A lesson in mindset from a classic cartoon.
I’m obsessed with coyotes.
Well … at least you’d think I am based on my latest presentations. Generative AI has allowed me to go NEXT LEVEL with my coyote imagery. For example, here’s a coyote riding a bicycle while wearing a steampunk top hat …
Here’s what Frankenstein’s monster would look like if it was a coyote …
Here’s a coyote dressed like a plumber …
Why am I so into coyotes?
Well, I’m not obsessed with EVERY coyote. It’s just one particular coyote. This coyote …
I believe we can learn an important lesson about mindset from Wile E. Coyote and his never-ending pursuit of the roadrunner.
You know how the story goes. The roadrunner is too fast for the coyote to catch. So he comes up with a plan. He buys the latest ACME gadgets. He spends hours poring over schematics and diagrams.
But no matter how clever his plan may be, every cartoon ends the same way: with the coyote at the bottom of a cliff with an anvil on his head.
Have you ever felt like the coyote at the end of the episode? You had a great plan. You had the latest technology. Everything was in place. Everyone was bought in. But then … something happened. Priorities changed. The economy shifted. New regulation dropped. And now you’re back to square one … just like the coyote.
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Where did the coyote go wrong? What could he have done differently to prevent his seemingly inevitable failure? And what can we learn from his odyssey?
First, the coyote should have taken a step back to reconsider his objective. Catching the roadrunner was never the goal. The coyote was hungry. Instead of considering every possible way to find a sustainable food source, he become obsessed with the roadrunner. This became his single point of failure.
How often do you become so focused on the process that you lose sight of your real objective? What problem are you really trying to solve? How many other ways could you solve this problem if you shifted your mindset and considered alternative methods?
Once he clarified his goal, the coyote should have then considered other ways to reach his desired outcome. He’s clearly a smart dude. Coyotes have keen senses of smell, sight and hearing. They’ll eat almost anything. How can he get food without catching the roadrunner?
In my opinion, the coyote should have become a professional painter. WHAT?!?!
One of the coyote’s favorite tactics was painting fake tunnels on the sides of mountains. The idea was to trick the roadrunner into running into the wall, knocking it unconscious and allowing for easy capture.
But what always happened instead? The roadrunner runs straight through the tunnel. Perplexed, the coyote steps into the road, only to be run over by a truck coming the other way through the tunnel.
THE COYOTE CAN PAINT TUNNELS THAT TURN INTO REAL TUNNELS!!!
He should have leaned into this skill, sold his services to the government for a huge contract and bought whatever food he wanted.
I know. I know. It’s a silly observation. But it totally makes sense in the animated world. And now you’ll never watch a Wile E. Coyote cartoon the same way again!
What’s your version of tunnel painting? How could you apply your unique capabilities to solve familiar problems in new ways?
That’s the lesson I believe we should all take from the coyote …
Never stop reassessing your goal.
Focus on the problem, not the process.
Stay open-minded to new methods.
Recognize technology will not solve the problem for you.
Explore new ways to apply your unique skills.
Until next week, be well. JD