Learn all about Functional Fixedness and how it affects your business and personal life. Yes, it sounds way out there, but I'll make it all clear for you in this episode.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 499
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See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[05:00] Tom's introduction to Functional Fixedness [06:20] Defining Functional Fixedness [08:17] Home Depot Garden Department and Dollar Tree [13:49] How it can affect your business relationships [17:03] How it can affect your personal relationships [19:29] Use creativity to decrease functional fixedness
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Episode 499 – Functional Fixedness
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:09] Hey everybody it's Tom here with episode four hundred and ninety nine of Screw the Commute podcast. I'm going to talk about functional fixedness, the enemy of creativity, and and I'm going to and you're going to say, Well, what is this Tom? You know, psychological master? What are you talking about? These fancy words? You're just a country bumpkin? Well, let me tell you about this and you know this functional fixedness. This can make you lose work or gigs if you don't learn to manage it in others. And it's a term that's not well known in the business world, it came from the psychology world, but it definitely has applications in business and that's what this episode is about. So hang in there. I hope you didn't miss episode four ninety eight. It was another ask me a question episode. I talked about flash briefings on Amazon. I talked about an unrelated flash thing about flash videos. I talked about COPPA, the Child Online Privacy Protection Act. You need to know about and reviews and what they can mean to your business and how a tiny difference that you would never guess can can increase your business. Twenty five percent, just one little change. I talked about mobile first indexing the Google search console, it's free, you should be using it and buying keywords, and I'm not talking about buying keywords, I'm talking about buying keywords.
[00:02:04] And when you listen to that episode, you'll see what I mean. Now coming up, Oh man, episode 500 is Wednesday. It's a special milestone for the podcast that you won't want to miss that special episode, and I'll be having some fantastic sales this week to celebrate it. So don't miss it. Now, if you'd like me to send you big checks, how about joining my affiliate program? Just email me at Tom@screwthecommute.com, and we'll give you details on how if you refer me for stuff, you can earn commissions up to five thousand bucks even more, and everything from eight dollars and fifty cents for little referrals to, you know, even more than 5000. So email me to check it out. And pick up a copy of your automation e-book, we give this away to you for listening to the show. And hey, pass it on to other people too, because it will really automate your business. It'll save you tons of work and time and allow you to ethically steal customers from your competitors because you get back to them so fast. So check it out it. screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And while you're at it, pick up a copy of our podcast app. It's screwthecommute.com/app. You can put us on your cell phone and tablet. It does all kinds of cool things, and you can take us with you on the road.
[00:03:34] Now we're still in full blast gear. Taken care of persons with disabilities in my school scholarship program. And we'd love to have your help, it's one of the best things I've ever done in my life to to change people's lives for the better. So you can check that out at my school website, IMTCVA.org/disabilities and we have a new video up there just as of yesterday of one of the participants. That's totally blind. Going through my school, a boy so, so inspirational. So check that out at IMTCVA.org/disabilities, and at the top of the page is the Go Fund Me account, so please contribute whatever you can. We're going to use some of the money to to hire persons with disabilities to help run the program and get five people through this. We call this a pilot program because I want to get these five people either hired or in their own business. And then I took a grant writing course, and I want to roll it out really big and get a bunch of money to to to put loads of people through the course. So. And it's a high demand skill. Every business on Earth needs internet and digital marketing so they can work from home. They don't have the burden of traveling, you know, mobility problems, site problems. We can really change these people's lives. So give me a hand on this.
[00:05:01] All right, let's get to the main event. Functional Fixedness, this is a form of cognitive bias. And now before you tune out immediately because I'm dropping all these fancy psychological terms on and and yeah, before you tune out, you got to remember I was a psych major, you know, with a business background in college. But from, you know, it's been a long time. I think I got kicked out because I always lean towards towards electric shock treatment. I'm just kidding. All right. Or am I? Ooh. Anyway, cognitive bias is when you like information better that reinforces the things that you already think or believe. An example would be maybe you think taxes are too high, so you lean towards information that reinforces what you are ready believe and you shy away from people and information that favors raising taxes. So functional fixedness. This, like I said, is a form of cognitive bias where you tend to think in one way and reject other ways of thinking. Now hang in there with me, and this is going to make sense for you how it applies to business and also personal relationships. So to boil down functional fixedness. You think let's say you think a certain tool can only be used for one purpose? So to simplify this, let's let's say you have only a pair of pliers, but you want to hang a picture on your wall. But you don't want to go to Home Depot or Lowe's or Wal-Mart to buy a hammer to pound in the nail to hang your picture.
