The delegation game

All that is required to be free from the ego is to be aware of it, since awareness and ego are incompatible.*
(Eckhart Tolle)

Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen.  We can be authors of them.**
(Chip and Dan Heath)

Curiosity can be delegated.  Interest and intent focus, too.

With these go our greater imagination, collaboration, risk-taking, achievement, impact and contributed beauty.

But you’re here, with everything you are and have, and it would be a great shame not to do something with that that you’re unaware of right now, before it’s too late:

‘You don’t need a permit or a blessing or any sort of permission to decide to take your turn.  You only have to open your eyes and look.  And then choose.’

The things that we should leave to others are those they love to do and we don’t.

The things we must never delegate are what we are capable and impassioned to do.

(*From Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)
(**From Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments.)
(^From Seth Godin’s What To Do When It’s Your Turn.) Continue reading

The loss of prehension

Every missed rite of passage led to a new rigidification of the personality, a lessening ability to see, to adjust, to understand, to let go, to be human.’*
(Richard Rohr)

Boredom, daydreaming, a good book, building in three dimensions, interactivity with other humans – these are precious skills, skills that are being denied kids that are simply given a plate of chicken fingers and a tablet instead.**
(Seth Godin)

We find ourselves in an astonishing world with our incredible consciousness.

We are capable of taking things that exist and imagining them into something quite different.

This has certainly spiralled in our recent history.  What had once been available to a few is now made available to the many, beginning with education and most obviously in technology.   However accessibility brings with it the danger of mindlessness.  Ben Hardy writes:

‘If you’re mindless, then you don’t notice nuance.’^

Seth Godin fears we are becoming “digital zombies.”**

Richard Sennett is perhaps describing something we are losing when he describes prehension:

‘Prehension signals alertness, engagement, and risk-taking all in the act of looking ahead […].’

When we notice more, we resist rigidification caused by the rewiring of our brains through technology, our thinking becomes more expansive, adaptive, and, therefore imaginative.

There are some interesting years ahead but I hope they will be interesting because we are exploring new rites of passage that make it possible for people to live analogue-ically as well as digitally, towards what Karen Armstrong reminds us the best myths or meta-stories have always encouraged us towards:

‘The myth of the hero told people what they had to do to unlock their own heroic potential.’^^

(*From Richard Rohr’s Adam’s Return.)
(**From Seth Godin’s blog: The digital divide is being flipped.)
(^From Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)
(^^From Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to A Compassionate Life.)



It doesn’t make sense

A myth was an attempt to express some of the more elusive aspects of life that cannot easily be expressed in logical, discursive speech.*
(Karen Armstrong)

In the absence of data, we will always make up stories.  It’s how we are wired.  In fact, the need to make up a story, especially when we are hurt, is part of our most primitive survival wiring.’**
(Brene Brown)

Everything we do happens through the stories we are living, telling ourselves and making up.

When we know this, we can swap bad ones for good ones.  Of course, we need some help, that’s where we create stories with and for one another.

Be sceptical of those who know what it’s all about.  Go with those who want to explore more:

‘We have received everything, even the opportunity to come to earth and walk awake in this wondrous universe.’^

(*From Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.)
(**From Brené Brown’s Rising Strong.)
(^From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)

Life is a …

Yet I know
that I am a Poet!
I pass you my Poem.

… My Poem is life, and not finished.
It shall never be finished.
My Poem is life, and can grow.*
(Gwendolyn Brooks)

There is no industry, no economy, no market.  Only people.  And people, people can take action if they care.**
(Seth Godin)

Every so often, we get an inkling, an itch, a feeling, an insight that life is more than what it has become.

We may, then, describe life as a story, a game, a poem, a calling, a prayer … :

‘Write a prayer that is worthy of the destiny too which you have been called.’^

Whether we understand that calling to be from the universe or world or god or deep within ourselves or all of these, for a moment we see a little more clearly.

We need to hold on to this and look more closely.

It will soon disappear beneath getting out to work, shopping, school runs, escape at the weekend, the latest twist in some soap opera.

These worlds are not mutually exclusive, but one is more easily lost to the other.  They can exist together into a bigger world.

“We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clearer path to a lesser goal.”^^

(*Gwendolyn Brooks, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings.)
(From Seth Godin’s blog: There is no “the industry.”)
(^From John O Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(^^Robert Brault, quoted in Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)

Leadership worlds

When you make a dream come true for yourself, it’ll be a dream come true for someone else, too.*
(Derek Sivers)

Truth be told, there’s very little leadership these days.  As a result, day to day work is dictated.  Employees engagement and satisfaction is assumed and not cultivated.**
(Brian Solis)

Some think they are leading when they tell others what to do and they do it.

Sometimes this is necessary but not often – it works when it’s a matter of life and death right now.  (Though we also have to recognise, this kind of leadership also creates life and death scenarios.)

The rest of the time there’re many other forms of leadership that can be employed, including leadership like yours.

This way of thinking of leadership sees and hears a bigger story, a deeper story.  One that is about the amazing life we have been afforded in this universe rather than our usual bottom lines.

