Some people call it the "demon," some call it the "inner brat".... I called it the "fuckwad."
I call it "Warren". I've got a picture of him > http://cogquit.com/Warren.jpg
and I've even got a story about him entitled The Parable of Warren
The Parable of Warren
Warren was the widget weigher for Whichway Widget Works Ltd. He’d been the widget weigher since the company began many years ago. Warren cheerfully sat on his stool near the end of the widget assembly line where he’d weigh each widget and, depending on a widget’s weight, he’d decide where it would go, this way or that. When it came to weighing widgets, Warren was a wonder. In fact, Warren was so good that he could often tell a widget’s weight at a glance. There was a mechanical precision to the way Warren shunted widgets. This was Warren’s work, hour after hour, day after day, week… month… year after year. No one paid much attention to Warren, though they were certainly grateful for him. He was simply always... there.
Now you might be thinking that Warren must be a bit odd to cheerfully sit and weigh widgets all day, let alone year after year. Could there be a job more tedious or mind-numbing? Some of Warren’s co-workers wondered was he wanting in wit? In truth, Warren was just a simple soul of singular focus. He was a reliable, cheerful, and devoted Widget Works worker, who never wearied or made a mistake.
As time went on, the pressures of a changing market required changes to widgets and how they were constructed. Shifting demographics meant that now there was a want for widgets in different colors. Micro chips had made it possible to produce ‘wise widgets’.
One day, management called all the widget workers to a meeting and explained that in order for Whichway to continue to exist as a viable company, changes to both the widgets and the assembly line would have to be implemented. As it turned out, the change to Warren’s work was a relatively small one. In addition to weighing the widgets, he now had to take into account color and whether a widget was wise. Only then could Warren correctly determine where to send the widget.
It was expected that there would be a certain amount of confusion and chaos as the new procedures and routines were introduced. While most of the widget workers managed to incorporate the new procedures with a minimum of difficulty and disruption, Warren was having a terrible time with the changes to his job. He was confused, frustrated, and frightened. Warren reacted as many people might and that’s to focus even more intently on what’s familiar and to hold on even tighter to what they know. In Warren’s case, it was widget weight only.
Warren’s co-workers began to notice that widgets were going awry. They questioned who was throwing a wrench in the works. When they found out who, they weren't at all pleased. A few called him stupid and stubborn. One accused him of sabotage. Another reasoned that if Warren wasn’t taking widget color, weight and intelligence into account, then his results were incorrect and, in effect, lies. The more he was pointed at, accused, and attacked, the tighter Warren clung to his old patterns.
Management was in a wicked dilemma over what to do. Warren had been a loyal and reliable employee for years. But what if he just couldn’t handle the new criteria for determining which way a widget went? What if they couldn’t find another to do Warren's work? Was there anyone who could ever do Warren’s job nearly as well?
And then, when it seemed as though there was no way to solve this problem, soft spoken, shy little Wendy stepped forward and said to management, “Warren isn’t witless, he isn’t a saboteur, and he doesn’t lie. The very attribute that’s made him such an important member of the Widget Works team for all these years is what now stands in the way of him doing the job you need him to do. And that attribute is his ability to focus completely and exclusively on his job. It seems to me that the problem here is that you’ve told him that he must change, but you haven’t shown him how. If you’ll let me help Warren, I think we can have him up to speed very soon.” Management, desperate for a solution to the problem, agreed immediately.
Wendy took Warren aside and started to talk with him. She acknowledged his years of perfect service. She complimented him on his remarkable abilities. She asked him questions about his job and engaged his trust. Soon they were talking about widget weight, color, and wisdom. Wendy led Warren to the widget line and asked him to show her, very slowly so she could understand, how he did his job. When he hesitated with widget color, she helped him see that there were really only a few different colors and they were easy to name. With Wendy’s help, Warren discovered that he could discern, without worry, if a widget was wise or not. She listened and watched and helped him warm to directing which way widgets went according to color and weight and wit. Slowly, a bit hesitantly, Warren started to develop a rhythm of checking color, then weight, then wit. In a relatively short time, Warren was winging widgets this way and that with the same accuracy and consistency with which he’d previously only weighed widgets. All he had really needed was for someone to show him how to change, to lead him through the new patterns.
Each of us is a Widget Works. Your body cues are widgets that require direction. You are a co-worker who will either ridicule and criticize, or who, like Wendy, will help your auto-pilot develop new non-smoking responses. And finally, we each have an auto-pilot, a Warren, who monitors our body cues, is constantly vigilant, and will forever do only what he’s been trained to do. We cannot fire him, we cannot do his work for him, and we ignore him at our peril. But we can retrain our Warren. Once retrained and working with new criteria , he will continue to be the Warren we’ve always depended on to smoothly, mechanically, and correctly direct our widgets.