Nevada Falls, YNP
Counter Intelligence by Jim Seybert
May 2010
Jim Seybert
Jim Seybert
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If I Had a Hammer

Trying to fit square pegs into round holes is wrong on many levels:
  • The peg is damaged,
  • The hole is damaged,
  • The fit is never quite right,
  • Peg pounding requires an extra expense of energy,
  • Time spent forcing the union is an opportunity lost.
Philosophers have long wondered why people will do a certain thing (A) even when they know doing something else (B) would be a better choice.

Choosing A over B, when you believe B would be a better choice, results in a dis-integrated self image, the outcome of which is personal frustration as you try to pound your  peg into an ill-fitting hole.

Square peg imageThe ancient Greeks called this akrasia-literally "without control".  My friend Geoff Pynn teaches philosophy at Northern Illinois University.  He tells me the "round hole and square peg" issue has been with us for a long time:

"Plato held that akrasia was impossible, that all action is preceded by conscious judgment, making the action an individual's personal best choice. On the other hand, Aristotle held that doing A while believing B was not only possible, but common."

Beyond the obvious moral dilemma of functioning as a house divided against itself, the practice of akrasia hinders one's ability to reach full potential - lowering productivity and personal satisfaction.

The extra time and energy you waste trying to pound your square peg into a round hole should be  applied toward more productive results.
Very little in life can be reduced to a simple A versus B- round versus square-but we all face circumstances where we'd be more productive and more satisfied if our activities were more closely aligned with our personal abilities. 


Helping your team find the answers to these questions will improve performance metrics and save time:
    1. Do you know the shape of your peg?
    2. Can you clearly describe it to others?
    3. Do you have the chance to do what you do best, every day?
Until next time -

Jim Seybert
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The header photo on this edition of Counter Intelligence is Nevada Falls in Yosemite National Park.
I took the photo while hiking along the Panorama Trail above Happy Isle.