31 really

‘There is a concept in psychology called risk homeostasis.  It refers to the idea that humans have a degree of risk they find acceptable and strive to live their lives at that level.’*

‘Organisations around the world are recognising that either they can expand their thinking to match the real system they belong to or they can artificially shrink the system they are managing to match their thinking.’**

What if one way of defining happiness is being open to more, present to more, and realising more?

If you were then to identify your happiest time in life, would this be some point in the past?  Or right now?  And, depending on your answer, is the future positive or negative for you?

It has been said that we are not so much concerned with the meaning of life, but wanting to know if we’re alive.

In the West we’ve developed stable and less risky environments, but these appear to have come at some cost.  Stability becomes a disadvantage when leaves us wondering if we’re alive.

The first quote, above, is Frans Johansson’s auditing of the way people are willing to take more risks when the degree of safety goes up – like pushing cars harder when we know ABS is fitted.  There appears to be something about being human that needs to risk.

The second quote comes from Peter Senge, and makes a lot of sense for the individual as well as the organisation.  We’re asking questions about what is real, about the stories we tell ourselves, and are these the only way of understanding life in this world.

We’re reworking our imaginations, dreaming more, opening up possibilities, exploring reality, and risking from a strong place within – integrity leading to wholeness, wholeness leading to perseverance, perseverance leading to integrity – the cycle of the revolutionary life.

(*From Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.)
(**From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)

you have to sing it

30 you can have what you have

What is the song you sing deep within?

Where does the journey of the song take you?

What’s the refrain you repeat to ensure you never lose the purpose of your song?

How does it differ to the songs of others (twelve notes, yet so many possibilities)?

When and where does it complement the songs others around you sing?

Who are the people with whom you share “choir moments” and make something bigger happen?

‘Presence is about observation, presencing, and realising.’*

Notice it, feel it, sing it.

Once you begin singing, you never know where the song will lead you.

(*From Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, Otto Scharmer, and Betty Sue Flowers’s Presence.)

the unpredictable path

29 actively rejecting

‘Research trips challenge our preconceived notions, and keep cliches at bay.  They fuel inspiration.  They are what keeps us creating rather than copying.’*

There’s nothing new under the sun.  No-one has yet figure out how to do ex nihilo work; everything new begins with things that already exists.

And yet, we come up with some astonishingly amazing things, so much so that we properly wonder when we’ll reach the limits of human innovation and creativity.

When we’re prepared to leave behind the predictable and the familiar, the truth of this becomes more and more apparent.  The unpredictable is mind-blowing, but not impossible – new ideas, imaginative ways of relating and working with people, different ways of behaving.

Best of all, the things we need to guide us are already within us.

Our openness is critically important.  Staying open takes huge amounts of energy.  It’s why the easier option is to do what everyone else is doing, participate in the groups everyone else is in, and reiterate the predictable ideas.  What e’re about is bypassing the divergent, avoiding the emergent, and going straight to what we predict to be the convergent.

So, what do I love in all of this?  In my work with people exploring their passions, talents, and experiences, it’s coming upon their unpredictable paths.

(*From Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)

curiously you

28 to ensure she

‘In this special silence, you can hear or see, or get a strong sense of something that want to happen that you wouldn’t be aware of otherwise.’*

Who hear the cries of silence?

As we grow older we grow less curious.  It’s something we learn, and we can unlearn it, says Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and offers the follow steps:

‘So the first step toward a more creative life is the cultivation of curiosity and interest, that is, the allocation of attention to things for their own sake. … Try to be surprised by something every day. …Try to surprise one person every day. … Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others. … When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it.’**

Curiosity is our guide out of the world of measurement and into the universe of possibility.^

We each have our own curiosity; I’m curious to know what yours is.^^

‘If you learnt to listen to your curiosity, you will find that you become curious about those things that are different and new.’*^

Walter Brueggemann makes a curious remark when he proffers, ‘Prophecy cannot be separated very long from doxology, or it will either wither or become ideology.’^*  Which I take to mean, those who hear the cries of silence must translate their openness and presence to what can be turned into a song they sing each day, ever new and ever alive, moving them deeper into the mystery.

