Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fauxcrastination

You've all heard the phrase "tilting at windmills". It refers to the tale of Don Quixote, a fictional knight that -- among other things -- confused ordinary windmills for ferocious giants. The resulting "battle" with such a creature is rather one-sided and of little consequence to the windmill. When we say someone is tilting at windmills, we mean to say that they are wasting their time on a pointless battle that can't be won.

In reality, most of us wouldn't go charging into battle against a ferocious giant armed with nothing but a sword and trusty steed. Most of us would seek to avoid drawing the beast's attention. That's a much safer path than drawing the ire of the beast. Nor would we fight against a windmill. What would be the point, right? Slam on the shingles all day with your sharp iron stick, and that sucker isn't going to budge.

But what if that perception isn't reality? What if the windmill you see isn't real? What if that seemingly insurmountable challenge is a trick of your imagination?

This happens in business all the time. It's happening in my business today more than I care to think. Hence this blog post. I need a term to describe these people who see obstacles where none are. For those who assume that the effort to fix what is obviously broken is greater than the reward... when a much simpler solution exists.

Enter my friend Encaffeinated ONE. He proffered this gem:

fauxcrastination: \ˈfō-ˈkras-tə-ˈnā-shən\ noun
: putting up false roadblocks
: imagining challenges where none exist*

I love it. Now where did I put that sword... and my horse!

* - Late addition courtesy of Matt Selznick

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