The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

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What Is 'Reorganization'?

Reorganization is a random action that occurs when a Reference Level is violated, but you don't know how to bring back under control. This is what happens when people feel "unhappy with their jobs", or have the "quarter-life crisis." There's something wrong, but it's hard to know what.

Reorganization is the neurological basis of learning. If your mind doesn't know what to do, the best thing is to do random things to acquire data.

It's best not to fight Reorganization. It usually just slows down your learning without improving your satisfaction. Once you learn how to bring the perception under control, Reorganization stops naturally.

Respect your mind's impulse to try something new.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Reorganization'

Whenever a perception violates the system's Reference Level, action will occur to bring the perception back under control.

Sometimes that response is well defined-as we discussed earlier, your body knows exactly what it needs to do to regulate blood glucose. Often, however, you don't know exactly what is wrong-or how to fix it.

Think of a perception as abstract as "job satisfaction"-there's a set point in your mind that stands for "how happy I should be at work," and your perception of job satisfaction is an average of your actual experiences at work.

Pleasant experiences move the average higher, and unpleasant experiences move the average lower.

If your perception of "job satisfaction" is lower than you think it should be (your Reference Level), your brain will kick into action-"I'm not as happy as I should be... something needs to change." Here's the problem: you may not know what that "something" is.

Would you be happier if you changed assignments, worked for a new boss, left the company for another job, or started working for yourself? Who knows? That's where reorganization comes in.

Reorganization is random action that occurs when a reference level is violated, but you don't know what to do to bring the perception back under control.

The "quarter-life" or "mid-life" crisis many people experience is a perfect example of reorganization. You don't quite know what to do to eliminate the angst you're feeling, so you start doing things that aren't normal for you, like quitting your job to travel or buying a motorcycle.

Reorganization feels like you're lost, depressed, or crazy-that's completely normal. Your brain starts spitting out all kinds of off-the-wall things in an effort to find something to fix the situation.

Sometimes, when I'm really stressed out, I'll start to think that being a janitor sounds appealing-the work's not difficult, you don't have to think so much, and you still get paid.

That doesn't mean it's a good idea, but this type of thought process is absolutely normal-my brain is just trying out random ideas to bring certain systems back under control.

Reorganization is the neurological basis of learning. Our minds are learning machines that associate specific causes with specific effects via Pattern Matching.

If your mind hasn't already learned what to do in a certain situation, the best way to solve the problem is to try new things in an effort to gather data. That's what Reorganization is for-it's the impulse to consider or try new things to see what works.

One of the most important things to understand about Reorganization is that it's best not to fight it. Even though it's sometimes tempting to try to convince yourself that everything is okay, resisting or repressing the impulse to try something different slows down your learning.

There's nothing odd or abnormal about "dark nights of the soul"-they're a signal that some perception about your life is out of control, and reorganization is required to gather more data about how to fix it.

Once you learn how to bring the perception back under control, reorganization stops naturally. When you're feeling lost, take heart-it's just your brain gathering the information it needs to make good decisions.

Embracing the impulse to try something new will help you exit reorganization more quickly.

Questions About 'Reorganization'


"Not all those who wander are lost."

J. R. R. Tolkien, author of _The Lord of the Rings


From Chapter 6:

The Human Mind


https://personalmba.com/reorganization/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

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