x helmet Jam: Helmet Solution

Question: So when do you think people will start wearing helmets?

Answer: Oh, very soon I'm sure; right after they watch the Helmet Solution movie.

Question: I look cool in a helmet, huh?

Answer: Uh..., yea.  You can bet people will start wearing a helmet about the same time they clamor for your other Positive Deviance solutions.

Question: And when will that be...?

Answer: When it's dire.

Question: It is dire…it is obvious that wearing a helmet when you drive could save your and your loved ones’ life.  People know that football players wear helmets, bull riders do, and skiers are starting to.  It is such an obvious and easy thing to do. You put it on your head, right after you buckle your seat belt. Nothing could be easier....

Answer: One thing is easier: not wearing a helmet is easier than wearing one.

Question: Ok.  but wearing a helmet is pretty easy, you have to admit.

Answer: Yep. But it is not the lowest hanging fruit, is it. In this life, you and I and everyone generally follow the path of least resistance. This powerful principle of choice implies that if there is two pieces of fruit hanging low on the tree, we will usually go for the one that is easiest to grab (the lowest), unless there is a compelling reason to grab the fruit that is just a little higher.

Question: But why not grab a helmet fruit, it's pretty close?.

Answer: Because the helmet is dork fruit.  Today you would look like a dork if you wear a helmet in your car.

Question: Fair enough.  But I think car helmets will come around.  Skiers looked like dorks 5 or 10 years ago if they wore a helmet. Now it is cutting edge...just a logical progression.

Answer: Right. Simply put, if you wear a helmet now when you drive your car you are an early adopter of a logical technological advance; but you’ll look like a dork.

Question: Do you remember our dad was an early adopter of seat belts?

Answer: Yes, he installed them into our car (I think he ordered them from a Montgomery Ward catalog) back in the early 1970's. We were safer than other kids, but dorkier too.

Question: A 100 years ago a doctor that washed his hands as much as doctors do now would have faced the weirdo/dork label, right?

Answer: Exactly. So, the big thing that keeps the helmet off people's heads is not some clear logic and weighty rationale, it's simply that they want to fit in.

Question: Wanting to fit in is a pretty powerful force.

Answer: No doubt.

Question: So like the helmet, the other solutions I offer the world are often quite easy to do (write a one-page book, live-in-your-summer-home-year-round)… in principle they are very low-hanging fruit, but they are effectively out of reach of many people because they are unconventional and would stop people from fitting in.

Answer: Yes and no.  People do want to fit in.  But even if you offer people very conventional solutions, ones that will undoubtedly make them safer, healthier, happier, more popular and so forth, they still won't do them unless they sense it is dire for them to do so. 

Question: If it is not dire it's dead?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Come on....aren't you being a little pessimistic? I think people want to better their lives. And I think people are truly interested in ways to better their lives. Don't you think so?

Answer: Heck, in a few minutes they could come up with their own kind of helmet solutions---things to make car travel even safer (like body armor, 5-point harnesses). But they won't do those, or any new thing, unless they think it is dire to do so.

Question: Right.  But that doesn't mean they are not interested in learning about new ideas. In fact, I think a lot of people are fascinated by the solutions I offer, like the Helmet Solution. The same is true for all the other promising solutions, both conventional and unconventional solutions that people are gently offered or strongly bombarded with, be it weight-loss, finance, relationship, life-transformation, religious, so on.  But let's not confuse curiosity, commitment and constancy.  Right?

Answer: I see where you're going. Just because people are curious about solutions----even if the solution is logical, and even if it offers results they value, even if the solution is beautiful and elegant, unless the solution is dire for them their unlikely to do it. Right?

Question: Right. They may look admiringly at a helmet, they may even buy a helmet and put it in their car. They may talk about wearing a helmet, think about wearing a helmet, even try it on and wear it a time or two. But until it is dire (and less dorky), they won't be wearing it like they wear their seatbelt (let alone insist others in their car wear one).  Right?

