February 25, 2008
A person functioning exclusively in the Cartesian mode may be free from manifest symptoms but cannot be considered mentally healthy. Such individuals typically lead ego-centered, competitive, goal-oriented lives.
Over preoccupied with their past and future, they tend to have a limited awareness of the present and thus a limited ability to derive satisfaction from ordinary activities in everyday life. They concentrate on manipulating the external world and measure their living standard by the quantity of material possessions, while they become ever more alienated from their inner world and unable to appreciate the process of life.
For people whose existence is dominated by this mode of experience no level of wealth, power, or fame will bring genuine satisfaction, and thus they become infused with a sense of meaninglessness, futility, and even absurdity that no amount of external success can dispel.
From “The Turning Point: Science, Society and the Rising Culture” (1982) by Fritjof Capra, author of “The Tao of Physics”
February 18, 2008
“The more you are like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.” — Walt Disney
This is great advice for any organization that wants to be more innovative.
I play golf — not well, but I play golf. My handicap is in double digits. For me to shoot par would be a dream. But for Tiger Woods, par would be a nightmare.
I am reminded of this comparison when I see companies that are satisfied to focus on their understanding of “par,” otherwise known as best practice. It was once an admirable aim, but is not sufficient today. Your competitors are more like Tiger Woods than they are like me. Par won’t keep you alive in the current environment.
Instead of copying what worked for someone else, find what makes you distinctive and target your innovation efforts there.
February 4, 2008
Here is a beautiful passage that Antony, a reader in Australia, sent to me. It poetically describes how adults can rekindle their love of life by thinking like a child. This is an eloquent, simple, and compelling example of what I mean by Goal-Free Living.
This is from Muhammad Ali: “Children make you want to start life over,” by Bodhipaksa, a Buddhist practitioner for 25 years and a parent for one year.
I look at my 14-month-old daughter and I see a being who is completely free from hatred. She has no regrets, no baggage. She doesn’t label herself, doesn’t judge herself. She doesn’t think of herself as being successful or a failure, popular or unpopular, good or bad, rich or poor, lucky or unfortunate.
And to her everything seems new and fresh. Today’s 20th reading of “Pat the Bunny” or “Barnyard Dance” is as delightful to her as the first (I wish that were the case for her parents). When she falls down she simply picks herself back up. She doesn’t lie there saying “I’ve tried walking. It doesn’t work. I’m just not a walking kind of person.”
The simplest things are intriguing. She’ll take immense pleasure simply from moving her hands. A leaf picked up on a walk is a world of fascination.
She has, in short, what Suzuki Roshi called “Beginner’s Mind.” And that’s something we all, certainly at times, want, and even crave.
January 31, 2008
“Goals are for the future. Values are now. Goals are set. Values are lived. Goals change. Values are rocks you can count on.” From Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles
January 22, 2008
Man can only have a certain number of teeth, hairs, and ideas. There comes a time when he necessarily loses his teeth, his hair, and his ideas. – Voltaire
Ideas must work through the brains and arms of good and brave men, or they are no better than dreams. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats. - Howard Aiken
The human mind treats a new idea the same way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it. – P. B. Medawar
January 15, 2008
“If it is possible to make yourself into a great hacker. The way to do it may be to make the following deal with yourself: you never have to work on boring projects (unless your family will starve otherwise), and in return, you’ll never allow yourself to do a half-assed job (not done properly). All the great hackers I know seem to have made that deal, though perhaps none of them had any choice in the matter.” — Great Hackers by Paul Graham