go deep


Skimming through the years –
Life is big and bright and bold
Deep down – beyond me

The design and innovation company Ideo asks the question Why? five times when it’s working on something.  They go deep.

When I was a volunteer assessor for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, I’d ask the driver to share a driving commentary with me.  The commentary allowed me to know how far ahead the driver was seeing, their readings of the instruments, and what they knew to be behind us.  The IAM takes drivers deeper.

What about your life?  If you’re always in a rush, are you  skimming, rather than going deep.

The problem is, life isn’t fulfilling when we skim.

The world’s problems aren’t solved when we skim.

Otto Scharmer (Theory U) suggests this way of living carries the mantra, I-in-me.  Me in my little world.  But I can stop skimming, suspending how I see and understand, becoming more curious, and then I find I can go deeper.

Now my living bears the mantra, I-in-it.  There’s a bigger world out there.  I’ve mentioned before how author Umberto Eco possesses a library of 30,000 books, most of which he hasn’t read, but they remind himself of how much he doesn’t know.  If I enter into the world of what I am observing, then I can go deeper still: to see and understand it from within.

Now my living mantra is I-in-you.   I begin to see something as you see it, how you comprehend it,and how it feels to you.  My world grows bigger still, and I begin to see emerging possibilities for how we can act, how I can act, which I couldn’t see before … and I go deeper still.

Now my living mantra is I-in-now.  I see how I can act and think and do.  I get to try things out (prototyping), and then produce what is meaningful and generous and hopeful.

So, going deep isn’t to get stuck in complexity but to find freedom.

Of course, it’s difficult and sometimes scary and the temptation is to keep on skimming, but to really live before we die, we have to go deep.

(Inspired by Hugh MacLeod’s Start Up)

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