S:1094 Principle: Expansionists and Reductionists

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.)


In a recent interesting article on telescopes and astronomy there emerged a coaching point which is universal. It concerns the different viewpoints of astronomers and physicists.

Astronomers are primarily interested in looking for ever larger phenomena. They try to wrap their heads around the known (and still unknown) Universe. Its age, makeup, and direction, for instance. This is the realm of an expansionist. Bigger is better. More, more, more.

A physicist, on the other hand, strives to see within complexity to discover essential principles. Physicists operate with the driving motive of a reductionist.

Which is better? Both.

I’ve found that people living highly successful lives have, either naturally or as an acquired skill, the ability to shift between the two.

At times they squint their eyes, soften their focus, and open to a broad view of their world. They take in, but don’t get distracted by, huge amounts of data and detail while being able to see the bigger picture which that information shows them. They are being expansionists.

Then when appropriate they discern the essentials, such as emerging trends, which allow them to take early action with clarity. Here they are reductionists.

Many of them are unconscious to this process of shifting back and forth. They do it as easily and effortlessly as breathing in and breathing out. Fortunately, this is a skill anyone can learn.


Coaching Point: Do you already have the ability to be both an expansionist and a reductionist, when each is best?


Copyright 2016 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.