30 con:centred

past tense: concentred; past participle: concentred
  1. concentrate (something) in a small space or area.
    • come together at a common centre.
    • archaic
      bring (two or more things) towards a common centre.
      “a passion in which soul and body were concentred”


For everything important to and about a person to be con/nected at the very centre of each element and dimension of their life, rather than their externalities.  

The con/centred person has the potential to bring together their beliefs, experiences, skills, passions, relationships, hopes, and dreams together in a seamless focus of possibility.

It may be, the most concentred person poses the most disruptive questions, including  those held within the beauty of their art:

‘GIFTS are the essence of art.  Art isn’t made as part of an even exchange, it is your chance to create imbalance, which leads to connection.  To share your art is a requirement of making it.’*

(*From Seth Godin’s V is for Vulnerable.  Art is used here to cover a person’s creative action or product.)







with goodness

29 there's life 101

“What are you all about?  What makes you  tick?”*

Questions filmmaker Roko Belic likes to ask to get to know someone.

It’s a mighty big question for any of us against the backdrop of a universe estimated to be 587 sextillion miles across with a trillion galaxies!

We might conclude, what can any of us do to bring anything of significance into this huge universe.  Yet, one of the most significant things, if not the most significant thing we can do is to choose to live with goodness.  Goodness can’t materialise in the emptiness of space, but it can in the life of another person and the life of our planet.  It takes solid form and makes a difference.

There is general goodness – adding goodness to everything we do, and there is specific goodness – the thing Belic’s question got me thinking about this morning.

Here’s another question towards identifying your specific goodness: What’s your question?

(*Quoted in Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question.)

with a flourish

28 why not

There is such a thing as learned helplessness.  This mindset sounds something like: “No matter what we do, nothing will change, so why bother?”  Life experiences have taught this.

There is also learned mastery.  This mindset sound more like: “Our being here matters and changes things for the better.  Okay, things might not have worked so far, but next time might be different.”

The important word in both  of these sentences is “learned.”

Whilst some are more pessimistic than others, helplessness is learned.  And so is mastery.

For some people, to be able to get to evens is good.  Many more can move beyond even, though, especially when they find and connect with each another.

I need you to open your eyes and understanding.  Three words which, surprisingly -because of how we usually think of them – provide us with an opportunity to move.  They are: humility, gratitude, and faithfulness might.  At first sight they suggest knowing our place, being grateful for small mercies, and doing the things we ought to do no matter what.

Obversely, what they do provide is a true and honest picture of ourselves, to possibility of seeing all we have as fuel for making fire, and being able to create the steps (habits and behaviours) to live these out in impactful ways.

There are ways of doing what you do more – and with a flourish: that flick of liberty and panache.

Who know where this might take you?


the rabbit hole

27 sangai runu

How deep does it go?

When we begin to follow our curiosity, develop our talents, and find a cause?

Or, to put it in Matrix terms, “What have we swallowed?”

We had no idea just what the pill, the decision, the itch, the question, the need, the idea would lead to.

We still don’t.

We only know, as we fall deeper into it, it falls deeper into us.  To the genetic level?  Maybe.

For me, it began ten years ago, when someone invited me to identify my talents.

I’m still falling.

(Today’s doodle connects a community of creatives in Edinburgh with a village in Nepal.  The people in Edinburgh raised funds for educating the children in community near the village of  Pokhara – now devastated by the earthquake.)


26 until we

How do you keep your fire burning?  The one that’s about art and contributing and love.

‘Ancient city-states had a prytaneum, or public hearth, the lyric equivalent of a village well, to which citizens came to renew their household, sacred and workshop fires and which often came to symbolise the tribe itself.’*

Hopefully, we have access to a daily personal hearth.  Prytaneums, though, are public fires, shared hearths we need to denitrify and go to.

If you can’t find one, why not start one?

“I’m very sensitive to the fact that I have a finite amount of time on this earth. … I’d much rather create a fire hearth for other innovators to ignite their ideas than just heat up my own.”**

Some aim at a pass in life when there way more amazing.  When you can aim for more you’ll at least get a pass.

Better still, why not enable others to aim for more: ‘Never miss an opportunity to be fabulous.’^

(*From Stephen Pyne’s Fire.)
(**I’ve altered Jeff Hamerbacker’s words, which are: “I’m very sensitive to the fact that I have a finite amount of time on this earth. … I’d much rather create fertile soil for other innovators to plant their seeds than just water my own tree.” Quoted in James McQuivey’s Digital Disruption.)
(^From Tina Seelig’s What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.)
(Doodle quote from Nancy Kline’s Time to Think.)


25 keep going

I’ve been meaning to look up the meaning of this word for a couple of months, so today I did.  Here it is:


Pertinacity is a quality of sticking with something, no matter what. It’s a type of persistent determination.

Sometimes it’s a good thing to be pertinacious.  Sometimes not.

(I’m continuing my exploration of the beauty of asking questions, though not any question.)

We ask questions because we have a problem or don’t understand something fully or are trying to open up a better future when the present seems dangerously becalmed.

James McQuivey asserts:

‘Companies don’t know how to disrupt themselves, who they’re disrupting for, or what that disruption should look like.’*

This is also true for the individual.

We can find ourselves asking questions about how to keep going or doing what we’re doing: pertinacity.  But questions asked at the wrong time of the wrong thing are not questions at all.

