Here’s hooping

How much did your organisation spend figuring out its values? […] statistically speaking you have just created a document that will be the source of one of the top five greatest reasons for contempt, demotivation, disloyalty, and turnover in your organisation. […] Organisations list values.  But they don’t live them.  And people hate that. […] They would rather not have organisational values than to see leaders live their opposites.’*
(Nancy Kline)

The ego self is by definition the unobserved self^, because once you see it, the game is over.**
Richard Rohr)

A value that doesn’t lead us into surprise is probably a value not worth having.

When Seth Godin encourages us to make better promises –

‘More generous.  More urgent.  More personal.’^ –

he’s opening up the possibilities for surprising others in a good and healthy way.

I’m re-reading James Carse’s book on finite and infinite games and he writes about how surprise is what the master player of finite games wants to avoid.  Introducing this master player, he writes:

‘It is the desire of all finite players to be Master Players, to be so perfectly skilled that nothing can surprise them, so perfectly trained that every move int he game is foreseen at the beginning.  A true Master Player plays as though the game is already in the past, according to a script whose every detail is known prior to the play itself.’^^

A value seen from the perspective of the finite game’s master player must either have known outcomes or not be allowed to get in the way of the overall outcomes, the only surprise should be their opponent’s:

‘Surprise in finite play is the triumph of the past over the future.’^^

This is not so for the infinite player, with values being their to explore, expand and express:

‘Infinite players, on the other hand, continue their play in the expectation of being surprised.  If surprise is no longer possible, all play ceases.  Surprise causes finite play to end; it is the reason for infinite plays to continue.’^^

So much of what we call learning is in fact training, learning to negotiate the different sizes and colours of hoops:

‘To be prepared against surprise is to be trained.  To be prepared for surprises is to be educated.^^

I hope the reason for the finite player and finite organisation in quashing surprise is only because they’re not finding or making time to notice what is happening and how there’s a better way.  To slow down, to give one another a chance to think and speak and listen, holds out hope rather than hoops and, as Kline points out:

‘Slowing down speeds things up.’*

Here’s a blessing for surprise from John O’Donohue that we can live towards one another:

‘As a bird soars high
In the free holding of the wind,
Clear of the certainty of the ground,
Opening the imagination of wings
Into the grace of emptiness
To fulfil new voyagings,
May your life awaken
To the call of its freedom.’*^

May your life be hoopless.

(*From Nancy Kline’s More Time to Think.)
(**From Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now.)
(^From Seth Godin’s blog: Make better promises.)
(^^From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(*^From John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us: For Freedom.)

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