I like this short [6 minute] interview with Malcolm Gladwell on, “Why obstacles can improve results” as a ‘food for thought’ strength-based piece.

Gladwell describes the notion of ‘undesirable difficulties’ being flipped and exploited in a way that actually brings about benefit and advantage that might not be initially obvious in his theory of ‘desirable difficulty’. Using the example of successful entrepreneurs with dyslexia, this is a thought provoking piece that got me wondering about my own ‘undesirable difficulties’ [internal] or those that I encounter in my work and organisation [external].

“You wouldn’t wish dyslexia on your child. Or would you?”  [Malcolm Gladwell]

I think this is an interesting discussion for change activists who often recount the feeling or experience of ‘misfitting’ or ‘being different’ to the others around them. I wonder if it is this degree of separation that enables successful change activists, or entrepreneurs, to carve out their niche or individual offering? Of course, a significant psychological shift must take place before we are in a position to accept ‘undesirable difficulties’ let alone celebrate them.

What do you see as your ‘undesirable difficulties’ as a change activist?

How could you flip your ‘undesirable difficulties’ into your ‘desirable difficulties’?

I’d recommend that if you haven’t already, you read Jackie Lynton’s Editorial in this third issue of The Edge about thought diversity, which fits very neatly with this topic and expands on the concept of divergence in innovation and change.