‘If you’re merely following [shortcuts], you probably won’t get anywhere interesting.’*
‘As the scholastics used to say: Homo non proprie humanus sed superhumanus est – which means that to be properly human, you must go beyond the merely human.’**
I misread the text on a Hugh Macleod doodle: I thought it read “Never lose the way,” it actually read “Never lose the why” but I liked the mistake. Our Why? and our Way have a lot in common. The way changes, disappears, re-appearing – sometimes completely somewhere else. Our Why?, though, helps us through the invisible or hidden. What we discover in the new helps us to avoid complacency and narrow-mindedness. Indeed, it seems we must remain open-minded to have any mind at all.
Mistakes and misinterpretations can be our happy accidents moving us away from shortcuts to the familiar and “Same again.”
I may ask someone a question about how they live out their talents with energy. Their response indicates it’s not the right question. I’ve misinterpreted or misunderstood something they’ve said. I ask another question. It’s still not quite right, but the responses have made me think of something different and I try another question. This time something amazing opens up. Richard Sennett’s words then make a load of sense:
‘A “flamboyant” worker, exuberant and excited, is willing to risk losing control over her or her work: machines break down when they lose control, whereas people make discoveries, stumble on happy accidents.’^
Paulo Coelho also exhorts us to move in this direction:
‘Seek out people who aren’t afraid of making mistakes and who, therefore, do make mistakes […] they are precisely the kind of people who change the world.’^^
We’re looking for Seth Godin’s detours, journeys where unexpected moments happen:
‘This “moment-spotting” habit can be unnatural. In organisations, for examples, we are consumed by goals. […] The goal is the thing.
But for an individual human being, moments are the thing.’*^
(*From Seth Godin’s blog: Actual shortcuts often appear to be detours.)
(**From Eugene Peterson’s Run With the Horses.)
(^From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)
(^^From Paulo Coelho’s Aleph.)
(*^From Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments.)