McQuivey follows up his assertion with this:

‘Before you can disrupt your product you have to disrupt your process.’*

Often, we can try and figure out what’s wrong or needing attention in what we’re doing, but leave the underlying system alone.  On a personal level, this would be our values and beliefs and character and personality.

What McQuivey offers as product and process, Peter Senge** points to as being two systems or processes.  There’s the one we running along on the surface – the reinforcing system – and there’s the balancing system, which limits the system we’re focused on.  When we ask our questions, we’re usually asking them of the reinforcing system, when we ought to be asking them of the balancing one.

On a personal level, this might look like someone doing well with their work, but not being passionate about what they do, find it’s taking more and more of their energy to produce the same results (the reinforcing system).  To counter this, at home they find they are more and more tired, so they conserve energy by closing off from interacting or going out – this avoids appearing to be a moaner and it helps to keep work functioning but this balancing system is dangerous, threatening their relationships with their partner and family, and their health.

Where would you ask a disruptive question and what would it be?

Sometimes pertinacity needs stopping in its tracks.

(*From James McQuivey’s Digital Disruption.)
(**Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)


a journey of questions

24 #journeyofathousandquestions

To make the journey we must ask the right questions at the right times.

First of all there are the big open questions: What if?

These are divergent, and can be random, disconnected, and even bizarre.  Messy!  The aim is to maximise the number of possibilities.

Then there are the focusing questions: Which?

These are identifying in nature, picking out the best and most promising of all the generated possibilities: things which connect with the goal(s) and resonate with the stakeholders.

Finally, there are the narrowing questions: How?

These are critical of the ideas, honing and shaping them towards making something happen – sooner rather than later to be able to fail fast, learn, and improve.

What if?  Which?  How?  They make for a journey of great possibilities, but they can’t be asked in the wrong order.  Some ask How? first and never get to the others.

Different people will be better at asking one or two types of question.  Allow them to lead.  Everyone, though, must (and can) play the game required at each point on the journey.

It begins here:

‘Scratching is not about control and repose.  It’s about unleashing furious mindless energy and watching it bounce off everything in your path.  The hope is that a spark will fly from all that contact and combustion – and it usually does.’*

(*From Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.)



23 have the willingness

And paradoxical.

Words to describe the very near future.

Questions are a part of this, not only changing the culture, but also changing the questioner.

Organisations like Gore Associates trains its employees to ask good questions.  Indeed, in this flat, rather than hierarchical, organisation, people have to learn to ask better questions because there’s no one in charge to ask poor questions of.  Other companies provide employees with time to explore the things they’re fascinated or intrigued by, maybe up to twenty percent of their time.  Any organisation can learn and benefit from their example and courage, and create counterintuitive and paradoxical cultures:

‘the best corporate learning environments have some common elements.  Bringing in outsiders to teach and inspire; encouraging insiders to teach each other; putting employees’ work on the walls to share ideas, especially on work in progress – all invite questioning and feedback from others and encourage greater collaboration.’*

Cultures which intentionally include time for enjoyment and enthusiasm, alongside what must be done, are creating environments for more, including the more which will happen inside us.**

If there’s something at work you don’t like and/or are struggling with, what would it sound like if you asked it as a positive, counterintuitive question?

(*From Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question.)
(**Acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm are three modalities through which our greater awareness and consciousness can be expressed.  Even acceptance of what must be done is a positive modality because it is about finding peace with something.  Eckhart Tolle writes about these in A New Earth.)

cultures of inquiry

22 learning skills

Can we afford them?

Won’t allowing anyone in an organisation the opportunity to ask questions get in the way of what ought to be happening?  

Won’t it be chaos?

Question and inquiry are going to happen more and more: natural products of growing consciousness and awareness.  It’s difficult to imagine an ongoing industrial approach to the workplace in which people aren’t encouraged to bring more imagination and creativity.  The organisation which ignores or fails to engage these will disable itself.

‘Awakened doing is the alignment of our outer purpose – what you do – with your inner purpose – awakening and staying awake.’*

Eckhart Tolle suggests three modalities through which greater awareness and consciousness can be expressed.  As I read these, I thought about how they offer the ways and means for cultures of inquiry to be encouraged.

The modalities are: acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm.  Who wouldn’t more of these in the workplace?  At any one time at least one of these modalities needs to be expressed.

Many businesses, organisations, and institutions seek only acceptance, but this is the very basic a worker brings.  What they will seek more and more is to contribute their enthusiasm and energy too, such as enthusiasm and energy in shared ownership of a project or in ideas, and enjoyment of being able to fully engage and be present.

It’s a no brainer, or, rather, it’s a total brainer.

(*From Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)

quantum questions

21 before and after

Science writer Manjit Kumar informs me ‘an atom can be in one place, and then, as if by magic, reappear in another without ever being anywhere in between, by emitting or absorbing a quantum of energy.’*

A “quantum question” is a beautifully simple question which can open the adjacent possibility, otherwise going unrecognised or unseen: a non-linear possibility of existence and operating – whether corporate, collective, or personal.

Some people ask questions to be awkward or because it’s part of what they do.  Others ask questions because they emerge from their being.  They are becoming a question which makes possible a different way to live and contribute.

(*From Manjit Kumar’s Quantum.)