Project Practitioners > Blow Your Mind

Blow Your Mind

By Chris Cook, PMP

READ TIME: 5 minutes


When you first start, be it personal or professional, the simplest ideas blow your mind. You first see an armbar that transitions to a triangle choke, and it is like magic. How did that happen? How do you set that up? How do you finish?

Every little detail is a mystery waiting to blow your mind. Reverse de la Riva and Worm Guard are like fantasy lands. Getting into the position is a tangled web, let alone using it to take the back. Most of you reading this have probably scrolled ahead because none of this makes sense.

The same goes for project management. The first time you see how something is made or how a project is estimated blows your mind. You start to have light bulb moments throughout that pique your interest. You learn a new process or technical skill.

You find a mentor who shows you little details that change your management style. You start to observe human interactions that shape and hone your profession. You used to attack, attack, attack thinking people want a strong leader, when in reality, it shows your insecurity and weaknesses.

How can you continue to blow your mind?



Be proactive in learning new applications. People will claim they are plateauing meaning the work or activity has become stale. Implement a new strategy for yourself.

In jiu jitsu, you are bored because you are only thinking about one path to start. Instead of starting on top, play guard and attempt to get sweeps. Suddenly, the challenges become different, and the puzzles get exciting again.

Project management gets mundane as well. The same job site, crew, organization, owners, and so on. The same problems, issues, solutions, and so on. It becomes formulaic. If X, then Y. When A, choose B. if you stay in that lane, of course, projects become boring.

However, seek out different aspects of the project to mix it up. Rather than sitting in the field office all day, put the vest and hard hat on and take a walk around the project. See what crews are struggling with instead of hearing about it.



You can learn the greatest armbar in history, but without ever attempting it or putting it into practice, that knowledge is lost. You must take what you are learning and apply it. Seeing how it works for you makes it exciting. Not all are created equal.

One setup in jiu jitsu does not work the same for everyone. The principles in place need to remain, but how you get there can be different. Some people are stronger than others and therefore can get away with more. Others have to be super technical for any move to work.

Again, project management has principles that must remain. Scope, budget, and schedule get hammered home at every turn. How you manage the triple constraint varies wildly. Each has their techniques and ways to go about progressing a project.

The key becomes to apply that knowledge. Seeking is great, but fails when it remains abstract. You must make it tangible. See how the new spreadsheet helps with workflow and tracking. Anyone can download a fancy spreadsheet. Not many take it and apply it to their project.



Become a forever student. There is always something to learn. A different way of gripping. A different setup that allows you to escape your hips easier. A different software that is cheaper and performs the same task.

Seek, apply, fail, learn, and repeat. Find something that sticks. Maybe your game is not to invert and attack legs. Maybe you play half guard and sweep from the bottom. If neither of those work, maybe you get the takedown and play on top. You are seeking and applying all of the techniques you are learning. Failing is learning.

Project management is not a one size fits all approach. You dabble. You pick and choose what fits and select the best approach for the organization. Some organizations are more agile than others. Smaller organizations have different needs than large corporations.

This cycle never ends. It can always be tweaked or tinkered with over time. No best practice is the best for life.




Seeking knowledge involves asking questions making the individual vulnerable. That vulnerability is where the strength lies. Too many high school and college wrestlers enter jiu jitsu with the mindset of takedowns and playing on top. The second they get on their back, it is like a fish out of water because they never explored that vulnerability.

They continued to play to their strengths making their weaknesses even weaker. Their game is a high high and low low. That balance does not exist because they stopped seeking, stopped applying, and never repeated as a student. That approach can only work for so long.

Adaptation is important for blowing your mind. You should be able to look back a year or two and not recognize the person you were. Your approach to management should be promoted similar to your belt in jiu jitsu. If you are still a one stripe white belt after a year of showing up day in and day out, that is a problem.

This three-step process of seek, apply, and repeat will help you blow your mind. You do not need to rely on magic tricks and motivational videos. You will have the inner control to take over and produce those light bulb moments.

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