(*From Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, Otto Scharmer, and Betty Sue Flower’s Presence.)
(**See Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity.)
(^So would say Roz and Ben Zander in The Art of Possibility.)
(^^My curiosity is to know what yours is and to help you pursue it.)
(*^From Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.)
(^*From Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination.)

360′ inquiry

27 to be continued

Life on earth can be really difficult at times, which is when we most need the most imaginative ways to bring hope and possibility.

Human imagination is an amazing thing.  We’re able to bring together thinking and ideas from all kinds of places, people, and times, and makes something utterly different.

Frans Johansson writes about intersectional thinking, when we’re able to mix up ideas, visit different places, explore unfamiliar sources, meet new people who are different to us:

‘Can you make your environment more collision prone?’*

We see some practical examples of this in Theory U’s empathy walks (allowing us to step inside the experiences of another), stakeholder interviews (allowing people to more deeply explore the relationships they already have), and field trips (which allow people to visit a business, community, or some work of interest to them – ideally for at least a day).**

Collisions equal exposure to new thoughts and ideas.^  Off the peg just won’t make for a better future.

‘You’ll never stumble on the unexpected if you stick only to the familiar.’^^

Tribal Leadership authors Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright argue that tribes are how we live – societies being made up of many, many tribes.  Basically these exhibit five kinds of “tribeness.”

The first tribe claims “Life sucks” – they can’t see much good in life (these people are mostly in prisons and gangs).  Then there’re those who claim “My life sucks” – the corollary being that the lives of others don’t.  After this there are those who hold that “My life is great” – the following corollary then is, “But yours isn’t.”  In the fourth tribe people begin to say “We’re great” – though there’s still a corollary, now “The tribe over there isn’t great.”  The fifth tribe, though, have found a way of connecting both within and without their group to be able to say “Life is great” – they’re ready to tackle the big enemies facing the world: poverty, illiteracy, disease, environmental concerns.*^

New encounters and new experiences lead to new language which comes with: ‘the distinctive power, the capacity to speak in ways that evoke newness’^*  Language is important because its the vehicle by which we move relationships and ideas forward.

By this time, we’re becoming infinite players:

‘Every move an infinite player makes is toward the horizon.  Every move made by a finite player is within a boundary.’`*

I’ll never reach the horizon; it always is out there, calling me.  If I keep moving towards it, I’ll eventually return to where I began and know it differently – in a larger way.  Though the aim is not to return, but to keep journeying:  wherever I am, I can rotate 360 degrees and look upon a different horizon at any point.

“What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question.”`^

Our curiosity leads us.  Questions provide us with purchase we need to push forward.  Questions that open our minds, open our hearts, and then open our wills. Big, open, beautiful questions.`*^

(*From Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.  I use the acronym of TEESA to keep before me the need to read around technology, environment, entrepreneurship, society, and arts.)
(**See Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)
(^Perhaps a different lens through which to reflect on the UK’s stay in or leave the European Union on grounds of migration?  Instead of seeing migration as being the problem, what if we could use migration to find the imaginative solutions to why people are dispersed around the world?)
(^^From Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)
(*^See Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright’s Tribal Leadership.)
(^*From Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination.)
(`*From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(`^Jonas Salk, quoted in Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit.)
(`*^In her Udemy course, Krista Tippett claims that to ask a beautiful question elects a beautiful answer, a generous question elicits a generous answer.)



26 there is no

On a good day: When we’re inspired by someone else’s work to begin something new.*

On a bad day: When there’s been nothing original in the work we’ve been doing for way too long.

Like those flipping-frogs out of a Christmas cracker?  Every year they’re in the crackers, and every year they’re less recognisable than the year before – and they don’t even flip.

What if we could derive from the future instead of from the past.

With imaginations provoked by what might be, we’d be able to create the present from the artefacts we’ve received from the past in new ways, without repeating.

First of all, we need to get unfocused.