[00:06:55] So couldn't you just use the side of the pair of pliers to pound in the nail? No, I wouldn't try to build a house and pound all the nails with a pair of pliers, but I could certainly pound in one small nail to hang a picture. In other words, just because the main job of a pair of pliers is to grab things. And squeeze him and hold on to things. It doesn't mean it can't be used for something else, like pounding a nail. Now, if you showed a picture of a pair of pliers to a thousand people and asked them what was the main job this tool does? Nobody would say pound nails. Everybody would say grab things or squeeze things. Now, if you ask those thousand people, what else could you do with those pliers, the ones without functional fixedness? This would see other uses like pounding nails, using it as a paperweight or a weapon, or even to pick up a hot dish off the stove. Now, I don't see myself as the most creative individual on the planet. But I guess because of my upbringing with a very frugal dad, I was taught from a very young age to find a way to get things done with what you have. And what happened to me the other day is how I got the idea for this episode.
[00:08:23] So here's the deal. So I have three big dog crates really giant, you know, extra large dog crates in my living room where my protection dogs sleep during the day. And one of them is right in line with my big screen TV that sits on an entertainment center. Now, the dog crate cuts off the bottom of the screen from where I sit and has bugged me for months, so I had a little free time last Saturday and I decided to do something about it. So and raise up the TV about a foot so I could see the entire screen. You know, they put a lot of those bugs across the bottom of screens and tickers with extra info, and I could never see it because the dog crates in front of it and I didn't want to mount the TV on the wall, which would have been a big production with multiple expensive brackets and screw it into the wall and all that stuff. So so I started thinking about how I could raise this the TV up by sitting it on something it had little feet on and on both ends. It's a big, seventy five inch TV, I think. Now, my first thought was to build a wooden box and stain it, so it looked nice. Which meant digging out my bench saw buy in the wood, staining it and all that stuff. And I just didn't have time for that, so I thought I'd stroll through Home Depot and see what I could come up with.
[00:09:56] And whatever whatever I did, I wanted it to look nice. I wanted it to be unobtrusive, be cheap and fast. That was my goal. It also had to raise the TV about a foot. So the first thing I noticed in Home Depot were storage bins, and I nixed that idea because they looked like storage bins and they were way too high. And I didn't want to cut them down and turn them over where they would just look like upside down, cut down storage bins. So, so as I kept strolling around, I ended up in the garden department where they had an entire wall of flower pots and planters. Hmm. Bingo. Long, skinny window box planners were black plastic. A foot high, narrow and unobtrusive. And if I didn't tell you that they what they were, when if you were ever in my living room at my retreat center, you wouldn't even notice them. And if you ever come in and my mentor program, come to the retreat center, I'll show them to you. So the entire thing was done for 20 bucks, 10 bucks apiece and two minutes to install. Now, had I been burdened with the problem of functional fixedness, I would have tried to search Amazon for I don't know what to search for TV raising boxes which probably don't exist and and I'd still be missing the bottom of my TV screen.
[00:11:34] Another example of this is part of my brutal self-defense course at brutal self defense sitcom part of Brutal Self-Defense. The training was improvised weapons, and so I walked through the dollar store, which you may not know is full of weapons. All right. Oh, by the way, and I just heard on the news that because of all this inflation, the Dollar Tree will not be the Dollar Tree anymore. It's going to be like a buck and a quarter or a buck fifty for stuff. Anyway, back to weapons. I'm surprised the ATF doesn't regulate dollar stores, right? Because I'm not burdened with the problem of functional fixedness. I came out in about five minutes with 20 weapons for 20 bucks. Ok. I could go to any country and go into a store and come out with a bunch of improvised and legal weapons. Well, and now you're thinking, Hey, Tom, how about telling us one? Okay, all right. Those little fingernail polish bottles are tough as hell. You can buy and now you can buy a cheap weapon called a stinger. That's the same thing. You put it in your hand and you hit people with it. But it's a weapon, it's obviously a weapon, but the nail polish bottle is just as good and would never be construed as a weapon for females carrying it in their purse. So what you do is you put the fat part of the bottle in your palm. The bottom of the bottle, it's real fat, thick glass and then you close your fist, but let the lid protrude through your fingers.
