ACTOR ALAN ALDA wrote about a dog he had when he was eight years old. In his book, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, he describes how he was so upset about burying his dog that his Dad suggested that they have it stuffed. In a Newsweek interview, he said:
It turned out to be a really terrible idea because the dog came back from the taxidermist with a hideous expression on its face that frightened everybody. After a while, I started to think of that as an image of something that went a lot deeper than the dead dog, which is you can’t bring back anything to life.
It’s really clear to me that you can’t hang onto something longer than its time. Ideas lose certain freshness, ideas have a shelf life, and sometimes they have to be replaced by other ideas. Hanging onto things the way you wish they were, I’ve come to see isn’t a good idea.”
Alda continued that there are a lot of ways we stuff the dog, trying to avoid change or hanging on to a moment that’s passed.
We all of course, like to hang on to the familiar. What things are you hanging on to that once abandoned would allow you to move to the next level? Joseph Schumpeter (1942) coined the phrase “creative destruction” to describe the process by which people and organizations determine what they should stop doing.
So much of building a good life or organization is a process of elimination. A process where we replace the outdated with the new more productive behaviors or products. Start by creating a not-to-do list.
Have you stuffed the dog lately?