Bon Appetit

(First posted on August 21, 2012)
Years ago in a city where I was to work, I pulled my rental car to the curb asking directions. The person responded “You can’t get there from here.” This had never occurred to me, neither geographically nor otherwise. Yet something deep within was drawing further inferences. It took years to realize there are particular places from which one cannot get to the places necessary for leading one’s own life well, for fulfilling one’s promise, personally and professionally. 

In the late 1980s I was hired to remedy conflicts within an executive team. After listening to a response during my initial data gathering, I replied “I just heard from the politician. How do you the person respond to the same question?” I received a curious expression and the same answer articulated differently. I said: “This time I heard from the administrator. Now I want to hear from you.” I was given a look of incredulity, then a blank stare and silence. 

We have long standing conventions for distancing self from self. In his 1914 short story A Painful Case the Irish writer James Joyce wrote of his protagonist: “He [Mr. Duffy] lived at a little distance from his body…” 

Are there costs for doing this? Consider:
• Believing we are the personas (roles) we animate rather than the persons we abandoned
• Living the persona 24/7, when out of public view, with spouses, children and oneself
• Forgetting to remember to cultivate the growth and development of the people we are
• Failing to realize that fulfillment at work dose not translate to personal happiness or joy
• Remaining oblivious to the reality that our individual personas are themselves only worldview enactors, irrespective of how facile the intellect at its disposal. (Personas neither garner nor deploy wisdom.)
• Our personas (roles) are places from which we cannot get to the places where we want, need or must go to fulfill our promise.

In the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the author Michael Pollan tells us it is not so important what we eat; however, what we eat eats is important. Ever wonder what the worldview you were fed ate? The one sustaining your thinking and actions? Suppose its natural? Organic? Ecological? Healthful? 

I wonder whether individual thought and action, considered en mass, long sustained on the dominant worldview has contributed to, maintains and worsens our global sociopolitical and socioeconomic ill-health? 

A reminder: Rules for increasing the likelihood of political and economic health within yourself, your family, and the projects, businesses and larger systems you lead:
• Nurture and grow your own worldview, or use one that is genuinely nurturing and sustaining
• Ensure your worldview enables you to be genuine and to think and do what is right for you
• Ensure your worldview enables you to define yourself by your genuine greatness
• Ensure your worldview values experiencing your experience above your conceptual awareness
• Ensure your worldview fosters equanimity, capacities to relax, and is enabling of the creative expression of your promise
• Ensure your worldview likes that which is like itself, while never fearing nor loathing difference
• Ensure your worldview sees change as nothing to fear, but instead the fundamental motion of our universe

I wonder what leadership from this platform might foster…

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