Becoming too focused on something means we can miss the signals from the future.  I’m grateful to Nassim Taleb who introduced me to the idea of the flaneur (female: flaneusse): literally an idler, and, more specifically, someone who has slowed down their life to be able to see more.**  Doodling does this for me: from dawdling. I am able to slow down and wander down unfamiliar paths my reading introduces me to.

Frans Johansson writes about the need to sometimes “take our eye off the ball” to be able to make more “click moments” happen – when new possibilities become visible to us:

‘Unfortunately, by rigidly pouring all of our effort into one approach we miss out on the unexpected paths to success.’^

You don’t have to doodle, you can take mindful walks, or try a different way to work – every day for a year, or one new recipe every week, or scan Twitter for fascinatingly different news-feeds for 15 minutes a day, or create some other Chris Guillebeau-like quest,^^ just to stir things up, to see things differently.*^

You can follow on from this by finding a group, or groups, of people who help you to see and experience things differently.  Other people help us to see the world differently.  To see something through the eyes of another may be one of the most transformative of human experiences available to us.^*

‘What do we mean by empathy in terms of creativity and innovation?  For us, it’s the ability to see an experience through another person’s eyes, to recognise why people do what they do.’`*

The future opens more when we get off track – there are more means than there are people, and we begin looking together – more dreamt than derived.

We see more clearly.

(*I’ve been inspired by and am grateful to Seth Godin for his blogging/writing, and Hugh Macleod for his cartooning.  Between them, they got me blogging every day as long as I could include a doodle.  I can’t write like Seth, though, nor doodle like Hugh, and I must develop my own style.)
(**See Nassim Taleb’s The Black Swan.)
(^From Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.)
(^^See Chris Guileebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(*^To move beyond the derivative and predictable, Pixar encourages field trips for it’s people so they are able to get a better idea of how animals behave, or what a certain terrain can look and feel like, or how ratatouille is made in the kitchens of a Michelin rated restaurant – rather than sitting in a design studio assuming they know what’s needed to tell a story.  See Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)
(^* Yesterday, I heard a politician talking about how refugees must be stopped coming to Europe, and especially to the UK.  I wondered whether this person had met and listened to the story of a refugee.  This morning I listened to an interview from someone from a military background heading up a refugee charity, his heart breaking, telling the stories of refugee’s, speaking of how we’re all humans.
(`*From Bernadette Jiwa’s Difference.)


despite myself

25 rigidity is the enemy

‘It was as if they had chosen a particular kind of life and then changed other circumstances to accommodate it.’*

“It all started with a dream, but then I followed that dream.  Following the dream made all the difference.”**

Sometimes I catch myself breathing tightly, usually because I’m concerned and anxious about something.  I need to relax my breathing, to be aware of it filling my whole body, my whole life: rigidity is my enemy.

Rigidity is not only about my breathing, but also the way I see and understand things.  What do I do when I become the obstacle to who I want to be and what I want to do?

”Rigidity – by which I mean the determination that one’s own view is the correct one – can be hard to recognise at first.’^

Rigidity makes me my own worst enemy.

When I relax, though, I hear the thin|silence, sometimes coming from without, sometimes from within – a greater reality, a more generous possibility.

‘The opposite of click moments are planned situations with expected outcomes.  On their own, these don’t generate the chaos and randomness needed to discover new, unique ideas.’^^

It is in the thin|silence – where I am most open-minded, open-hearted, and open-willed – that I find myself most hopeful.  When I am closed – another word for rigid? – the problem is yours, or the system’s, but not mine.  I am the system, though; I am the obstacle.

‘By reinforcing the separation of people from their problems, problem-solving often functions as a way of maintaining the status quo rather than enabling fundamental change … where problems often arise from unquestioned assumptions and deeply habitual ways of acting.’^^

When I deal with my rigidity, I find myself able to pursue my dream and do all that change stuff with my circumstances to accommodate it.

(*From Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(**Musician Stephen Kellogg, quoted in Chris Guillebau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(^From Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)
(^^From Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.)
(*^From Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski,, Otto Scharmer, and Betty Sue Flowers’s Presence.)

we get 365 days a year to do what we love to do

24 boundaries try to

Bonus!: 365+1 in 2016.

