Self-Realisation

Sharp knives are safer

Cooks know that a sharp knife is less likely to cause injury, because it goes where you point it. It does what you tell it to do, which means you can focus on what you want the outcome to be.

The challenge of a sharp knife is that it puts ever more responsibility on the person who uses it. It will do what you tell it do, so tell it well.

Reblogged from: here

Advertisements
Self-Realisation

Who cut down the last tree?

Easter Island was the home to a thriving community, thousands of people living good lives.

One by one, though, the trees on this isolated island were cut down. They were cut down for fuel, or to make tools, or boats.

And finally, the last tree was gone. And the population went extinct.

Jared Diamond makes the story real in his brilliant article and book.

My question, though, isn’t really about the last tree. It’s about the second-to-last tree.

When someone cut it down, how did the community react? Were they afraid to speak up? Was it made clear that the social and societal costs of cutting down a tree were severe, so severe that no one would even contemplate cutting down the last tree?

And maybe they could have started this cultural norm with the third-to-last tree. Or even sooner.

Culture is the most powerful tool we have to change behavior. All around us we see people selfishly taking from the commons, eroding our standards, chopping down trees (real and metaphorical) we depend on.

What will we say the next time someone comes with an axe?

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation

Guardrails

A large, freshly-paved parking lot has no boundaries. You can drive in any direction, free to speed to your destination.

But once there’s more than a few cars driving, traffic stops. It’s too risky, there are too many uncertainties. A car could come at you from any direction, and so we crawl.

Flow is far more efficient, and flow comes from well-placed guardrails and intelligently painted lines. Flow only happens when the guardrails are universally accepted, when we can find the confidence to drive just a bit faster than our eyes can see.

One opportunity to make progress presents itself when it’s possible to move a guardrail, to show the others a better route.

The other leap occurs when we realize that we’ve been imagining a guardrail, one that’s been causing us to detour when in fact it’s not actually there. We’re obeying invisible guardrails when it doesn’t benefit the others. Ignoring these self-erected guardrails permits us to contribute more than we thought possible.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation

With the sound off or on?

If you watch a well-directed film with the sound turned off, you’ll get a lot out of it. On the other hand, it takes practice to read a screenplay and truly understand it.

It’s worth remembering that we lived in tribes for millennia, long before we learned how to speak. Emotional connection is our default. We only added words and symbolic logic much later.

There are a few places where all that matters is the words. Where the force of logic is sufficient to change the moment.

The rest of the time, which is almost all the time, the real issues are trust, status, culture, pheromones, peer pressure, urgency and the energy in the room.

It probably pays to know which kind of discussion you’re having.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation

Stinginess in the connection economy

When six people are trying to split a pizza, some stinginess appears. After all, more for one person is less for the other five.

But in interactions that lead to connection, to shared knowledge, to possibility, it’s pretty clear that there isn’t a zero-sum game being played. In fact, the more enthusiasm and optimism people bring to the interaction, the more there is for everyone else.

You don’t need to save up the goodwill and encouragement you offer to others. It will be automatically replenished, and it pays dividends along the way.

Reblogged from: here