Forgiveness is a creative activity or nothing at all. If you don’t ‘build’ it, it won’t matter if they come.

August 14, 2014

You can only truly forgive someone when you first create an opening  within yourself  so that if they choose to try to move forward they will discover in you an adequate ‘space’ to repent and move on a healthier course.

The opening you build may never be used by them, but you will at least have a window open so that air can come in and freshen your ‘house’.

 

 

Stooping to Greatness – Reflections on Life and Business

August 8, 2014

Stooping to Greatness – Reflections on Life and Business.

Stooping to Greatness – Reflections on Life and Business

August 7, 2014

The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health.

This is the first sentence from Chapter One of Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage – Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. I believe it to be true,  and really think anyone who plays a leadership role anywhere, ought to seriously consider what he writes to begin the book. We all play leadership roles somewhere, even if it is just for ourselves as we run our own lives.

Regarding this single greatest advantage, he continues:

… it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants to do it…If it sound absurd, it should. After all, why in the world would intelligent human beings ignore something that is so powerful and accessible? 

The question was finally answered for me on July 28, 2010. 

I was attending a client’s leadership conference, sitting next to the CEO. This wasn’t just any company. It was, and still is, one of the healthiest organizations I have ever known and one of the most successful enterprises of the past fifty years. In an industry plagued with financial woes, customer fury, and labor strife, this amazing company has a long history of growth and economic success, not to mention financial customer loyalty. Moreover, its employees love their jobs, their customers, their leaders. When compared to others in the same industry, what this company has achieved is almost baffling. 

As I sat there at the conference listening to one presentation after another highlighting the remarkable and unorthodox activities that made this organization so healthy, I leaned over and quietly asked the CEO a semirhetorical question: ” Why in the world doesn’t your competition do any of this?”

After a few seconds, he whispered, almost sadly, ” You know, I honestly believe they think it’s beneath them.”

And there it was.

I have also seen this at the individual and family level in my work as a psychotherapist. The people who improve under my care and maintain their gains all have one thing in common – they establish their mental health or wellness as their top priority. They stop taking it for granted for the rest of their lives. This may seem like an obvious thing to do for someone who is suffering enough to  take  time and money to see a mental health practitioner, but it is not so easy for the many folks who think they are in therapy just to get back to who they used to be before mental health issues set in. They forget that the same person that seemed so strong because they weren’t  struggling with mental health issues also made the decisions that failed to prevent  their current mental health difficulties.

They idealize how they were before mental health challenges struck, and they just can’t bring themselves  to stoop down from their lofty view of their former self and do the new things it takes to achieve and maintain true wellness.

Even if they get better, and many do because they make a surge of effort for a limited time, they remain at high risk for relapse if they do not keep their mental health priority number one.

Sadly, this can reinforce their idealization of themselves before their first mental health episode, and the pattern continues.

 

I imagine organizational leaders fall into similar ruts for similar reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking telepathic communication. One at a time please.

August 2, 2014

:)

The cure to cognitive cancer has to be organic in business and at home

August 2, 2014

Types of cancer tend to be named after the organs where they grow, so the term cognitive cancer seemed apt for this article.

The roots of the words organized and organic are the same – organ.  In a healthy system,  organs receive messages, serve a function in a greater system of organs, and send messages to other organs  in that system. Organs organize organically into organ systems :)  So organs have sub-organs, including organs of perception that receive messages and organs of communication that send them.

The questions how , where, when, and  what  have to be constantly asked and answered by our organs of perception and communication. It all has to be organized according to sequence, degree, type, quantity, periodicity, and other variables. Just contemplating how your own body does without any conscious effort on your part is mind-boggling.

Cancer is a system of mass replication that does not serve the greater system. It is organic, but it does not serve the whole system, even though it depends on it to survive and grow. Cancer only serves itself, however shortsighted that is as it kills the system that sustains it.

Generally speaking, our current cognitive systems are very susceptible to cancerous growths.  Just one thought can begin to take you in a cognitive direction resulting in the sorts of actions that end in a destination that some would even call hellish. Some people are psychologically loaded with cancer and their existence is like a hell to them.  We can catch their cancer just by spending time with them and responding unskillfully to the messages their cancer ridden system sends us. Most of us have psychological cancer to some degree.  We know that our physical bodies are fighting cancer cells all the time usually successfully.  Our minds require us to have an immune system for cognitive processes as well.

How do we maintain healthy psychological immune system?  Taking care of our physical and mental organs and organ systems and those of others offers a way to rid ourselves of psychological cancers. Just focusing on curing our own cancer allows us to work on one end of our psychological cancerous ‘tumors’.  Since cognitive cancer is fully pathologically selfish, it will thrive in us if we only focus on our own betterment. Not just about adhering to moral standards,  there is a simple technical reason for unselfishness. Organs of perception that are only self-referential begin to atrophy for lack of diverse stimulation. The whole system weakens and becomes more susceptible to cancerous growth.