Some fear failure so much that they will never risk.

Others have risked and failed and will never risk again.

People like Seth Godin have discovered that to risk often may bring many failures, but there’ll also be successes:

“If I fail more than you do, I win.  Built into this notion is the ability to keep playing.  If you get to keep playing, sooner or later you’re gonna make it succeed.”*

To be aware of something that is important to us, and do nothing, is a primary failure.  Burning questions are a great place to start, but questions need to turn into quests.  An initial question may be enough to carry us across a threshold, but there’s a difference between a threshold and a horizon – we can cross many boundaries and never reach the horizon.

Questions are important because they take us outside our normal, embedded ways of seeing and understanding, into “regions of uncertainty” – an “anchor” preventing us from moving forward:**

‘As in the case of lines, you are likely to stop when you are no longer sure you should go further – at the rear edge of the region of uncertainty.’**

The best questions make it possible for us to reach for the horizon, not just to cross a boundary.

We get at least 365 opportunities a year to ask our questions.  When all of this builds up in a single direction, it becomes a powerful thing.

(*Seth Godin, quoted in Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(**From Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow.)

like celts on the waves

23 the adventure begins

‘The mantra of the traveller is to make peace with waiting.  The mantra of the quester is to keep moving forward.  Whatever it takes, whether facing an immense challenge or spirit-sapping tedium, just keep making progress.’*

The early Celtic missionaries would throw their coracles on the waves and set out on a journey to “who knows where.”  They belief was that wherever they ended up was where their God wanted them to be.

There’s a lot more to their example than “blind faith”  and maybe more than the Celts even realised.

For a start, they didn’t stay home waiting for something to happen, for a sign to appear.  They assumed they were made to travel to the edges, and they believed the waters would carry them there.  After that, they were prepared to accommodate the complexities of currents, weather systems, and whatever else awaited them.

We humans are strange creatures.

In one moment, we arrest activity in order  to reflect upon our breathing.  In another moment, we are walking the earth, scanning the horizon, and dreaming of the future.

Another way of saying this is that we are divergent, emergent, convergent people.**

We open ourselves to more possibilities, we sense the future calling in some of these possibilities and not others, and then we focus our skills on making something happen.

This is the adventure of opening our minds to more, opening our hearts to what is calling us, then opening our wills to craft the future.^

Being a dramatic journey rather than theatrical one, we do not know what lies ahead.

Frans Johansson adds more nuance to this exploration when he describes the crafting of randomness, including: connecting with more people (elements of divergence/opening minds); making more bets (elements of emergence/opening hearts); and, actually doing stuff in a complex world (elements of convergence/opening wills to prototype and create).^^

(*From Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(**See Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo’s Gamestorming.)
(^See Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)
(^^See Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.)

edgecraft: a new frontier

22 the edge is

When we use our gifts fast, we create possibilities.*

These gifts are the creativity that follow our unique ways of seeing; because of this they are random, unexpected, serendipitous.**

They’re the means of “prophetic imagination,” taking us from the centre to the edge – prophets are edgecraft people. Our curiosities and questions propel us to the edge of the bubble and across thresholds, into the undefined, and into possibility.  The bubble is what we create to resist the random, where predictability rules, where laws are laws and everything aligns – and also “despairing conformity.”^

From “I-in-me,” past “I-in-it,” to “I-in-you,” and onwards into “I-in-us,” we move towards the emerging future.^  Small groups of such imaginative people do not worry about their size, only about their openness to one another:

“The part is a place for the presenting of the whole.”^^

What is your gift?  How fast are you using it?  Who are you connecting to?  How fast are you employing your eco-gift?*^

‘[W]hat I am saying is that randomness should be the plan. … This approach only works if we can not only increase the amount of randomness in our lives but also capture it when it present something amazing.’**

(*Gift, element, art, genius, calling, purpose, strengths, 
(**From Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.)
(^A term used by Walter Brueggemann in The Prophetic Imagination.)
(^From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)
(^^Henri Bartoft, quoted in Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, Otto Scharmer, and Betty Sue Flowers’s Presence.)
(*^From oikos – the whole house.)