Do you remember when you first discovered the stories of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?
“Alice in Wonderland”,
“Through the Looking Glass”,
“What Alice Found There”.
I do. We were living in Germany and I was 10 years old. I received my first copy of the book “Alice in Wonderland” as a Christmas gift. I remember it was freezing cold, too cold even for us kids to play outside. So cosying up and getting lost in a book – an intriguing book – was perfect.
What did you feel when you first read the book, or watched the film?
I was fascinated. The tales of a little girl’s adventures in Wonderland were heroic and wild. Who can forget creatures with names like the Mock Turtle, the Gryphon, the Cheshire Cat; all scarily-funny and memorable.
I didn’t realise how memorable it was until I had to choose a name for my blog. “The HR Rabbit Hole” popped in my mind. Nonsense. But somehow it made perfect sense.
The words of the eccentric Queen of Hearts provided the perfect inspiration for my blog post on how to build your creativity muscle.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. In honour of this landmark event, I blew the dust off my old book and started to read this fantastical tale again. Now in the interests of full disclosure; a few decades have passed since I first read “Alice”. I am still enchanted; but with fresh and older eyes, I see some valuable nuggets of wisdom that can help improve how we make some life and business decisions.
Let’s pull sense from nonsense for a fresh take on the usual. Here are my top picks of curiously relevant useful titbits from the story. Follow me down the rabbit hole…
1. The Queen of Hearts: She is one of the scariest characters in Wonderland with a terrifying temper, constantly threatening to execute her subjects. “Off with their heads!” She never carries out her threat; but uses it as a way to keep her subjects in a state of fearful compliance. In the game of croquet with live flamingos for mallets and live hedgehogs for balls, she makes up her own rules and changes the game to suit her whim. Her leadership style is that of a powerful, mean and unpredictable ruler who needs to win every time. This character, male OR female, wields power using position and prestige. Perhaps you know a character like this.
A Follow-Worthy Leader? YES/NO?
2. Alice: “She generally gave herself very good advice (though she seldom followed it)”. The answer to knowing the right thing to do often lies within us. Stop. Listen to and act on that nagging feeling or gut instinct. Sometimes you need to follow yourself.
3. The Duchess with the baby: “If everybody minded their own business; the world would go round a deal faster than it does.” If you value your business; you need to pay close attention, minding it and tending to it daily. If you don’t, who will?
4. The Hatter’s wisdom: “I don’t think…” “Then you shouldn’t talk,” said the Hatter. To avoid communication crashes, decide to first put your brain in gear before your mouth goes into motion.
5. Alice and the Cheshire Cat exchange words:
Alice. “Would you tell me please, which way I ought to walk from here?”
“That depends a good deal where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where-” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk,” said the Cat.
“- so long as I get somewhere, added Alice…
“Oh you are sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
What’s your destination or goal? How will you get there? Whether your goal is to customise your service offering, change your career or start a new (ad)venture; it is critical to have a plan or road map to achieve those goals. The plan can be flexible or linear; as bold or as subtle as you like; but it must be YOUR plan. Own it! Without a plan, you will end up on a road to Nowheresville and your goal(s) always out of reach. Decide how long is long enough to walk to achieve your goal.
Do you have any more great tips from Alice in Wonderland?