this is it


‘Curation is the ultimate method of transforming noise into meaning.*

This is it is more a direction of life you have come to than a specific action.

Identifying your talents, allowing yourself to dream, embracing and understanding the experiences of your life means you have become a curator , able to say, “That is it, that’s who I want to be, that’s what I want to be about.”

It is your emerging future and now you are stepping into it.

No longer that this is it and a new journey begins.

(*From Rohit Bhargava’s Non-Obvious.)


a place to prosper


‘The way we pay attention – the place from which we operate – is the blind spot in all levels of society.’*

Our place of prospering involves being more aware of ourselves and not so focused on others.  Hillary Rettig warns us about  perfectionist comparison:

“[We will] always come out on the losing end of any comparison – because the point of perfectionist comparison is not to yield useful insight, but to serve as another useful club to bash yourself over the head with to try to coerce yourself into more productivity.’**

We need to be able to value what we can do.  The more important question is: What am I doing when I find myself prospering?  Including who am I working with or for, why am I doing this, and when – as in, am I beginning something, developing, or completing something,?

Where you are now – who you are, your talents, your dreams, and your life-experiences all define your unique place to prosper.

I’m just excited about what you will do when you find this.

(*From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)
(**Hillary Rettig, quoted in Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)

escaping the stone


‘The forward leaning posture is teachable.’*

‘Stories are powerful.   Because we all become the stories we tell ourselves.’**

Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures in the Accademia Gallery in Florence provide us with a picture of human becomings, struggling to be free.


Steve Peters, originator of the term “chimp paradox,” believes our evolutionary past still holds sway over us today.  Perhaps there’s even a connection between how male and female chimps behave with empire building. As my friend Alex McManus would say, we are the slave-making species.  It’s things like this that have led people like naturalist David Attenborough to describe the human species as a plague on this planet.

This is only part of the picture, though: Attenborough pointing this out is saying something about how we know we can be something else.  We’re the infinitely learning species, able to learn and behave in new ways, even empires learned to ‘adopt ideas, norms and traditions from wherever they found them’^  But again, this only part of the picture.

We’re capable of so much more.  Brave people have been forged as they have taken on the elements or some great human or planetary need, and we are all called by birth to be explorers of shaping a better future for all, making it possible for everyone to bring their very best not only to other humans but to the planet of which we are a part rather than apart.

In these ways we are learning to lean into the future, we are learning how to tell a better story.

(*From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck.)
(**From Tom Asacker’s The Business of Belief.)
(^From Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)

when we notice the small things


‘Individualism in a gift economy inheres in the the right to decide when and how to give the gift.’*

‘The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness.  The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition.’**

There is something beautiful each of us has to bring into the world.  Only you can decide what this is for you.  Whether it is something you make, or the way you relate with with people, or the thinking you bring – or some combination of these.

When I look back, I see many people who have helped me to identify what it is I believe and feel I must do.

From within a group of people I am meeting with weekly right now, exploring opening mind and heart and will, someone shared how we all need someone to help us stay focused on what it is we must do.  I would add, this person needs to be able to see more, the small things we do but may not notice:

“Little things in life supplant the “great events”.”^

To notice more, to feel more, to do more.

‘If your actions lead people to dream more, learn more, and become more, your are a leader.’^^

For leader, read dreamwhisperer.

(*From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)
(**From Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)
(^Peter Altenberg in the Paris Review, 17/10/13.)
(^^From Bob Harri’s The International Bank of Bob.)



It’s being reported that the Earth has lost half its wildlife in the last forty years.  Even if this were only half true it would be catastrophic.

The cause?


We’re a dangerous species using the resources of one-and-a-half planets and not living in as nearly a safe place when we think we are.

‘Sapiens instinctively divide humanity into two parts, ‘us’ and ‘them’.’*

It’s possible that it was the Roman historian Tacitus who fabricated the Scottish chief Calgacus, reporting him as saying of the Roman Empire: ‘to plunder, slaughter and robbery they give the lying name of empire; they make a desert and call it peace’.*

While empire brings standardisation and wipes out distinctiveness, it’s a double-edged sword as it also brings together people who would have normally been enemies.  We have the tendency to count ourselves as the most important: there are Dinku people in Sudan – dinku means people.  Their enemy are the Nuer people – which means original people.  In Alaska and Siberia there are the Yupiks – meaning real people.  Yuval Noah Harari names us the xenophobic species.