So this is where higher consciousness begins to take on some very practical importance to human beings and their endeavors. If you have a higher vantage point you can achieve a broader or more in-depth ability to receive messages from the environment and make better informed decisions to not only fight cancer but develop healthily. Higher consciousness is even more important in a world where we have developed such powerful technologies that serve us but can also destroy us. The human element, the organic element,  is the only way to achieve and sustain higher levels of consciousness that our survival requires in an increasingly complex world.  Without it, enamored of our new found technological efficiency, we risk the temptation of falling into replication thinking to solve our problems – throwing (fill in the  blank ) at problems: logic, technology, data, analysis, skepticism, money, passion, detachment,  formulas, etc.  Despite the best of intentions, the result will be that cognitive cancers will grow in our minds at the expense of our families,  organizations and our individual mental health.

So what do we do?

Almost all of us need folks who have achieved higher consciousness than we have to develop healthily. We did as children, and we do now.   If these people exist, you can be assured that they are organized and looking for qualified candidates for their efforts.  Their methods are certainly organic and not at all something we can predict or manage at our current level. We have to be open to the signals they might already be sending.

These are our teachers.  They are not always who we expect them to be. Only their humility, and ours, can keep the right messages flowing for the right purposes at the right times to the right people. It all has to be aligned, and everyone can’t just have anything they want whenever they want. This is not a mass replication. We are human beings.

Our businesses need these qualified teachers and students. Our families need them too.

Teacher or student, and we are all both really, GK Chesterton’s quote applies to each of us:

We are all in the same boat, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”

 

 

 

 

 

Conspiracy theorists are actually all united in a grand conspiracy to drive us all bonkers

August 2, 2014

Next time you hear about a conspiracy from someone, you can ‘outclever’ them by pointing out that you know all their talk is just a cover for the real conspiracy they are hatching.

They can’t fool you ;)

Open eyes are not always enough – gotta open ‘em ‘wider’

July 29, 2014

Antonio de Mairena

from Juan de Mairena

 

To see things as they are, the eyes must be opened; to see things as other than they are, they must be even wider; to see things as better than they are, they must be open to the full. 

 

At a recent family meeting my wife came up with the idea of each of us thinking of three positive things that happened that day or the previous day.  We started this morning when I sent an email with my three things to her, and my son (16) and daughter (18).  So far, my wife has replied with her three.

It felt weird, but it felt good. I had to open my eyes wider.

We are trying to get out of a rut.

Break the closed door staring habit and open doors will seem to miraculously appear.

July 28, 2014

This title was inspired by Helen Keller’s quote  below from We Believed -

 

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. 

 

Pondering the antidote for the human pride problem is humbling

July 27, 2014

 

Pride is really a human tendency to want to dominate a situation, to gain something. It is not bad in and of itself. It is important enough to our survival as a species to persist in us despite the hazards it creates. It makes me think of how recessive genes for sickle cell anemia offer immunity to malaria, but when two recessive genes combine in one person, it becomes a painful, debilitating, and deadly disease.

Humility has survival value too, as it has also persisted.  It is in constant use by those who are already worthy of employing it as a pathway to real learning, execution and contribution to betterment. Otherwise it rejects our efforts and in so doing invites  us to step back and retrace some preliminary steps we have not really understood yet.

It won’t insist though. Humility never insists. In so many human efforts, pride will rush in and seem to help us get our bearings. By that point, humility has already stepped back. It has done its job  and we have just failed to heed its guidance.  Humility will let us flounder about uselessly guided by pride until we become exhausted.

Meanwhile, not capable of anything on its own, our pride bounces back by insisting on taking credit for the  fruits of humility. And often not even the fruits of our own humility, but someone else’s.

But ultimately our pride will render us incapable of even utilizing those fruits.

So the meek really shall inherit the earth. I just hope pride doesn’t render earth  a place no longer worth  inheriting.

 

 

 

We first raise the dust and then claim we cannot see. George Berkeley

July 26, 2014

Born in the 17th century, there is plenty about George Berkeley’s life and work that don’t really fit into the 2014 mindset. We are conditioned to see contradictions between his viewpoints, but this quote perhaps can serve as a warning not to let our post-modern ‘dust’ get kicked up to blind us as we consider his contributions.   He was a Christian apologist, and even has a feast day in the Episcopal Church, and yet his empirical philosophy is widely recognized as opening the way to the work of  philosophers Kant and Hume, and the scientist Einstein.

 


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