Growth

Generally speaking, it seems that most of the posts we see on business or personal growth fall into two categories; therapeutic, or instructional.

The therapeutic works on the basis that we’re somehow not good enough, that we’re flawed, failing and need help.

The instructional works on the basis that we’re insufficiently trained; that we need to be taught, by those who are better than us.

Both have their place, up to a point, but only if we believe the purpose of our life is to fulfil others requirements of us.

If, on the other hand the purpose of our lives is to use the unique gifts we have been given, the unique perspectives we hold, the intent we have for our lives to use them to leave the world a better place than we find it, then they don’t.

Our lives have an expiration date. Between now and then, we have a choice to make.

Clunky

When we watch a murmuration of starlings, or a salmon going upstream what we wonder at is their fluidity; the sheer joy of movement.

So why is it that most of our organisations are so clunky?

Admittedly, neither starlings nor salmon have large pre frontal cortex but maybe sometimes, that’s our problem. We over think, over analyse, and worry about failure.

The very best performers however do not. They have long ago internalised why they are doing what they are doing, with whom they are doing it and the environment in which they are doing it. Then they just get on with it; unencumbered.

We make ourselves clunky. By not being clear on why we’re doing what we are doing, and why it is important. By not making sure that we understand those with whom we’re doing it. By not making sure we understand our surroundings. By hanging on to our original plan even when we know it’s not working. By not doing the work needed to prepare.

We don’t have to be clunky, but it’s hard work.

Do the work

Reading often throws up interesting juxtapositions.

In his latest book, Roberto Unger defines three ways of making a living; wages work, self employment and cooperation, and emphasises we need to be focusing on the last two.

In the latest copy of the RSA Journal, Thomas MacMillan looks at a Populus Poll of 16-24 year olds, and their priorities for their work lives. Top of the list is a secure job. Top of their priorities for that job is that it protects nature.

So. It could be inferred that they want someone else to provide them with a secure job that delivers their values. Nice work if you can get it.

From a mindset standpoint, maybe we are best with a “company of one” approach, treating ourselves as self employed, even if we are in waged work. To adopt the principle of the self employed that we have no secure employment. To focus on who to work with based on our values. To avoid the illusion of job security.

The three most powerful addictions are cocaine, carbohydrates and a regular income. Nassim Taleb

If we can do that, the other options become conscious choices. Being dependent puts us in a comfortable but addictive position. Independence can be lonely, but gives us freedom. Co-operation is where the magic happens.

The time to make a choice is when we don’t have to. Choose to do the work that gives you the freedom of independence.