Bigger people

Will cannot run very far ahead of knowledge, and attention is our daily bread.*
(Iris Murdoch)

You are good when you are one with yourself. […] In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness: and that longing is in all of you.**
(Khalil Gibran)

Someone close has not had a good experiencing of leaving her work. It got me thinking about how easy it is just to express goodness and kindness to someone. It’s there inside each of us so we must ask, what’s preventing it from coming out?

Khalil Gibran answers someone asking about good and evil in this way:

‘Of the good in you I can speak, but not of evil For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst.’**

We have to feed our goodness. Seth Godin suggests that:

‘when you are bearing a grudge, it’s difficult to open your arms to the possibility that’s all around us’.^

Whether an individual or organisation, not feeding our goodness has other implications. Bernadette Jiwa reflects on the lives of a number of innovative people – Einstein, Jobs, Dyson, Fleming:

Yes, these were smart people, but their discoveries and innovations were born from their prolonged practice of being curious, empathetic, and imaginative.’^^

Crazy. Something that costs us so little, but, when missing, robs us of so much.

Theory U identifies three turnings or thresholds required to arrive at a place of greater imagination, implying that goodness is indeed something we can learn and feed:

When we turn from judgement (closed minds) to openness;
When we turn from cynicism (“it may be important but who cares”) to compassion;
When we turn from fear (“this has implications”) to courage.

Our daily bread, Iris Murdoch suggests, is Attention. Noticing more, more deeply, as Youngme Moon points out:

‘what matters [more is not] what you are looking at, but how you have committed to see’.*^

It’s how we become bigger people.

(*From Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good.)
(**From Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet.)
(^From Seth Godin’s blog: You can’t be curious and angry at the same time.)
(^^From Bernadette Jiwa’s Hunch.)
(*^From Youngme Moon’s Different.)

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