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Are you in thrall to a Japanese pedometer?
Are you in thrall to a Japanese pedometer?

We know we should walk 10,000 steps a day. But where does that figure come from? Presumably from a large health study by a respected institution? Actually, it was from a Japanese pedometer manufacturer, who named it Manpo-kei –it means “10,000 step meter” in Japanese.

They chose 10,000 because the Japanese character for 10,000 looks like a man walking.

Not so scientific. In fact, studies show that the benefits from walking taper off quickly after around 7,500 steps.

For good reason, we don’t closely examine everything we ‘know’.

Who has the time? But the corollary of that is that we can go around believing things, and acting on them, for years or even decades, without stopping to question them.

And we can do that in our professional lives too.

A thought experiment.

Think about one small thing, and one huge thing and think about whether the reasons you do either of them stand up to close examination. The small thing could be the way you take your coffee. The big thing could be the mission of your charity.

What would happen if you didn’t have a past of legacy thinking, if you didn’t have colleagues, or a boss, or trustees, and if you approached how you think completely freshly?

What might you change?

Experiment with it. Change one manageable bit, and see.

A crisis is a fantastic opportunity to re-think. The same old, same old suddenly becomes unviable, so you’re forced to think afresh. This is a good thing. Embrace it.


Michael Isaacs

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