Answer: Yes.  And it is interesting to note that there are lots of reasons people give for not wearing a helmet when they drive, just like there are lots of reasons people have for not doing other solutions that can better their lives. But one reason stands supreme.

Question: What's that?

Answer: They are already doing enough. They are sufficient.

Question: That's the big reason?

Answer: It is the main reason that explains why people don't do better solutions. If dire energy is matter, sufficiency is anti-matter. If direness gets people to do most anything (including wearing a car helmet), having a sense of sufficiency allows them to resist almost anything (including wearing a car helmet), no matter what other logic, truths and conditions are brought to bear.

Question: Because people believe they are safe enough, they won't seriously consider wearing a car helmet.

Answer: Right. They are already buckling up. It's enough. Behold the AWESOME power of enough: I'm safe enough, healthy enough, smart enough, happy enough, kind enough, my food's tasty enough.  Right?

Question: Right.  You know, when I ask people why they don't plan on wearing a car helmet they give different reasons, but I realize that, really, once you decide you don't want to wear a helmet, any reason will do. After sharing the Helmet Solution with people I've asked them why they are not going to wear a car helmet. Common responses are "it would mess up my hair, it's not comfortable, it's weird, my kids would never wear one." Interestingly none of them ever say, the Helmet Solution is bunk--it won't work.

Answer: Right, the reason doesn't matter, it's their desire that does.

construction area..... Reader: The script above and below reflects many different conversations Answer and I have had about The Helmet Solution and other related solutions. Here forward I am in the process of editing some of these conversations and ideas. It's pretty messy, but if feel free to browse through the scattered, half-baked ideas. I will be cleaning this all up pretty soon.

Answer: Of course. They know it would work, just like all the other solutions that I (and a million other sages) offer them. But again, that doesn't matter.....

>>Dire energy is generated in many ways....belonging (eveyone is doing it, good parents...etc.). Power (the police will arrest you...you will be fined money)...

>>So what makes a solution dire? When will people find it dire to wear a helmet?

Answer: Generally, solutions become dire when society (as a collective decides).

Question: People will start wearing helmets when the police start giving fines for not wearing helmets. Answer: Right. ..........

Question: So even if people are faced with the cold hard fact that it can make them safer, they still won't wear a helmet? Well, if they won't do it for logic will they do it for love?

 Answer: What do you mean?

Question: For the love of their family. Once they my Helmet Solution movie I'd expect they would soon be saying, to loved ones, "OK, is everybody buckled and helmeted up."

Answer: You'd think so wouldn't you. But your wrong. Love doesn't make helmet wearing dire.

Question: No, it's not about the lack of love. My Art leads me to specialize in unconventional solutions, instead of conventional solutions. You might ask, "But Greg, given that your solutions are so...uh, unconventional...aren't you afraid your spending your time coming up with and sharing solutions most people will have very little interest in actually doing---even if your solution are better in some certain respects?" I would answer, "There are many great solution out there in the marketplace of things and ideas. I believe it really doesn't matter if you offer people conventional or unconventional solutions, each one will be like the Helmet Solution to them. They will wear a helmet when they want to bad enough. There are many, many "better" solutions offered up to us in society and in the groups to which we belong---solutions that would undeniably make us safer, healthier, happier, more spiritual and wonderful than we currently are. But just because something is true doesn't mean we will do it.

Consider this. Even if My Art led me to create and offer conventional solutions instead of unconventional solutions, people would still not be much more likely to adopt my solutions. For example, suppose I started specializing in traditional, well-accepted solutions, like the ones Stephen Covey offers in 7 Habits For Highly Effective People offers (or any of the other conventional solutions offered by popular life-management professionals) do you think I would we improve by much the rate at people do (implement) my solutions? How many people, out of 100, actually fully implement with high consistency and fidelity the conventional solutions being offered them? I would guess that 98% would be just about as likely to wear a helmet when they drive.

