Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cheating....It can be the right thing to do!

OK, so the title may be misleading, but how else to describe fraud? Still confused? Let me explain. When I was growing up I was the youngest of 4 male cousins and a brother. All of them were talented athletes. Sure I had some talent but nowhere near how God had blessed them. When we would play touch football (which often turned into tackle football) I was always last to be chosen. My ego was often bruised and battered. To this day I have an inferiority complex. So….I began to cheat.

I began to practice even when they were not around. I would throw the ball high in the air and run to catch it. I would throw the ball into a small cedar tree until the neighbor thought the tree would die. I would read books about great football players and if they said they ate raw eggs…I ate raw eggs. (This is all true.) You see, I really wasn’t that good, but by cheating I was able to commit fraud…and convince myself that I was. I thought by working extra hard when they were not looking, I may be able to surprise them next time.

Does this make a little sense now? In some instances cheating can be good.

In school I sometimes did not quite “get” what the teacher was talking about. Maybe because it was complicated or it was a left brain activity and I am right brained or maybe I just simply was not fully paying attention. So…I cheated.

I would re-read the material, ask a friend to allow me to study her notes or explain it to me again. Sometimes I even visited the teacher before the test for some extra tutoring. By cheating…(studying more), most of the time, I got a good result.

Today, I cheat daily in my business life. My job is one of consulting (talking) with business owners about how to improve the performance of their businesses. In order to be able to make some sense to them, I read lots of books and papers about business. I attend seminars and lectures on subject matter that may help me help the business owners. I prod my team to help me think through situations and circumstances. Two (or more) brains are better than one. And I usually don’t depend too much on my memory. I cheat…I take notes, then I read and re read those notes. I spend time thinking about what I read or heard and how it may apply to a situation with one of my customers. I also usually go into meetings with an agenda. Once a business man told me he was impressed by how organized I was and that I knew what we needed to talk about each time we met. I didn’t tell him that the agenda is nothing more than my cheat notes!

Most of the truly great athletes, business persons, and world leaders are cheaters! These people begin with a tremendous amount of talent (a blessing from God) then they begin the cheating process. They create an unfair advantage for themselves by working so hard and creating muscle memory and brain automation.

My younger daughter, when she was 10, was the number 1 ranked 10 year old in the state of Louisiana in competitive tennis. She picked it up just because the rest of my family enjoyed tennis. She played from the time she could carry a racquet until she was about 12. She is 14 now and has not played in a couple of years. She and I went to the court last weekend and hit a few balls around. I was amazed at how she played. Although rusty, she was still very good. Why? Muscle memory. She had done it so much in her childhood that keeping her head down on the ball, getting her feet into position, and striking the ball crisply was as natural as walking to her.

This exercise with my daughter triggered my thinking toward mind memory or brain automation. If we think a certain way long enough, it becomes automatic. Have you ever noticed that some people are negative most of the time and some people are positive most of the time? The way they think is automatic…they simply cannot help it.


This brings me back to cheating.

If you are a negative (deficit based) thinker and have reacted that way to information or suggestions for a long period of time, then that thought process may have become entrenched and automatic. But if you want to make a change in this habit you may have to cheat a bit. If you think about thoughts moving through your brain just as water flows in a river bed, the more or longer the same type thoughts flow, the deeper the channel and more difficult for a change in course. But, nature has provided us with a built in “Corps of Engineers”. You can send in the “workers” to dig a new channel, a small tributary, which can begin to divert your thoughts in another direction.

This is where the cheating comes in. When a negative thought occurs, simply call on the “workers” to wipe it out and replace it with a positive thought. After doing this time and time again, a new tributary will be formed. If simply calling on the workers will not work for you, maybe an advance form of cheating could be employed.

Charles Barkley, a celebrated and talented professional basketball player, who was once known as the “Round Mound of Rebound”, was overweight for most of his youth. When he wanted to eat between meals and the “workers” wouldn’t answer the call, he popped his wrist with a rubber band that he wore there. The sting would remind him of his negative thought and then he could more readily replace it with a positive action. After employing this technique over a period of time, he was able to remove the rubber band. The tributary to the thought river was deep enough to navigate!

For some reason, we think, idealistically, that the world should be always fair. Intellectually, however, we know this is not true. So why do we think in any situation, whether it be school, business, family life or war that the circumstances should be fair? General Colin Powell commented when he heard a statement from an esteemed Senator from the great state of New York concerning how the United States had really not accomplished much in defeating Iraq because of the unfairness of the fight. “It absolutely was not fair and I never want it to be!” General Powell indicated he wanted overwhelming superiority in every facet of the battle, in numbers, equipment, training, technology, and enthusiasm, and to add to that, he also wanted to catch the enemy asleep and totally unsuspecting.

Now that it cheating, and it is the way to success!

I don’t know about you but I want the field tipped in my favor every time. And if I have to cheat to do it, I will. Yes, the verb “cheat” as I use it, is a play on words. I hope that your thought rivers run true and your tributaries are easily built. But if they are not, please don’t be afraid to cheat as much and as often as you can.

Cheating can be good.

1 comment:

jodi said...

great essay, you always make me laugh