The Dangers of Lowest Common Denominator Thinking

I think that much of the mire our world has fallen into is the result of lowest common denominator thinking.

For example, as an urban designer, I was disheartened by the watered down design plans we created in the name of community process.

All too often we allowed people’s fears, doubts, misapprehensions, and lack of knowledge to dictate the final outcome for the design of what could have otherwise been a gloriously beautiful urban space.

It was like each fear and each doubt pulled out a piece of what made it beautiful, section by section, until there was hardly anything left.

Yes, it’s true that it’s much easier to find a parking space in front of a strip mall than it is to find one on a small-scale street with lots of shops and overfull parallel parking. But which experience feeds your soul? Which one makes you want to stop the car and check out what everyone is looking at or try that cute little ice cream shop with the big line in front of it?

The Conversation

Similarly, when we plan our own lives, we allow our dreams to be watered down before we even give them the chance to be named. We don’t think, “Ooh, that’s interesting, I wonder how I could do that?” Or, “I wonder how can I take that idea to its highest level of expression?”

Instead we think, “There’s no way that will work. It’ll never happen. I won’t be able to make a living doing that.” That’s the default refrain we hear.

Take The Limiters Out of the Equation

It’s like we’re looking for the lowest common denominator solution first. We bring in the limiting criteria or dismiss alternatives way too early in the process, rather than giving ourselves the chance to Dream Big and imagine what’s possible.

And we do this in so many areas of our lives. We allow fear to dictate the way we birth babies, raise children, run our organizations, deal with politics, grow our food, take care of our planet, choose our careers, and so much more. Are we really only here to cover our butts, pay our bills, live in urban jungles, and just “get by”?

I don’t think so.

Each one of us, EVERY one of us, has a higher calling to fulfill. We have a purpose, a passion, a raison d’être. We simply have to allow ourselves the time and space to find our way to what it is that we were put here to do, and to design — in its full, glorious potential — what that is going to look like.



If you aren’t clear on your life purpose — what you were put here to do — I hope you’ll consider joining me for my upcoming Claim Your Calling life purpose and essential self workshop intensive coming up on March 4th. Early registration (save 25%) 797ends February 11th (this Friday). Details.



Big Dream Actioneering

I’ll be posting about my Big Dream action steps this Friday, and I hope you’ll join me to celebrate your progress as well.



What’s Jenna Up To?

~> NEW DATE: March 4, 2011. Virtual Workshop: Claim Your Calling: 5 Steps To Get You Back On Track With What You Were Put Here To Do. Details. Early registration ends February 11th — Save 25% when you register by this Friday.