Helmet solutions are easy to come up with, and ubiquitous in our society. (The hard thing to do, of course, is creating enough dire energy in our life to put the helmet on.) Think about. Suppose everyone in our society started wearing helmets. Can you come up with a/the next logical thing everyone could do to increase safety in the event of a car crash? Of course you can! What else do football players wear besides helmets? (padding, body-armor) Or, think about race car drivers, what else keeps them safe in the event of an accident? (e.g. 5 point harness) And so on you could go (oh the many helmet solutions you could come up with). Likewise, suppose I wanted your help in losing some weight. Can you give me a helmet solution? That's right, I could get up at 5:45 a.m. (instead of 6 a.m.) and walk 4 miles (instead of 3)! Wow, you are genius! Just like those guys on TV, or your wise aunt, or the preacher at church, or the DVD's lessons touting the latest flavor of life-transformation and finance strategies, or your teachers at school, and so forth; everyone has helmet solutions for you...and they can and wil keep coming up with more every day. Seatbelt and airbags is sufficient; good enough.

If DIRE energy is one of the most important energies for making changes in ones life, SUFFICIENCY is one of the most important energies for keeping things the way they are. The reason people will not wear a helmet each time they get in a car is because they have a sense of sufficiency, "I think I'm safe enough, just wearing my seatbelt." Their grandparents didn't wear seat-belts as children. Was that because people didn't know back then that wearing seat-belts could improve your safety? Of course not. They knew, it's just that back then wearing seat-belts was not DIRE (except for the early adopters, like my father Alan Muller, who installed seat-belts in his car before car companies were required to install them in every new car).

My suggestion is this: enjoy the Helmet Solutions that come your way, engage with them, contemplate them, have fun.  But when you want to change your life start with the low-hanging fruit…by focusing on minor tweaks to what you are already doing.  For example, most everyone would already know how to keep themselves safer than they do in the car wearing seat belts more constantly (putting them on before pulling out), making sure that seatbelts are worn correctly, making sure that young children  ride in the back seat…and so forth….we should probably do these things consistently before we move on to the next best thing (like wearing a helmet).  In short, I think that in every area of life we should take what we are already doing and simply do it better.  That should be our first step towards life transformations.  

An observation about human behavior:  Helmet-like solutions (even those we won't do) energize us, just contemplating them. We find them entertaining (I just saw the next big thing), funny (this weirdo was wearing a helmet) and they give us hope (I think someday I am going to do that, or my grandkids will). I maintain that most solutions being offered to us by outside sources (TV, books, magazines) are helmet solutions (most of them you won't do, at least not very much)....they are a kind of  ART...they are mind food, mind candy.

How often do we do better and best solutions? Not very often. How much interest do we have in better and best solutions? Sometimes quite a bit. Why? To generate hope (baby!). To entertain ourselves and others.

OTHER NOTES (which I may incorporate into the jam session above): Each time I someone offers me a tip, a suggestion, some new better way to live my life, I think to myself, "they are offering you a helmet...do you want to wear it right now?  You know you don't have to."  The Helmet reminds me that when people offer us tips, suggestions and solutions that are easy, true, beautiful, and logically better than what we are currently doing, we have the God-given right (one we exercise often) to say "No" or "Not Right Now" to even the best ideas, without shame.  The Helmet reminds me to honor this freedom and the stark fact that we will not DO it ("wear the helmet") unless we think it is DIRE for us to do so (we really love the particular solution, or we fear that we can't do without it).  I have asked many people, "why don't you wear a helmet when you drive?" Their responses reveal the stunning weakness of logic and strong reasoning in the face of human desire.  "No, I don't think so, I would mess up my hair."  Such response reminds me of the ancient wisdom, "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small [things] in many instances doth confound the wise."  People's responses to the Helmet Solution has led me to celebrate and relish and not bemoan the power each of us have to deviate from seemingly inescapable logic and persuasions others---be they gurus, professors of one sort or another or the marketplace---would impose on us.  I am pleased that you and I don't have to conjure up sophisticated justifications to trump even the most weighty logic.  The fact is, in the case of the Helmet Solution, though I I've brought clear sound logic to bare, I haven't persuaded a single person to wear a car helmet consistently, including myself.  Isn't it wonderful!