[00:13:23] We call this a force multiplier because all the force of you hitting someone is concentrated on the tiny. I mean, it's almost pointed lid of the nail polish bottle. Well, I would not want to get hit with that. So anyway, that's an example of something that you think is just a nail polish bottle, but it's a weapon mostly for females or, I guess, enlightened males, I don't know. But I don't care what. All right, so functional fixedness this can also affect your business relationships. Maybe you see one of your employees or colleagues or contractors as only being able to do one specific task. But in fact, they can do many other things, making them way more valuable to your business if you just recognized it. It happened to me in my speaking business when I was doing corporate work. I'd speak to some big shot, highly respected corporation or association. And then when the next speaking engagement ask me for a reference, I gave them the place. I just spoke the big shot place. Well, the place I just spoke. Told them something. Oh, he was the best sales speaker we ever had. I'm not bragging, but they have said that kind of stuff. The place checking my references did not hire me because they said, we want a customer service expert, not a sales expert. Oh man, are you kidding me? I had a customer service program that got the same high reviews.
[00:15:05] And a reference from lesser known corporations or associations where I spoke on customer service. But if I had given them that, I probably, you know, I would have had a much greater chance of getting the job. So this is how you have to manage functional fixedness in other people. You have to assume they have functional fixedness. See, I should have found out they wanted a customer service program and sent them to my customer service website and gave them only customer service references. And that's why you need to have separate websites if you have multiple things that you do and separate testimonials so that you're only presenting exactly what the other person is looking for because you must assume they have functional fixedness this. Now when it comes to creativity, Healthline.com has a good article, I'll have a link to it in the show notes. About how functional fixedness this can reduce creative problem solving. And and I say creativity in general, so it limits your ability to think in new and creative ways, you really have to fight against this. If you feel this is a business thing, you could improve. An example of this is a guy named Scott Povich. He's a friend of mine, a professional speaker, and he's dyslexic. So he wears different colored shoes. He's made an entire career out of this. He doesn't suffer from functional fixedness.
[00:16:46] This with his problem. He saw his shoes as direction indicators rather than just footwear. So his purple shoe is left and blue is right. I don't remember how he does it, but but it's so cool and he's made a whole career speaking about this. Now, functional fixedness this can also hurt your personal relationships. So let's say both you and your wife work outside the home and your wife always makes dinner. And I'm just using this as an example. Maybe it's the opposite. And you, the husband, always makes dinner. It doesn't matter for this example. But anyway, in this example, the wife makes dinner. Then you quit your job and screw the commute and and stay home working on your online business that I taught you how to do because you were in my mentor. Wait a minute, I got carried away there. Join my mentor program, folks. If you want to make great progress, fast anyway. So now you're home all day, and when your wife gets home, you ask her what's for dinner? Now, your functional fixedness only sees your wife as the one who makes dinner. But in her mind, filled with functional fixedness she sees a person staying home all day should be the one who makes dinner. This could lead to lots of resentment and conflict if you both don't take the time to discuss the situation and come to some kind of compromise so it can screw up your personal relationships.
[00:18:34] All right, now, before I tell you about a bunch of other creative ideas I made money with because I don't suffer from functional fixedness. Let me remind you. Wednesday is our 500th episode. And to celebrate, we'll have a bunch of big sales like five hundred percent off. Wait a minute. What? Who wrote this script? That would mean I'd have to pay someone five times the cost of one of my products just to buy it. Ok. You know what, I'll go ahead and do that with the automation book I give away here for free. Grab your copy at screwthecommute.com/automatefree, and I'll send you five times what you paid for. All right, but anyway, we'll have some really big sales starting Tuesday as tomorrow and a very special episode on Wednesday, you don't want to miss it. All right, back to creativity and functional fixedness, so there are many more examples in my life where I refuse to see things only as most other people see them. I had a practical joke company where we custom designed practical jokes. My camp, my internet marketing camp instead of a boot camp like everybody else has, I saw it as sitting on my rear end making money and called it Butt Camp and done them all over the world. And I retreat center, where people actually live in the house with me, most retreat centers that you come visit during the day and go stay in a hotel.
[00:20:14] My wake him up book where I saw a speaker as waking up audience people. So I had people on the cover of the book in little beds, sitting up and waking up because of the the clock alarm clock person on stage. All this is because I see things differently. My fatso tennis, I'm you know, guess what? Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova are not at my tennis club, right? It's a bunch of fat butts like me, so I created fat, so tennis for people overweight and out of shape that love tennis. All right. So look, I took a different angle on things. So. And I had this idea about Bachelor party bites based on my protection dog training. So we have these protection dogs and I thought, Man, this would be a great bachelor party where the the bachelors or Bachelorettes, you know, get in these big bite suits and then run down the the field and the dog goes and really bites them and knocks them down. So the only problem was finding insurance for this. So it's still in the back of my mind, but haven't actually made money on that one yet. But anyway, I guess the cliche is to think outside the box, which really means work on decreasing functional fixedness in your life and great things can happen. So that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Hey, what's for the sales coming up and I'll see you on episode 500 this Wednesday. Catch you later.
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