Archive for March, 2017

Hope

Posted: March 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

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Sparked by a comment on twitter (for a change) I found myself clinging onto the word hope.  I say clinging because I guess when all seems against you or you are feeling a bit dour or a nightmare is unfolding, hope may seem like all you have.

And yet hope is such a strong word.  To dismiss it as naive, overly optimistic, blind and even dumb is potentially dangerous to the one thing we have that is unpredictable, magical and sorrowful at the same time – our very soul (or spirit).

Hope springs eternal – is one way of looking at it.

I can handle the failures, it’s the hope I can’t stand –  is another.

And yet, at times of the greatest adversity, hope can be a mystical energy force.  Where all the logic in the world says “don’t do it” or “you can’t do it” and yet there’s hope in your heart (as the words in the song goes) you do it and you overcome not only the sensation that you can’t or won’t do something but that actual thing itself.

Is hope a pointless and potentially damaging emotion and state of being?  It could be.  Simply hoping that a volcano won’t erupt when you feel the rumbling isn’t much use.  Hoping you can get away to higher ground in time which activates your energy and helps you run quicker to do so is a good state of being.

For surely, without hope, what else is there?  A project plan might help you deliver a crucial new venture.  When faced, in that project, with a challenging negotiation, surely the hope that you will stand your ground and broker the best deal is as essential as having the tactics, the keywords and the outcome very precisely crafted. If you have hope in yourself, that creates an energy source to clear your mind, work things out logically and activate your most rational sense is a useful emotional and spiritual state to be in.

Fear does the opposite.  It forces you to act in extreme ways.  It forces your level of intellect down by a good few points.  It closes you off to social support.  It freezes your computational power either totally or in part.  Yet it also forces your limbs to be ready to run.  Forces your adrenaline to kick in to handle a sudden expense of physical energy.

So hoping you can stop an impending disaster of force isn’t much use without some serious actions but also fearing you can’t stop that disaster is just as bad.

Hope overcomes fear.  Fear is there from primaeval senses of protection from predatory threats.  

Hope is a new computation for a less predatory and yet more mentally stressing world.

Hope is an ally, not a comfort blanket and not a blackout mechanism.

Sometimes when hope IS all you have, it’s a better energy source than tuning out or giving in.

Or as Dr Martin Luther King Jr said better than I ever could.

We can accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.

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The Power Of One

Posted: March 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

One cross in a box.

One lie after another.

One stupid “newspaper” stirring up hatred.

One day in sunny June.

One big realisation.

One of them.

One resignation.

One vile comment after another.

One stupid decision.

One letter.

One less star.

One empty feeling.

One person.

One slither of hope.

One way to cope.

One conversation after another.

One kind gesture after another.

One step beyond.

One sense of strength.

One by one.

One of us.

One smile.

One again.

One love.

One day.

One.

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The Abundance of Enough

Posted: March 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

“He who finds that enough is enough, will always have enough.” Lao Tzu

One word keeps popping into my mind lately: Enough.

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The excesses of the world, the constant bombardment of more, the obsession with growth.  It never seems like (for many of us) there’s enough.  And I think I’ve had enough of excess.

Can you ever have enough profit; customers; new products; leads; sales; people in your network?  It seems like we’re all being encouraged to be consistently in a state of “not enough”.

There is though, one state of “not enough” I’m a bit obsessed with being in; always having great books to read and insight to gain.  My own learning is, I heartily accept, never enough for me. I will always want to learn more.

Then there are people. I’ve realised an enough here. This was the slightly more troubling thing for me, though.  I like people, having them around, being able to help others and feel part of something with people.  

Anthropologist and social psychologist Robin Dunbar’s oft-quoted number of 150 people with whom you can have a stable relationship with, has always intrigued me.  In some ways, I think I’ve tried to disprove this a little (where I’m concerned of course, not the entire theory) yet I am now firmly of the opinion his theory isn’t just right, it’s better to have a lot less than this in your life at any one time.  A case of fewer, deeper connections and make sure there’s enough in those relationships for you and the people involved.

I read an article recently that may be familiar to many of us and it goes like this.

STARTS

D was a highly regarded and very socially outgoing person.  He had a natural tendency to be both random and deliberate about who he connected to, spent time with and worked with.  He was often in demand, called upon and not short of people who wanted to “pick his brain”.

He was – in Adam Grant’s parlance – a Giver.  He met F through working with a client and she seemed like she was very similar.  Deeply philosophical in her way and he respected and admired that.  They didn’t so much join forces as held a curious and respectful approach towards each other.  S, T and M also appeared around this time and formed a friendship with F.  They all, in some way, got involved in D’s work.  D was generous – sharing time, opportunities and grew to enjoy having this small band around him.  

Then it changed.  Distance, coldness, aloof periods of silence.  The odd tone in emails that followed up on things and checked in on how people were.

They’d had enough of D it seemed.  They didn’t seem to like his way anymore and had a very odd approach to him when they appeared in person at events and gatherings.  So D backed away.  He confided in his good friend (who knew them all) and she couldn’t offer any explanation except on the face of it, it seemed like there was a clique formed and D wasn’t needed or felt appropriate to be part of that clique.

The story goes that D took a deep sense of personal reflection and realised something: he’d had enough.  Enough of people taking his openness, trust and generosity for granted.  And that he had enough people already in his life who deserved and respected him.  He didn’t waste time in pursuing any of the 4 others to find out what happened.

In the story, F is still odd with D – witnessed by the odd snarky comment on his blog.  S, T and M are completely silent (and not so tight with F anymore or perhaps even each other – D didn’t know and no longer cared).

Then it happened again.  With W and R.  Two friends, so D thought, who happily took and offered nothing in return except to form an alliance themselves and seemingly disregard D from that.  D did challenge W and R and they knew the error of their ways yet they’d let D down and he felt lost for a while because of it.

It seems then, that people can get enough from you and casually cast you aside, take you for granted or worse still, know something is wrong by you and do it anyway.

It was a mildly sad series of incidents but the conclusion in the article from D was that he had settled on enough.  He ALREADY had enough.  He wasn’t going to seek out any more of what he knew he already had. Sure others would come along, and D would inevitably give again and again.

D talks of his filtering mechanism now being more tuned.  He’s more cautious about who he spends time with – thinking “what’s the gain, what are they giving, what should I give to this and do I already have enough anyway?”.  He took to meditation and contemplation. He took to a slower lifestyle and a less abundant mindset.

It’s meant he’s declined, deferred, contemplated more.  He’s not so quick to accept everything and everyone and still maintained a non-cynical way about it.  He doesn’t distrust people, he’s come to realise that he knows when he already has enough.

ENDS

It was his final conclusion that chimed with me.  I’ve often seen abundance – and therefore options and choice – as crucial factors in success.  I’m starting to recalibrate my thinking on this and thinking how much I already have: and it’s probable that I already have it.  So I have enough.

I see many of us having to take a stock take on our social networks and purge, cleanse and realign why we loved them so much in the first place but now we feel overwhelmed by them.

I see the growth in slow lifestyles; tiny living and less materialistic ways as a show of enough.  I have enough with less, I don’t need to clutter my life or ever pursue that bigger, better, bolder thing.

So I have had enough of thinking not enough. Very much in the spirit of Lao Tzu’s opening quote to this piece – “He who finds that enough is enough, will always have enough.”

Have you had enough and do you have enough?