There are smaller empires, too, including those who seek to control others by manipulating.  Donald Miller names five kinds of manipulator: the scorekeeper who controls the score, the judge who’s always right, the hero who promises to deliver the future, the fearmonger who rules by fear, and the flopper who controls by seeking sympathy and attention.**  None of us are exempt from trying some of these out from time to time.

‘Gifts are best described, I think, as anarchist property.’^

What is the human future?

Personally, I don’t think we’ve seen the best of us yet.

WD-40 is the lubricant spray in a yellow and blue tin most of us will have had sight of at some time in our lives.  The name stands for Water Displacement – 40th formulation.  There were thirty-nine other formulas that didn’t work.  How many human formulations have we seen – depending on how we measure this.  Have we got to our 40th?  I don’t think it’s so much a time thing.  There have been those throughout history, from all walks of life and of different beliefs, who’ve lived, somehow, a more human life.   Those whose lives have been more about service – their gift – than about trying to control or empire build.  I’m not sure we’ll ever see the end of empires, but those who are disruptive are a significant force, improving life for everyone.

These words are from Ratan Tata who built his own empire but later in life came to see the value of failure (replace the word company with human race and employees with people):

“Failure is a gold mine.  It’s the only way to foster innovation, keep the company fresh and reward employees for trying new theories.”^^

(*From Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)
(**See Donald Miller’s Scary Close.)
(^From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)
(^^From Linda Rottenberg’s Crazy is a Compliment.)

when life becomes presence


Where did the time go?  I was 16 not long ago and now I’m 57.

I find myself wondering.  If I could lives these years again, knowing what I know now, how would I use them?

Today is what I have.  Today is my opportunity to live the years again.

“Hurry is an unpleasant thing in itself, but also for whoever is around it.  Some people came into my room and rushed in and rushed out and even when they were there they were not there – they were in the moment ahead or the moment behind.  Some people who came in for a moment were all there, completely in the moment.”*

‘any experience can become the basis of a new offering that elicits a transformation’**

‘all relationships are teleological … they’re going somewhere’^

When we are fully present, any experience can become transformative for us and for others.

At the beginning of each day, I read random scripts from many sources, bringing together different ideas, and forming something I didn’t see at the beginning of my reading and reflecting.  Through the day, I will find myself in a number of conversations, in and around work, that’ll allow new things to come if I am present.  These new things are adjacent possibilities.

Even now, wherever you’re reading this, because of the experiences through your years, the skills and talents you’ve developed, and the curiosities and passions you carry with you, there’re so many possibilities for how to live these.  You only need to be present to them, and to this end, you have today.

“The beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore them.  Each new combination opens up the possibility of new combinations.”^^

I am still a learner in the ways of being open to these.

‘at the end of the conversation, you realise you are no longer the person you were when you started the conversation.   You have connected to a deeper source – to the source of who you really arena to have a sense of why you are here’*^

Steve Peters writes about the chimp paradox we carry around inside our lives.  The chimp doesn’t like the unfamiliar one bit, will always close down possibilities of the new.  The chimp is into fight, flight, or freeze – each of which is an absencing practice.  We have our human minds to overcome the desire to be somewhere safe, but I think we need more than our minds alone, we need our hearts too.

We must learn to listen with our hearts most of all because it is the generator lying between our heads and our hands.

It is how we are most excited to be present.

(*Anne Morrow Lindbergh, quote in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Joseph Pine and James Gilmore’s The Experience Economy.)
(^From Donald Miller’s Scary Close.)
(^^Stephen Johnson, quoted in Peter Diamandis and Steve Kotler’s Abundance.)
(*^From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)

slow people


I’m rushing.  There’s no bus, so I may as well use the time to walk a few stops.  So much to do today and time is running away from me.

But it’s okay.  I’ve been working in slow time already and I offer the following slow thinking.

