Top of Mind Thursday – January 5, 2023: The Definition of Insanity

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As of this morning, the US House of Representatives has voted seven times to elect a Speaker for the new term. . . without any candidate getting the majority vote required to win.

Kevin McCarthy has clearly been the top candidate for this position since the Republicans regained control of the House in last November’s elections. Yet, he can’t come to terms with members of his own party who have publicly said they would not support his candidacy and have chosen to vote for a different candidate instead.

This is the first time in a century this has happened. It’s not clear how it will be resolved, because all parties appear to be firm in their positions: McCarthy won’t step away, the dissident Republicans won’t vote for him, and neither will the Democrats. Meanwhile, Congress is on hold till this is resolved.

Albert Einstein famously said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing time and time again and expecting different results.

While this may be a very public extreme example, in reality, we all face this problem in our day-to-day lives. Have you ever had a medical problem that wasn’t easily diagnosed, and required visits to multiple doctors–all of whom start by repeating the same diagnostic tests, again and again? How many times have you called customer support and been asked the same standard questions, time and time again, even though that didn’t resolve the issue?

This is the time of year when many people make resolutions about eating better, exercising more, or giving up harmful habits, like smoking. Yet, they take the same steps each January that didn’t work the previous year…and are frustrated to find themselves no better this year than last.

To move forward, you have to let go of what’s keeping you stuck. In many cases, it’s a belief that this should be the answer and therefore we’re going to try it again and again and again.

What tried-and-true and unsuccessful activities are you bringing forward into the new year? Time to jettison them. Anything else is just insane.


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