The Psychology of the Lion Tamer

Mar 2015

2 mins read

Have you ever been to a circus?

The lion tamer comes out with his red coat, white trousers and if you’re lucky a twirly swirly moustache. In one hand he’ll have his whip. When he cracks it in the direction of the lion, the king of the jungle will relent but still pace.

What else does the lion tamer have? This is the key – a lowly chair. Even if you had a neglected childhood and never knew the joys of the candyfloss at the circus you will know the answer to the next question. What way does the lion tamer hold the chair? What I mean is what part of the chair does he point at the lion?

The four legs, but why? Because as far as the lion is concerned the four legs are four different threats he doesn’t know how (or what) to react to so he becomes overwhelmed and docile. If you think of the lion as a computer, then the processor has frozen there is no communication and no action is taken.

The same thing can happen in business. What happens to people when they are overwhelmed? They freeze, they become still. We have so many things to do we are so overwhelmed that we become the busy fool, nothing gets done or worse nothing gets done well. This is why we make to-do lists and action steps. We break those four chair legs down into individual threats and strategize our attack.

Make a list of the things you need to do. Read through your list putting numbers or letters beside each to prioritize them. Then guess what you do? – you do the first thing, guess what you do then? – you do the second thing and you keep going until you’re finished!!

The tip of the iceberg for setting goals is understanding why you need them. Just remember the confused lion.

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