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Published:September 24th, 2009 22:24 EST
Vuja de - A Fresh Way of Looking at Things

Vuja de - A Fresh Way of Looking at Things

By Simon Bailey (Mentor/Columnist)

Vuja de " Understanding the Tea Leaf of Change

We exist at a period in history where everything that can be changed will change. Financial markets are shifting all over the world, industries are being forced to adapt to the new normal,  management philosophies are being reexamined for relevancy and you " as an individual are being invited to reset, reignite and shift. 

It amazes me that as human beings we become conditioned to accept what life offers without questioning if there is a better way. How often do you wake up to go to work or your place of business and go through the same routine? How often do you do something the same way, same time, and same place every day? We are living in an Age of Sameness which has caused many businesses and individuals to be stuck in neutral, while the rest of the world is waving at them as they drive into the future.  

The late comedian George Carlin coined a phrase Vuja de. It`s the opposite of déjà vu.  Vuja de is having a fresh set of eyes to see the same thing as everyone else but understand it in a unique way.
According to, the noun Déjà vu " first appeared around 1900 and the psychological meaning is the illusion of having previously experienced something being encountered for the first time, a disagreeable familiarity or sameness. The example that is used is the new television season had a sense of déjà vu about it - the same plots and characters with new names. " This reminds me of the movies Gladiator, Braveheart, 300 and Troy. A brilliant plot about the hero, war, and love. This is classic Hollywood.  

Modern day examples of Vuja de would be Apple with the creation of the iPhone. As you know, there are many cell phone makers in the marketplace, but Apple, in its brilliance, took a simple phone and turned it into a mobile office. How many people have you met who have an iPhone and the first question you ask is how you do like your phone? " and then What apps do you have? ", and just like that you see adults transform into kids before your very eyes as they discuss, share, and teach how to.

Cirque de Soleil (in French means Circus of the Sun ") is the Circus on Steroids. They took their fresh set of eyes to see the what we know as the "Circus` but transformed it in a profound way; now many realize that paying $19.99 to experience a Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Bros. Circus is no comparison to $150 transformational Cirque de Soleil experience in Las Vegas or Orlando. How many times do you leave a regular circus and talk about it? Very rarely. Why? There was no Vuja de., with the launch of Kindle, has introduced a new way for lovers of the written word to experience books. This profound shift is similar to Apple iPods and iTunes which have forever transformed the way people purchase music.

TaTa, a multi-billion dollar company has introduced to the consumer market of 1 billion people in India the first $2,500 car, appropriately called the TaTa Nano with a 2 cylinder gasoline engine.  Do you think this was a shot heard around the world, especially for those in the automobile industry? Maybe or maybe not.  Once again if you understand how to read the tea leaves of change then you realize that something is afoot in the world. Business as usual is out and business as change is in. is an online shoe company that has grossed $1 billion dollars in its tenth year of being in business. All employees receive four weeks of training and are then offered $2,000 to quit. The CEO Tony Hsieh says paying them to quit saves the company money by weeding out people who would jump ship anyway and allows those who remain to make a public statement of commitment to their new employer. "  Turnover costs U.S. employers more than $140 billion a year (Source " Incentive Marketing Assn). According to Inc. magazine, Zappos has branched out into an outsourcing program to handle selling, customer service and shipping for other companies. Perhaps that is why Amazon purchased them for $847 million dollars. Vuja de is in their DNA.

Commonality chokes creativity. Best practices must move over and give way to what are the best ideas. If you practice the way everyone else practices that doesn`t mean that you are going to get their results. You deny yourself and your business from discovering how to fail forward. 

Did you know that NASA designed a fascinating experiment to test the physiological impact of spatial disorientation, the kind that astronauts might experience during extended time in a weightless environment? NASA outfitted a group of astronaut candidates with convex goggles that flipped everything in their field of vision 180 degrees, so that the world they saw was completely upside down. The test subjects wore these glasses 24 hours a day even while asleep. Then the scientists sat back to observe what happened.

At first, the extreme stress and anxiety were obvious, as reflected in the astronaut`s blood pressure and other vital signs. The astronauts gradually adapted to this new level of stress, but it still didn`t dissipate altogether. After all, their entire world was upside down! 26 days after the experiment began, something amazing happened to one astronaut: His world turned right-side up again. The goggles hadn`t changed, and he was still wearing them continuously. But now he was able to see everything around him as normal. Within the next several days, all the other astronauts followed suit.

After 26-30 days of this constant stream of strange new input, the men`s brains had created enough new neural connections to completely rewire their brains, so that their visual and spatial perception worked at 180 degrees opposite from the way the brain normally works.

Here are five ways to implement Vuja de in business:

Front-line is the Bottom Line. The answers you need are not at the top of the food chain, they are at the bottom of the food chain. They exist in the heads, hearts, and hands of men and women who are closest to your customers.

Synergy is Green Energy " Yes it is true that the sum total is greater than its parts. Who do you know that possesses a level of expertise that you do not have? Barter with them or strike an alliance. What do you have that they need? Partner together and go after the green.
Take control of your inner steering wheel and no longer allow the passengers of fear and complacency to direct you from the backseat.  Don`t be the passenger of television, setbacks, disappointments, and doomsayers.

Embrace positive psychology as a way of life instead of a passing fad. Positive thinking is the key to the door of unlimited creativity and innovation.

Be a Flipologist! This is a word that I coined which describes a person who practices Vuja de. They can see what everyone else sees but understand it differently. For example:
Space Travel " As the federal government evaluates the future of NASA and the Space Station, private industry realizes that there are people who have money who are willing to pay millions of dollars for a transformational experience.

Mobile Phone is now mobile university providing just in time information.
Luggage Forward is a company based in Boston, MA that picks up your luggage, golf clubs, or skis and delivers it to your destination before you arrive.  The airlines got it half right. You bring the luggage to them and they charge you for your baggage and you pray that it arrives to the right destination. However, Luggage Forward has doubled in growth by providing a little extra service and has acquired five other competitors. 

Take your job and Flip it! Who does your job benefit? Who really pays your salary and what do you need? My friend, Ken Brown says that you never get promoted until you become overqualified for your current position.  

Simon Sidebar

As always, I am reading a ton of books at this time and perhaps I will receive a Kindle for my birthday "wink wink. (That`s for you, Renee " forgive me folks, but I digressed.) Here is my recommended reading.

Future Think " How to Think Clearly in a Time of Change by Edie Weiner and Arnold Brown
Jewish Wisdom for Business Success " Lessons from the Torah and other Ancient Texts by Rabbi Levi Brackman and Sam Jaffe.