Interview with Nick Tasler
Entrepreneur, Organizational Psychologist and Best Selling Author Nick Tasler was gracious enough to answer a series of questionsabout his new book, Ricochet: What To Do When Change Happens.
I recently had a chance to get the inside scoop with best-selling author Nick Tasler and get a few questions answered.
Ricochet is an interesting title. What’s the book about?
Ricochet is really about unraveling the mystery of why some people are inspired by unexpected change, when other people are enslaved by it.
Research shows that when people get smacked with a ricochet event—a reshuffle at work, a big move, a car accident, a divorce, a natural disaster, a car accident—a remarkably consistent 33% of people don’t just bounce back, they actually tap into largely unused creativity that they didn’t even know they had. They devise game-changing innovations at work, they create magnificent pieces of art or music, they redefine their relationships with their kids or spouse or their friends. I bet you can think of tons of examples of this happening with your friends and family.
But the coolest thing I discovered is that everyone is wired to adapt—not just this special 1/3 of people. Some of us just need a little help untangling their wires.
It’s a fascinating question. What inspired you to take on the task of answering that question now?
On one level, answering questions like this is how I pay my bills. By trade, I’m an organizational psychologist who gets paid by people like Microsoft and General Electric and Novo Nordisk to go all over the world speaking to people about dealing with change. So I’m watching this phenomenon play out every day in every organization, and I just became totally nuthouse-crazy obsessed with explaining why some people respond so differently to change than others.
It’s also personal. I come from a family of pathological nomads. Before I was 26 I had lived in two dozen homes in 15 different cities. Adapting to change has kind of become second nature to me. But then 10 years ago, a funny thing happened–I fell in love with and got married to a wife whose was born and raised in the exact same house her parents still live in to this very day. Then four even funnier things happened—we had four kids. And I think it was when we made the transition to parents that I really came face to face with that juxtaposition of her background compared to mine—and occasionally doing battle over how exactly we should raise our kids to become adaptable and resilient people.
That’s what really fired up my interest in this. So unlike my past books, this one has a much more even blend of personal stories and professional advice.
There is so much change happening right now in politics and business, it seems like the perfect time for a topic like this, isn’t it?
No doubt about it. Think about this: 24% Americans move cities every 5 years. One out of two marriages end up in divorce. People switch jobs every 3 years—forced or unforced. If you’re a manager you might squeeze 5 years out of a job. But that still adds up to 10+ job changes during your career. Which is to say nothing of kids being born, parents aging and getting sick, car accidents, cancer diagnoses…and of course—highly unexpected election results.
Point is – change is constant. And do you know what most people’s #1 strategy is for dealing with change? Prevent it. Do enough planning, make enough money, buy enough insurance, eat enough healthy foods, that we’ll always be able to stay one step ahead of change. I fully understand the intentions. We’re just trying to be responsible.
But hat we all find out is that you can’t prevent change. No matter how hard how fast we run, change will find us. Fortunes will rise and fall. People will live and people will die. Politicians will get elected and new ones will take their place. So instead of trying to hide from it behind walls of false security, why not spend that energy learning how to get good at it?
That’s so true. In your book, you offer a lot of simply ways to become more adaptive in the face of unexpected and unwanted change. What is one great takeaway?
Here’s probably my favorite: fake until you make it. Ask yourself “how would a highly adaptive person act?” There is a ton of psychological research explaining why this works. But the gist of it is that the human brain is exceptionally good at mimicking other people (think: mirror neurons, conformity, etc.), and by mimicking adaptive people with our behaviors, we send a message to our brain that starts generating adaptive thoughts and emotions. After a little while, the conscious mimicry becomes unconscious habit in a self-reinforcing loop—our actions trigger adaptive thoughts which trigger adaptive emotions which trigger more adaptive behaviors and so on. So one of the main things I tried to do in the book was to paint a clear picture of what exactly adaptive people do, so that acting like an adaptive person is easier.
I want the Thank Nick Tasler for taking the time to answer these questions for us. Please make sure you check out his book Ricochet.
Best Selling Author