What can George Clooney teach us about business

In the movie Up in the Air (I highly recommend it), in addition to his day job, George Clooney’s character is a motivational speaker that often gives a talk called, “What’s In Your Backpack?” He talks about how each of us is carrying around a metaphorical backpack that contains all of our possessions and commitments. With time, our backpacks get heavier and heavier until they are so filled with “stuff” that it is nearly impossible to move.

While visiting Seth Godin’s blog recently, I came across a very similar story (apparently written back in 1999). It’s titled Lightweight living. Why am I sharing this with you? Because the point of these two stories is this: In life and business, you often react on the basis of habit. And why do you do that? You are not obliged to react on the basis of habit. The answer is not complicated: Because you are married to certain ideas. And it is often hard to appreciate that many of them make a very little or no sense. (I talk about this in detail in my workshop How to Divorce an Idea.) And you are not alone, which is part of the problem. Not sure? Didn’t people used to think that the Earth was Flat? (There are some that still do: The Flat Earth Society.) The good news is: You can divorce an idea. How? For now, as a legendary long-distance hiker trail-name Wolf said, ““All you need to know is that it’s possible.”