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May 16th, 2018
How many of us have heard these sorts of responses?
"I suffer from depression and anxiety..."
"Yes, I take something for it."
"Yes, I see a therapist."
"Yes, I've put a bow on the issue."
"...yes, I am still depressed and anxious. It's better, but..."
Much of the economy runs on a single, simple and fragile idea. The idea that you can: get someone else to do it. Outsource the responsibility.
Throw money at the problem, and it will sort itself out.
Well that might work. But really what's happening is paying for responsibility displacement. Bureaucratic corporations are stellar at this:
"Should we mine the talent we already have, invest in that talent and develop it? Or should we hire a consultant?"
Consultant. Definitely a consultant. (Is usually what happens. And some consultants are good. The good ones realize how limited their reach and influence is and work with that. Most consultants, however, act like a temp boss that commandeers, trying to prove themselves, instead of asking, what can these people do? Where is the disconnect, how can they flourish? How can I succeed by making the need for a consultant irrelevant?)
The best doctor I've ever interacted with was a physical therapist. After hearing the details of my ailment, he said something to this effect:
"Ok we’ll probably have half a dozen sessions, probably fewer. The degree to which you regain strength and function, however, is ultimately up to you and the work you put in."
This guy could have fed me some bullshit medical lingo and easily pumped me for money for months. But he opted for the opposite: a balance between minimum effort and maximum results, and made it abundantly clear that my health was in large part my own responsibility. He was kind, patient, listened very well and ultimately: enabled me to solve the problem.
Of the dozen or so Physical Therapists that work in the same office, his waitlist is the longest, by double.
He is an example of reversing the responsibility economy. By providing the tightest, most succinct and densest value possible.
There is tremendous negative opportunity to take advantage of people's desire to outsource responsibility. But there are two people for every tango.
Blame cannot be solely placed on the corporation, the bad doctor, and all those who take advantage.
The consumer, the client, the customer, the guest.. is just as big a target for that blame. Probably more considering the old adage that demand creates the supply - rarely the other way around.
Be wary of how responsibility is outsourced. Do you genuinely need expertise solving a particular issue? Or are you hoping someone else will solve it if you throw money at them?
The success of IKEA has been at least partially attributed to something termed "the IKEA effect".
Simply put: people like the things they own more, if they build those things themselves.
IKEA created a sort of symbiotic relationship and benefited from putting a little of the responsibility of construction onto their consumers.
My physical therapist did the same thing.
What about mental health?
Some quick casual research will reveal that physical exercise is just as effective as Prozac.
2-3 months of daily mediation also begins to produce equally powerful results.
And yet so many opt to feed a pharmaceutical corporation, and less-than-brilliant therapists who also need to pay bills and have had years of schooling that may or may not function like implicit biases against you, convincing everyone, including you, that you are sick.
The good thing about rock bottom is that it's a great foundation.
The good thing about the IKEA effect is that if you build a better you, you’ll have no one to blame for that success, except yourself. And no one can take it away from you. And if you need to do it again and again and again. You’ll know how.