Life is made up of fast journeys and slow journeys.  We need both.  When one is missing we have a problem, though, I think the biggest problem is when the slow journey is missing.

“Creativity is the product of “wasted” time.”*

Some years ago, I found myself offering “My life is a slow journey in the same direction” as a description of my life.  I was trying to say, I’m a slow learner, I take a lot of time to get things right, but it’s come to mean more than this.

Slow journeys are about who we are becoming.  We all have slow journeys.  We all escape busyness in some way or other, a reaction or response to all the busyness.

Not all slow is the same, and I have come to realise that I can choose what this slowness looks like.  Slow needs to be small, repeatable.  It also needs to be adaptive and imaginative.

This kind of slow is small in a day and big over a lifetime.

It’s not about techniques, though may use, and even invent, them; it’s really about a story or a life process – like a journey.  It understands how it needs reference points beyond the Self, that there is no Self without these other ideas, people, environments.

(*Albert Einstein, quoted in Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)

reembodying life


‘When so much of our interaction with other people and with our environment is mediated by the invisible, the visible seems less worthy of our attention.’*

‘When we talk to robots, we share thoughts with machines that can offer no such resistance,  Our stories fall, literally, on deaf ears.  If there is meaning, it is because the person with the robot has heard him- or herself talk aloud.’**

Maybe four or five years ago, I was part of a cohort shaping four environments of communication (oral, print, broadcast, and digital), each separated by liminal space.^  We then offered ourselves as guides to others as they explored the nature of these environments, from the village fire – where, for terns of thousands of years, people would talk to each other, though there would would be only small – all the way to the digital where people message each other – though there worlds are huge.

I’d sign off as guide by suggesting to each group that they now knew things others did not – knowing how to live with the most valuable elements of each age of communication.

We know this isn’t the reality.   We’re clumsy users of technology, walking into each other because we on our smartphones as we walk down the street, or we send a text when once we’d pick up the phone, or actually meet another person.  The “so much more to conversation, print, and image are being lost to us.

I am clumsy too, disembodied and disconnected from my visible worlds by invisible ones – you may be in front of me, but I look at my phone when it buzzes.

Some will turn their backs on technology, but I want to learn how to be more creative in how I use it, with others learning how to value the oral, print, and, even, the broadcast ages towards a more connected future.

(*From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(**From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(^These were based on Rex Miller’s The Millennium Matrix.)

a useful lament


‘An artist is someone who brings new thinking and generosity to his work, who does human work that changes another for the better.’*

‘Several forces seem to be driving this global shift [the revolution from within]: the birth of civil society as a global force, the rise of the creative class, and the emergence of a new spirituality.’**

It is important to lament: to feel some grief or sorrow deeply until it changes us.

When we don’t lament long enough at something that is wrong or painful, it’s too easy to do nothing.

When we are caught in continuous lamenting, it’s too easy to do nothing.

Hope comes when we are moved to imaginatively and creatively make some change; perhaps first of all on our own, and then together with others.

I have hope in the future because of what each of us is capable of doing.

(*From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)
(*From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)

wave-particle people


‘[A]ll matter has a “wave-particle duality,” sometimes acting as a particle and sometimes acting as a wave.’*

Most of what we know about the universe, we we’ve uncovered with the aid of instruments which extend our limited senses – including we now know that we exist within this wave-particle duality at the sub-atomic level.

It’s an interesting life-metaphor and, of course, we need no realities for a healthy life, though, most of the time, we can’t see how we are both particle and wave people

Sometimes we’re at rest, very much in one place; other times we are in many places at the same time.

We can physically be somewhere else, but thinking of home.  Or at home thinking of somewhere else.  Then we can we thinking of somewhere else and connecting with what happened there once upon a time, in some art or science or thinking or movement of people.

Our discovery has been that time is relative.  We can make great journeys of imagining or remembering and return younger than we ought to be.  It could possibly be that these imagining and dreaming journeys make us younger at heart than those who avoid them.

There’s another time-bending effect that occurs when we’re pursuing the things we love.  We speed time up – able to act faster and whisper more softly; these wave-effects presenting the particle-possibilities of ‘transformation, friendship, or love’.**

(*From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(**From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)