Henry David Thoreau saw himself standing between two eternities:

‘In any weather, at any hour of day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time […] to stand in the meeting of two eternities the past and future, which is precisely the present moment, to toe that line.’^

The reason we get stuck in the day-to-day repetitive stories that we do is because they’re far more clear than those that ask us to look further and to listen harder.  But when we give ourselves to the latter, another eternity opens, the eternity of the present.

Here’s how Eckhart Tolle puts it:

‘Each person’s life – each life form, in fact – represents a world, a unique way in which the universe experiences itself.  And when your form dissolves, a world comes to an end – one of countless worlds.’^^

And if you are a world then there is much still to be discovered, there’re things about yourself you haven’t seen yet.  You discovering yours will create spaces for others to explore and discover theirs.

And we don’t have to be ready and sorted.

This all happens on the journey.

(*From Derek Sivers: Anything You Want.)
(**From Brian Solis and gapingvoid’s eBook 10 Reasons Your Culture is Failing.)
(^From Henry David Thoreau’s Where I Lived and What I Lived For.)
(^^From Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)

It’s not working

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.’*

In the name of the air,
The breeze,
And the wind,
May our souls
Stay in rhythm
With eternal
(John O’Donohue)

There’s a difference between something you shouldn’t be doing not working and something not working that you must be about.

If you’ve got that worked out don’t be put off if it doesn’t work.  It only means it doesn’t work that way.  You now know to try another way.

And when you have found a way that works, it needs to be practised and honed, to be developed.  It’ll become something else: trying more opens up more.

We think we need to persevere but perseverance is the developed ability of faithfulness to what we know and feel we must be about.

Every time we try something, we’re setting up a context or environment in which we can grow.  There’ll be many signals coming back to us and, when reflected upon, these help us to create the next environment.  These are critically important, as Ben Hardy helpfully passes on:

‘According to the new science of genetics known as epigenetics, the signals from your environment are responsible for your genetic makeup far more than the DNA you were born with.’^

I love exploring what we can become.

Break the finite worldview.  We are made for infinite play.

(*William Hutchison Murray, quoted in Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us: In Praise of Air.)
(^From Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)

Early adoption and overcoming resistance

Pain, discomfort, shock, boredom, imposter syndrome, awkwardness, fear, being wrong, failing, ignorance, look stupid: Your avoidance of these feelings is stopping you from a life greater than your wildest imagination.*
(Ben Hardy)

There is an early adopter in each of us.

Early adopters are those who see or hear something new and, “getting it,” come on board before the mass.

We can’t be early adopters for everything but we can each be an early adopter at something significant.

The thing is, it doesn’t come without difficulty and resistance.

I have mentioned before how, when I read about Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures, I knew I had to see them “in the stone.”

They stand in the same gallery as Michelangelo’s David, but it was they that made me want to make the journey and not the finished product of David.

For Michelangelo, beneath the surface of the marble, there lay a person.  He would stop taking away the stone when he came to their “skin.”

From “Slow Journeys in the Same Direction,” my doodle from the pictures I took of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures

Here is my picture of early adoption and resistance.  To find the early adopter within, we must face and overcome the resistance.

Yet everything changes when we commit, when we not only hear or see something that is meaningful to us but we also begin:

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.’**

There is no other way.

We must begin.

Otherwise, you may be reading something like this in five years time and realise you have done nothing about what matters to you most of all.

Or you can take on the resistance.

(*From Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)
(**William Hutchison Murray, quoted in Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

And why are we joyful?  Because that is who we are.  This is how the gods designed us to be.  Producers.  Makers.  Artists.  Effective.*
(Hugh Macleod)

To be given a new beginning or a start-over is something very special.

To come to the realisation that each of us, as a consequence of our humanity, is capable of imagining, designing and making new beginning, is to know what it is to be alive.

(*From gapingvoid’s blog: Don’t forget to enjoy the ride.)

Let your yes be yes and your no be no now …*

Aware of what’s around us.  Present.  Seeing things clearly, hearing them as if for the first time. […] Seeking a state of awake seems like a worthy quest.  And when we find it, it’s worth cherishing.**
(Seth Godin)

The ability to say yes and no well to the challenges and opportunities requires us to have clarity about who we are and what we want to be about.

It’s hard in an increasingly distracting world and it’s becoming harder … and there isn’t an app to help us.  By all means, let’s use the technology, but alongside this, we need to develop “unwired” skills and disciplines that allow us to listen, to be aware, to know.  The things that will release our imaginations in a different way:

‘The imagination is an essential tool of the mind, a fundamental way of thinking, an indispensable means of becoming and remaining human.’^

Imagination makes possible the creative act of turning information into knowledge into understanding into wisdom.

It opens up human playfulness as a means of proceeding, something the functional-first dimension of technology leaves behind:

‘when utility rules, adults lose something essential in the capacity to think; they lose the free curiosity that occurs in the open, felt-fingering space of play’.^^

(*The Pioneers, Let your yeah be yeah and your no be no now.)
(From Seth Godin’s blog: Simply awake.)
(^Ursula Le Guin, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Redeeming the Imagination.)
(^^From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.  The felt-fingering refers to children playing with felt.)