Ideas are like a viruses and I am blessed to be have been infected with so many powerful ideas in the recent weeks and months. Now it’s my turn to express some of these ideas, thoughts and experiences about growth, which I’ve written in intention to grow more, for those who desire to grow. Read critically, share freely and discuss openly.
Dare to Ask More
Asking is a powerful tool of thinking, that was develop into a method known as Socratic method by ancient philosopher Socrates according to his pupil Aristotle. Socratic method is so powerful way to develop critical thinking skills and still today used to train the minds of states craftsmen, business leaders, sales, doctors and lawyers.
To get more, we need to ask for more, quantitatively and qualitatively. To acquire more power, is matter of asking for more and asking the right questions.
Did you know that in interaction the person who seizes the moment to ask is in fact directing (verb for leading)? Asking can be straightforward, or insightful, you may choose your own herbs.
A common roadblock for not daring or any other brave and courageous behavior (which we would like to do) is most likely in our most primitive emotional systems, which go way back in the evolution. Human brain has the part called amygdala, which has the fight or flight system. Underneath that system is even more ancient system called freeze. In situations where these systems are active, well the more complex systems tend to be limited or shut down completely, out of use. Therefore, we need to master our own emotions, through introspection in order to get more.
To develop this emotional mastery we should ask more straight away, because we need slightly uncomfortable levels of uncertainty and risk in life to make it feel meaningful and enjoyable. Easy is not satisfying.
Notice that questions shouldn’t be aimed around aimlessly. Asking is a way to develop ourselves as the part of society. Questions can serve in dialogue with our inner selves too, thus we can become at the same time be more insightful and less ignorant. “I know that I know nothing” – Socratic paradox.
What is Your Rock?
I work at Trainers’ House and it is a change management company. We help people to achieve measurable results in their change projects, according to our assignment and more.
The time I started was in October 2014, just around the time we announced news of company reorganization. For an outside observer that kind of news and changes seem dark and scary, it seems kind of position you would not rather to be in.
In life necessary changes must be done sooner or later, it’s our choice. If there is no uncomfort, there is unlikely to be any growth.
So board of Trainers’ House decided to do the changes. I had I decided to work there.
Fast forward to the present, Trainers’ House just announced its’ rather positive results from the year 2016. The results are of course results of the culture and how that culture responded to the stress response of change.
More important than the past, is what we are about to do next. We are about to rock!
Here is the next dilemma: what do you understand as rock? Is it a rock. Or is it Rock’ N Roll? Is it Rock music, hard or blues? Who has come up with these definitions anyway?
Understanding is difficult; terms and definitions vary and are understood uniquely through our unique experiences. Therefore what we need is dialogue with ourselves and with others to develop understanding. Ongoing dialogue is necessary for ongoing development and deepening understanding.
“Know thyself” was inscribed to the forecourt of Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Question is who are you? We need better understanding to ask better questions, to lead more effectively, to sell more, to be more, to live more and to give more.
Growing as I mean it is a process of personal acceptance and learning. Growing deepens self-understanding and increases the size of playfield; it does not remove the problems.
There is no problem free life; there are only better problems Mark Manson said in his book. I like that thinking and in the same way we start with our own lives, we start with shit and make that better.
We need to accept our imperfections, ignorance and lack of knowledge. We need to assume more responsibility of life. Because only what we accept exists in our internal world. The more we of our own ignorance we are able to accept; the less we know we know, the more we understand and then the definitions chain us less and less.
This may sound contradictory, and if it does, that’s merely the limitation of language. You already understand and are able to accept that one thing can possess many contradicting qualities at the same time. For example an apple can have two colors and in between them are the shades, where does one color become another, that is the question?
Androgynic mind has the ultimate advantage to be able to accept this kind of contradictions and thus such mind is adaptable and creative. In a society where power is rarely gained through brawling, wit and creativity come in to play. In addition to asking, creativity, learning and caring come into play. Those who learn the quickest and adapt the fastest are the ones who set the terms. Therefore discover your own rock and express it with all the colors!
Rock the World!
