It’s, like, this, or, it’s like this

Put simply, epigenetics is showing that who a person becomes is based far more heavily on which genes are present.  And gene expression is based in large part on environmental signals and choices.  Thus, a person’s biology is not fixed, but highly fluid and malleable.  It’s an exciting and empowering message.*
(Ben Hardy)

Never stop looking for what is not there.**
(“Monte Wildhorn”)

I like the the word “like,” but it’s increasingly used to replace “er” or a pause or silence (   ) in speech.

Like has a much more interesting use, though.

When we delve into the unsure, unknown, unfamiliar, discovering something new or different, we have to liken it to something.  It’s the only way we can understand and communicate it.  I found myself doing this yesterday when someone asked me about dreamwhispering: “Well, it’s a little like coaching and mentoring but it’s different, too …”.

I think it also comes into play when someone is talking about their potential.  Ben Hardy’s opening words tell us that potential is quite a tricky thing to know.  Our potential looks different in different environments.  He shares how he began discovering things about himself he never knew when he moved into a more challenging environment:

‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  And thus, I was unaware of the latent potential within me.  Moreover, I was unaware of what true productivity could look like.’*

If you can describe your potential to me then you probably don’t know your potential.  You only know what it looks like where you are now.  It’s more than this, I know, because everyone has way more potential than they know.  We need to move into more challenging environments to discover how much more, the kind of more that leaves us floundering for ways of describing it: “Well it’s a little like this …” we say.

Graham Leicester and Bill Sharpe describe well the uncertainty, and so, the possibilities of the future when they write:

‘a landscape of uncertainty, in which we too are actors’.^

Those who adapt and learn to play in such an uncertainty will become transformative innovators, those who will bring the future into view, those willing to explore the uncertainty of “er” and (   ):

“I and this mystery, here I stand.”^^

It doesn’t have to be big but there’s definitely something beyond this now.  Something that we’ll only be able to describe in the first place as “like this.”

Here’s a blessing for your exploring:

‘May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

[…]

May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.’*^

(*From Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)
(**Morgan Freeman’s Character in the movie The Magic of Belle Isle.)
(^From Graham Leicester’s and Bill Sharpe’s Transforming Higher Education.)
(^^Walt Whitman, quoted in Jonah Lehrer’s Proust was a Neuroscientist.)
(*^From John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us.)

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