Allow me to misinterpret that

‘If you’re merely following [shortcuts], you probably won’t get anywhere interesting.’*
(Seth Godin)

‘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.’**
(Eugene Peterson)

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.)


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