You already understand that language is imperfect social construct that attempts to describe this vivid world with plain words. Visuals, such as the color difference is not so limited “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The more of our senses we get involved, the more we are able to “get it.” With limited senses, we make impaired decisions. To leverage this we should aim to create immersive audiovisual experiences more daringly in our attempts to ask and create dialogue.
When we influence each other with differences, our minds are exposed to ideas that spread like a virus and once we become obsessed with that idea we cannot get it out of our system until we start expressing it. Such creative obsession can happen to anyone, or observed with higher frequency in those who identify with the artist identity.
The dialogue with ourselves is in fact breaking down our beliefs, barriers and rearranging them as an identity. Our cognitive capabilities are really limited, so in order to remain relatively “sane”, the changes need to be gradual. I don’t think anyone is sane or insane, well merely I mean the ability to co-operate for a common cause with virtues and best intentions.
Task of breaking down old self and building a new, happens fastest in safe and encouraging environment, where you can test your strength with the challenges and yet receive support and treatment when you are broken down to pieces. Such is the environment which builds strong identities which are ready to be broken down again and again, only to be restructured.
Such is the tale of phoenix, to die in order to be reborn again. Phoenix sounds cool right? I thought so too, until I started to read about uncertainty and in particular the Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile. He defines the legendary phoenix merely as resilient, which too sounds good, yet it is merely resilient. Phoenix merely is the same, while the mythical Hydra grows stronger each time it is faced with adversity.
To my shame, I’ve not yet finished the book, yet upon writing this I realize that for an identity to thrive, we must start thinking about growth differently as well. It is not enough to go head to head against adversity and be reborn; we need to grow exponentially stronger from it and only then we are harnessing our potential to the fullest.
In identity or organizational level what would be the main fuel source if we were to be antifragile? To simply put waste. Circulation economy already knows about this. Traditional manure or to simply to shit (as Leila Hoteit puts it), separates the antifragile from the resilient and the fragile. Where resilient merely is destroyed and born again, or fragile broken down, antifragile grows stronger.
What are the most significant differences between entities which become antifragile and who are not? Creativity, because we are capability to that genius of creativity that can turn shit into fuel. Creativity is trained through understanding and questions.
Those who do not ask questions remain passive and fragile, while those who are highly creative constantly question and thus train themselves and others to tune in with reality.
When we accept reality, responsibility and operate from where we are, we can actually start navigating somewhere.
Rock has heavy associations with decadent and fragile culture. It has given a lot in terms of fragile glass cannons, yet it continues to be heavily tangled with associations as drugs, sex and rock n roll.
Like it had been long with psychology, that we did focus for a long time to treating symptoms rather than understanding how we can actually increase our happiness and help people flourish. I think there is similar kind of big leap potential with the rock.
If the rock is already so awesome, how awesome life then would be?
Creativity certainly sparks from differences and most importantly tolerance for differences. Nine of the world’s history’s most creative cities have all embraced the differences from Alexandria to the Silicon Valley. So I am all in for all kinds of lifestyles, cultures, languages and all that!
To be really able to rock sustainably, we need to be more daring. I am talking about Gandhi level courage, here.
Power corrupts. It’s not like the mythological Hydra was particularly nice creature either. There is a story about how exponential growth devours and corrupts on Medium, which is exactly the kind of dialogue we need.
If we are to grow, we need to grow exponentially in our willingness to take responsibility first: success comes to those who can provide it to others.
For organizations and individuals; What is your motivation and purpose to grow? What are your values? How do the values show in your actions? Virtues are values in action. To have values, we must be prepared to sacrifice something for them. We must know our yes, in order to say as William Ury puts it.
“If we all were to take effort in virtues; community and we ourselves would have the best of life.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Let’s compete in virtue.
As I mentioned, the ideas and spirit to write this to me has come through the events of the recent weeks. Ideas themselves are age old, inherited, infected, however I’ve to thank Jari Sarasvuo for directly sparking, clarifying, repeating and reminding many of the most many crucial ideas such as the daring beginning point in this article. Trainers’ House I’ve to thank for the another core part called Rock ‘n’ Roll and the context, values and environment to practice the philosophy, so thank you Trainers’ House and all the colleagues who I’ve had chance to breathe the same air.
My sense of rock would be more like Aerosmith – Dream On.