Or, organising our lives to dare greatly.
I love David Marquet‘s dream:
‘But wouldn’t it be amazing if we could somehow encourage acts of greatness? Not order them, but create an environment where people feel they can embrace the superhero within and achieve great things.’*
Marquet suggests we tend to overestimate what our instincts nudge us to do and underestimate what our environments push us to do.
Whilst I believe we can learn to listen to and empower our whispering instincts far more than we do, Marquet is absolutely right about the power of environment and context. How these work together for us is critical.
‘Let me start with a fundamental observation: most people don’t know what they want unless they see it in context.’**
‘In short, regardless of genre, if there’s no knotty problem, there is no story.’^
Two important suggestions for creating environments.
Dan Ariely points to a positively loaded environment opens up what people are able to see and imagine for themselves. Jonathan Gottschall identifies what is necessary for us to be engaged in a story – a problem becomes the context for the age-old Human struggle with adversity.
Gottschall refers to a form of writing which is boringly disengaging: hyperrealism aims to present life as we live it. But knotty problems will always be with us, we can reframe or storify the way we see and understand our lives to be the superheroes Marquest imagines.
Those who write or present TED talks or give their lives to a cause are all environmental and context people we can benefit from to shape new environments for ourselves and for one another.
Characteristics of storifying include faithfulness to unlock our talents and resources, perseverance as the key to grow our connection to others our world and our dreams and to recognise our enough-ness, and, wisdom as the way of actioning courage and generosity: the right things done for the right people for the right reasons in the right ways at the right time.
You can begin storifying your life today by picking up a book, watching a TED talk, or connecting with someone to dream together. Respect the process:
‘The process is the voice that demands we take responsibility and ownership. That prompts us to act if only in a small way.’^^
(*From 99U’s Make Your Mark. Another good source for nature and nurture working together is David Shenk’s The Genius in All of Us.)
(**From Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational.)
(^From Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal.)
(^^From Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way.)