mentioned?

That’s your filter at work. Since you consider your name to be important, your brain filters out the less important information and focuses on your name. It’s this selection and rejection process that establishes your sense of reality. It also establishes what you consider a “problem” and what you consider a “solution.”

Modifying our brain filter isn’t easy. It’s even harder when those around us share similar beliefs and expectations. It’s hard to see a new solution when it has been labeled and accepted as a problem… but it is possible. Read more

Purpose + Passion = Mario Andretti

January 6, 2010

To me, Mario Andretti is more than a racing legend… he’s also a friend. I met Mario several years ago when we worked together on his book, “Andretti.” You don’t need to spend much time with Mario before you realize he’s a quality person… and someone who truly understands the power of purpose and passion.

One night over a glass of wine (or two), I asked, “Mario, before or during a race, do you ever think about the possibility of being seriously injured… or even dying?”

It was later explained to me that asking a professional race car driver such a question was inappropriate at best. Perhaps so, but Mario didn’t seem to mind. “I try not to think about it, Michael,” he responded.

I took another sip. “I understand, but isn’t it hard not to think about it at times?” Read more