In present day business, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I’m not sure who the sicko was that coined the phrase, but I get the gist of it; not everyone needs/uses the same techniques to accomplish the same goal. Being a person who marches (and sometimes skips) to the beat of her own drummer, I totally get that concept. Not only do I want to do it my way, I want the flexibility to change my way if my way isn’t working the way I think it should be.
What’s interesting about the saying regarding our poor little feline friend is that like everything it has more than one interpretation:
- there are more ways than one to achieving the desired result,
- there are many ways to skin a catFISH, which was shortened to “cat,”
- performing a type of gymnastic exercise, involving passing the feet and legs between the arms while hanging by the hands from a horizontal bar (ouch) and
- actually skinning and turning a hide in-side-out to dry out well, a cat skin
The point is that there are rarely only two options to solving any one thing and even more interpretations. But many times I see people limiting their own potential by presenting only two choices such as, it’s either this…or it’s that! And I say now is always the right time to introduce “the other” and then again “another” as far as options are concerned.
Limiting your options, for obvious reasons, limit your results. So often you hear the term “think out of the box,” but that saying has gotten so over used that people have begun to think that their one or two options are really out of the box thinking. In reality, having only two options can be terribly limiting. What is truly an out of box experience is more like moving outside of a comfort zone, taking a few chances, maybe even moving beyond what most people might attempt.
Albert Einstein summed it up best when he said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Chances are, when you’ve deduced the solution down to only two choices, you’ve used the same “head” that got you into the mess in the first place. I’m gonna say that me and old Albert had some things in common…and at this particular moment it might only be our heads…rather our hair; I got caught in the rain tonight and it’s a bit on the Einstein side right now. Anyway, besides our wild hair, I have a wild hair about problem-solving. It’s more aligned with the whole skinning the cat thing and turning things inside-out and backwards.
If you begin your problem-solving process from the desired result and work backwards, you’re more likely to uncover perspectives that you wouldn’t have seen using typical methods. It is similar to an old trick in radio we used to use called back-timing where you would program your music and segments from the top of the hour backwards so you hit the :00 of each hour with perfect timing! That’s also my wild hair approach to problem-resolution. It’s not about knowing what exactly the desired outcome is, but more like knowing what you want it to look and feel like then moving back from there. It’s not the theory of relatively, but it is all relative. Every problem has many solutions that will result with varying outcomes, and one thing we know for sure is that there is more than one way to skin a cat…or a fish…or a gymnastic move…or a problem!