A Rut is A Grave with the Ends Kicked Out

If you enjoy unnecessary frustration, keep doing what you did.

Self-imposed irrelevance is the consequence of prolonged repetition.

We don’t notice when patterns become irrelevant, so we serve them to the point of triviality.

Unaltered repetition leads to stagnation and stagnation is the predecessor of putrefaction. Proper repetition is useful for emotional stability, developing skills, and predictable results.

Irrelevant repetition becomes a rut, “… and a rut is a grave with the ends kicked out.”

Relevant repetition:

Learning is most relevant during persistent turbulence. First learn about yourself. Where and how are you rising to new challenges? What does that say about you?

Learn about your team. Notice people who row harder when challenges are greater.

How might you support and fuel passion?

The hardest part of learning is unlearning. The tentacles of entrenched patterns eventually pull us into the deep.

All dying organizations have fallen prey to the discomfort of unlearning. Try asking, “What are we doing that isn’t working?”

Irrelevant repetition:

Like dogs, leaders love the bone of correcting problems and fixing weaknesses.

If you enjoy repeated disappointment, focus on fixing weaknesses and correcting problems. Beware that you don’t die with a bone between your teeth.

Some problems need fixing. But problems are about the past and getting stuck there is deadly. Some weaknesses need attention.

An improved weakness won’t outperform a maximized strength.

Questions that shift thinking, “How might we maximize the people who are thriving?”


The greatest opportunities to elevate your game is to shift the way you think about yourself. Are you a problem-fixer? Become an opportunity-seeker.

Begin your next meeting with two questions:

  1. What does it mean to win?
  2. What do we need to do to win today?

The danger of repetition is it feels comfortable long after it has lost usefulness.

What seems most relevant today?

How might leaders confront irrelevance?

Bonus material:

Developing Strengths or Weaknesses (Zenger Folkman)

Why the Problem with Learning is Unlearning (HBR)