The Great Avoidance

We’re getting a lot of messages these days that promote avoidance. We need to avoid contact, avoid risky behaviours, avoid touching our faces, and so on.

The overriding instruction is clear: you need to retreat.

The problem though is avoidance can become contagious, spreading from the useful towards the counter-productive.

The dilemma for us as professionals is that we can’t afford to be on the back foot. Our important work (that high-value work that requires courage, and for us to be all in) won’t get done if we let the habit of avoidance take hold.

As Mark Freeman has written, “Trying to avoid difficult things makes difficult things more difficult”. Might sound convoluted, even paradoxical, but it’s true.

So, it’s in our interest to develop our skill at discerning the usefully avoidable from the kind of avoidance that will slow us down in the short term, and over time greatly diminish our capability.

Developing that skill starts with raising our awareness of what we might be avoiding. It’s highly likely you’re now thinking about what you’ve been hiding from, just because of reading these words. Make that realisation a habit.

We need a safer version of you, not a lesser one.


This post was adapted from one of Aodan’s Sunday morning newsletters, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of readers. Give yourself the gift of that weekly wisdom by signing up here.

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