Survival of the New Fit

So here’s a bit of a cynical take on things: Is there a new elite in business that is setting a damaging pace but with a smile.  In the past (and in many cases still today) there has been a ruthless approach to performance in business. 

Quite simply if you can’t produce the numbers you are swiftly removed from the organisation.  This use to be a rather cold and ruthless way of doing things without any care or empathy.  Now, however it seems like there is much more care and empathy within businesses but still no tolerance for poor performance.

It seems like it is exactly the same intolerance for non-performance but at least you get a smile.  Krishnamurti once wrote that “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”.  It seems like we are becoming very well adjusted to a very sick society.  What I am specifically referring to here is the push to performance and the continual growth of people required to perform at these levels – a new breed of ‘fit’ individuals that are surviving.  I have spoken to many individuals that testify to burnout and I have also witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of a business society that puts massive pressure on people in order to gain results.  Please don’t get me wrong, I do not say that poor performance is acceptable but the pressure on people to perform or be rejected by the system is not healthy.  In fact I don’t even want to talk about performance – we are not cars.  Perhaps the term should rather be accomplishment.

It is therefore no longer blatant/cold domination but now a psychological approach where you are culled with emotional rejection and social isolation in order to move a cohesive breed of predatory business people forward.  The pace of capitalism and the electronic herd determines the pace of our development and the shape of comfort and discomfort.  We are indeed very well adjusted and do it with a smile.  You lose control due to the price of living with certain standards set externally but gain control through time spent within the system as a means to learn how to beat it.

Like I said, it is perhaps a cynical view and only highlights the negativity of the situation.  From the last sentence of the previous paragraph I do however believe that there is much to learn within a sick society.  True transformation starts with awareness and if there is anything to be taken away from this post it is to be aware that you are perhaps only surviving in a sick society.  See the sickness and take a decision to start (or continue) the healing in your own life.  The more individuals there are that heal themselves in a sick society, the better the chance of healing the society.

So perhaps we see the result of moderate change instead of true radical change at the moment.  Perhaps this is the ‘safe’ way of doing it.  Who can be certain?  All I know is that it is my job to challenge the dominant thinking and suggest new ways of looking at our current situation in order to assist in the transformation of society.


Musing, Coffee, and Momentum

So the last few days I have been in Cape Town for work.  I am currently at the airport waiting to board.  Obviously I am using the time wisely to muse on my current situation over some good coffee.  I think about the momentum I am experiencing in more ways than one.
On the one hand I am enjoying the physical momentum and motion of traveling by car, plane, elevator, escalator, and foot.  The mere movement through space and time is invigorating and inspires me to write this blog.  I’ll follow-up and connect some of my previous topics but I though it wise to stand still in order to move forward.  On the other hand my physical condition is currently not well suited to travelling.  The pain I am experiencing makes it tough not only to travel but when combined with the rigours of client-facing facilitation work that demands high energy at all times it is very exhausting.
There is however magic that happens inside of me.  The stretch due to the momentum is truly magnificent and perhaps by looking at it from this perspective it is in fact following-up on my previous post quite well.  Just as I feel the stretch of working more interdependently I am also feeling the stretch that momentum brings.  So here I refer to momentum in psychological terms.  The fact that things are moving and I need to move, or have momentum of thought and being, in order to benefit from the new challenge.  I expand in order to adapt and the expansion creates depth inside of me as a human being.
I don’t have to.  I can also complain that I am physically and emotionally drained because of it but in reality that doesn’t matter.  What really matters is whether I see the big picture.  This is my season to traverse some of the more challenging and possible darker aspects of my personality.  In the last while I wanted to hide away somewhere that is comfortable and only use my strengths.  Man, how the circumstances are teaching me masterful life lessons and I am definitely learning that the height of cultivation runs to simplicity.
Right here, right now, I feel joy, satisfaction, hope and blessing.  I will continue my journey and write my story because there is no-one else that can.  My voice is my voice and I will use it to speak life.  I will not dwell on what is wrong but see the beauty and blessing around me and in me.  There is so much beauty that I can’t be bothered by all the bulls#!t.
Ps. Please excuse the rather intense expression but I believe my current emotional state needs some intense expression!
Pps.  I am however very tired at the moment…

Lone Ranger or A-Team?

Late last year I started a wonderful journey with a group of people in a new business.  I moved from a situation where I pretty much had an independent role and could conduct most of my day according to my own preference.  As I made the moved I was not fully aware that my new role would require me to be so interdependent.

I was in fact a little shell-shocked when I had to go from a place of independence and considerable competence to interdependence and incompetence.  I have in fact been stretched and tested on some of my weaknesses that I didn’t expect.  The lone ranger in me just wanted to fight it with all the energy I had.  Fortunately I was aware of my personality and how I was reacting.  I could pause and decide to respond in an appropriate manner.  My original reaction was to get on my horse, six-gun at my side, and ride of into the sunset on my own – Lone Ranger style.

The circumstances I found myself in, however, challenged me on my Lone Ranger attitude and I had to make a choice.  I realised that I had to dig in and become part of the A-Team.  I could see how the challenge would reveal a part of me that would create a synergy within myself and the team.  The beauty of it was that within the A-Team I would still be able to have my own unique role; I would still be able to maintain the heart of a Lone Ranger as well as fit in with the team.  Not either/or but both!

In order to go from survive to alive I had to overcome the fear of losing myself within a bigger whole.  I had to confront the fear that my uniqueness would be lost and I would have to go through long days merely getting by on some of my lesser skills.  In reality I now see that through sacrifice a better road is being built where excellence is being revealed.  I am being sharpened every day.

I am naturally a bit of a recluse and love my own company.  I have perhaps been doing it a bit too much.  Things happen for a reason and I can see that this phase is working on my hermit mentality.  I believe that some of my best work still happens on my own but it is empty and meaningless if I can’t build and share it with others – balance and synergy.

In the end I will always connect and collaborate with others and it is good to see how it is happening in this phase of my life.  I wanted the exposure and growth but wasn’t aware that it was going to be so tough.  It is however a plan coming together and I love it when a plan comes together!

Kick It Like Bruce Lee

A while back I used a quote by Bruce Lee that goes like this: “One does not accumulate but eliminate.  It is not daily increase but daily decrease.  The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”  Now I know he said this with specific reference to Jeet Kune Do but the philosophy behind it is very powerful.  It is the same as an artist that reveals a magnificent sculpture from the rock, removing bit by bit until the artwork is revealed.

Society does not teach this anymore.  I believe that in society we are taught to accumulate.  We lose focus of the journey of cultivation and instead we keep adding on until we are so smothered wit stuff that we have lost sight of our journey.

A good illustration of this is the saying, work hard, play hard – more of everything!  Yip, squeeze life so full of stuff that there is no room for you.  How about just living?  I get so sick of ‘successful’ people that put the pressure on society due to their accumulation syndrome.  I believe we can do with less and be more.

It is however about getting and keeping my focus right.  By implication focus means that there are things I need to say no to or my energy well be dispersed and when I strike it will be off-centre and weak.  What I want is on-target and powerful blows.  The real accomplishment in this is perfecting the art and not what can be gained through it.  It is therefore of intrinsic value and not primarily instrumental.

My passion here lies in knowing myself and specifically questioning the image society projects on me.  I will reduce what is not necessary in mind and heart first and let that guide powerful action.
It is this compelling vision of simplicity that gives me energy.  Knowing that I am free of many of the burdens society want to heap on me.  I can choose and I choose me; revealed from the rock and ready to strike a powerful blow.