What if things weren’t so obvious?

Let me share with you a quote from Edward DeBono, a prolific modern day thinker.
It’s Obvious!
“Many of the principles will seem obvious.
It is very difficult to teach things that are obvious because the mind takes them for granted.
Because we can understand something, we often believe that we do in fact practice it.
A lot of research into thinking habits shows that the most obvious and easily understood principles are not used, although everyone would claim to use them.
‘The Happiness Purpose’ – page 242

When I read this I begin thinking about the obvious things that we may miss in our own lives. For example, how many relationships have broken up because someone thought their love and devotion was obvious to their spouse. How many of us have thought our hard work and devotion was obvious to our employer, only to find ourselves right-sized out of the business. How many of us have lost business because we thought it was obvious why people would want to continue to buy from us.
It would seem obvious to many that Microsoft had won the software war, obvious to everyone but Bill Gates. In all these years he has never taken his leadership for granted, he remains clearly focused on industry leadership everyday. I remember, in the summer of 1996 when he told many of us in the company that we should never take our leadership position for granted. While it may seem obvious that we are the leader, we can never assume we will stay there because if we rest, even for a moment, we could just as easily be out of business tomorrow. If you look back in your own personal experience, how many businesses do you know that thought their future success was obvious and are now nowhere to be found? My bet is you know many.
So with this in mind my question to you is, “What are the obvious things in your business or life that just may in fact need your attention?” What are those things that because they are obvious you assume are being done but in reality you may not be doing them at all. Then, ask yourself, how can I test these beliefs and see if in fact they really are true? It wasn’t long ago that the President of a succesful business was telling me how finely tuned their business processes were. In his mind, all of the customer processes were obvious, they were documented and every service rep had been trained on how to apply them. One day I decided to test the process for myself only to find out that in his case (and likely many others) the reality was far different from the anticipated!
Because things are obvious we tend to shut down, we rest on old successes and we get complacent. Now is the time to take action and really ask yourself, “What if things weren’t really that obvious?”
List as many ideas for the following questions … 


  1. That the important people in your life are reminded of how much you appreciate them.
  2. That customer calls/opportunities are returned/followed up in a timely manner.
  3. That your “value add” is recognized and appreciated.
  4. What else do you consider to be obvious?

Then ask yourself how can you test them to find out if they are true?

Just because we know it, doesn’t mean we do it and just because we do it, doesn’t mean its noticed. Take a moment to think about it. Work with others and brainstorm the possibilities.

What are all those things that you think are obvious in your business/life?

The fact that the steps may be simple and obvious should not obscure either the difficulty of using them or the value of using them.”

Curt Skene is an inspiring Canadian professional business keynote speaker, sales trainer, and certified hypnotist who specializes in helping companies and associations look at their business, their relationship with their customers and their future opportunities in a powerful and positive light. Curt offers over 75 rapid-fire insights based on over 20 years of award-winning business experience (Microsoft, ExecuTrain and BrainBuzz) and combines his experience with the kowledge he has gained as a certified hypnosis/NLP practitioner.  Find out how easy and affordable it is to hire Curt Skene by going to his website at


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