4 Reasons Why Language Is Power

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Ever thought about the power of language? Yes, no? I hadn’t until about three years ago. Why? Well, as I’ve mentioned in many of my posts, about three years ago I began to develop myself, really develop.

And, when you work on yourself, from the inside out, which is the only real way, you begin to understand the power that we, you, hold within you. It is a vast power, and language is a part of that power.

Before we begin to look at the power of language, let’s start with a definition.

language

NOUN
1. The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.

Oxford Languages

Alright, pretty straightforward, right? Do you read anything in there about the power of language? No, me either. However, it’s there, believe me. Let’s take a look then at 4 reasons why language is so powerful.

1. Language is what we use to create meaning

As I’ve written about in other posts, human beings are meaning-makers. We continuously construct narratives, or stories, about life. We take in information, a stimulus, and we convert that information into a patterned story about how we perceive ourselves. Then we respond.

We respond from the space of the story. From the beliefs we hold about who we are. Can you see the power in that. Pretty powerful.

For instance, if we believe we are limited, because someone told us that when we were little, we will respond from a space of limit. Without thinking about it. Important.

In this example, it’s not as if we are consciously thinking about these limitations. These limitations live in the stories we tell ourselves, and others about who we are. They operate independently. Aware of them or not, they are there. Powerful.

Imagine deciding to not do something because someone told us not to do that thing when we were little. If we really sit inside of this concept, it may fill us with sadness.

Know, however, that at the end of this article we will discuss how to get in touch with the stories we have. Why? Because when we are aware of them, even though we don’t know all of them, we can choose a different response. We can create new stories.

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2. Language is what we use to communicate

Though verbal and written communication are not the only ways we communicate with each other, they are two of the primary ways we do so. We take that which we know to be “true,” drawn from the stories we have about ourselves, and use it to construct language to communicate with people.

Further, when we communicate with people, and they do or say something to confirm the story we have about ourselves, that story becomes more codified.

These stories, then, have been “confirmed” over years and years of inner-dialogue, and are also “proven” by those we interact with. Complex. And simple.

For instance, if I believe that I am limited, and act that way, then those around me, after time, will stop asking me to do things that stretch me, or make me uncomfortable.

Not because they don’t want me to stretch and grow, rather because I always say no. I confirm for them my own self-perceived limitation. And, in return, they confirm that limitation in my mind by not asking me to stretch and grow.

Thomas Cooley wrote about this concept over 100 years ago.

“The looking-glass self describes the process wherein individuals base their sense of self on how they believe others view them. Using social interaction as a type of “mirror,” people use the judgments they receive from others to measure their own worth, values, and behavior”

Lesley University

And, then sociologist Erving Goffman took Cooley’s work further.

“The term ‘symbolic interactionism’ refers, of course, to the peculiar and distinctive character of interaction as it takes place between human beings. The peculiarity consists in the fact that human beings interpret or ‘define’ each other’s actions instead of merely reacting to each other’s actions. Their ‘response’ is not made directly to the actions of one another but instead based on the meaning which they attach to such actions. Thus, human interaction is mediated by the use of symbols, by interpretation, or by ascertaining the meaning of one another’s actions.” (Blumer, p. 180, in Paul Gingrich)

Hawaii.edu

Therefore, how we think is how we act, believe, and perceive. And, those around us do the same. Have you ever had an interaction with someone that didn’t know you, and they interacted with you in a way that didn’t fit the story you have of yourself? Yes? What did you do?

Did you align with your own story about the person you believe yourself to be? Or, did you act in a different way? Most of the time, people will continue to behave as they have, which is consistent with the actions, beliefs, and perceptions they have of who they are.

Reason? Because to act, believe, and perceive otherwise is incongruent with their perceived identity. And, all of it, the actions we take, and the beliefs and perceptions we have first of all live in language. That is powerful.

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3. Language is what we use to make sense of the world

When you look out your window, what do you see? A tree? A bush? The sun or moon? Whatever you see, and the words you use to describe the world all live in language. All of it.

Think about the word sun. Where did that come from? Well, let’s take a quick look.

Origin

“Old English sunne, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zon and German Sonne, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek hēlios and Latin sol .”

Oxford Languages

And, even cursory searches of the internet will show that the roots of the word sun cross cultures.

“This is ultimately related to the word for “sun” in other branches of the Indo-European language family, though in most cases a nominative stem with an l is found, rather than the genitive stem in n, as for example in Latin sōl, Greek ἥλιος hēlios, Welsh haul and Russian солнце solntse (pronounced sontse), as well as (with *l > r) Sanskrit स्वर svár and Persian خور‎ xvar. Indeed, the l-stem survived in Proto-Germanic as well, as *sōwelan, which gave rise to Gothic sauil (alongside sunnō) and Old Norse prosaic sól (alongside poetic sunna), and through it the words for “sun” in the modern Scandinavian languages: Swedish and Danish solen, Icelandic sólin, etc.”

Handbook of Germain Etymology

Yet, is the sun, the sun? Or is it a star? Same with a tree. Is a tree, a tree? Or, is it something else. The point? That the language we use to describe the world becomes just that. The world we see. The world we know.

When we see a tree, we don’t question the fact that at some point a tree was not called a tree. Nor was the sun called the sun. They were called something else, or nothing at all.

The relationship we have with the language we use to describe the world we see and perceive as our reality, is therefore extremely important, and powerful. It must be.

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4. Language is what we use to create our reality

Yep. Truth. Language is what we use to create meaning, to communicate, to understand the world, and to create our reality. In another post, I wrote something like, there are 7 billion different realities on this planet. Truth. How’s that?

Because we all understand our reality as we understand it. Yes, based on the stories we are told about who we are, the stories we then create to fit these stories, and the conformations we get from those around us that codify our notions of the stories we know to be true about who we are.

And, that is creating our reality. One thought, belief, and perception at a time.

However, because language, and our interpretation of it, is so powerful, we can also use language to create a different reality, with different stories, beliefs, and perceptions. Yep, we can.

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As with most things, first you need to be aware of the power of language. Check. Then, it is about learning to notice when you are creating a reality that consistently fits the story of who you think you are. If that is what you want for your reality. Awesome. Done. If not?

Once you are aware, and notice how you consistently continue to create a response to a stimulus that is in alignment with, let us say, limitation, you can begin to choose a different response.

A response that aligns with the reality you now want to create. A reality without limits. Powerful.

Phew, that was a lot. More than I expected in this one post. Yet, because language is so powerful, there is a lot more to write about. A lot more.

Yet we will leave that to a future post.

Language is powerful. We can use language to confirm all the things we think about ourselves, given to us by someone else, and continuously confirmed by ourselves and everyone around us. OR.

We can use language to disrupt that which we believe we know about ourselves, and use the power of language to create a whole new reality for ourselves. And, guess what?

Everytime someone chooses disruption over the status quo, everyone benefits. All of humanity does.

#beliefs, #communication, #concepts, #creatingmeaning, #creatingnarratives, #creatingstories, #language, #perceptions, #philosohpy, #practical, #practice, #psychology, #reality, #socialpsychology, #sociology, #stimulusresponse

The Blog + Video Series #6: COVID-19 and the Art of Possibility

Possibility: Noun – a thing that may happen or be the case.

I’ve been thinking more about possibility this week. What’s possible in our new landscape? Are the same things possible today, as were possible 6 months ago?

Not sure? Me either, so let’s take a look.

The Art of Possibility is about creating a context. A context specific to new ways to think about old and or new problems or issues. It is about letting go of preconceived notions of what is possible in a given situation.

The psychology of possibility is rather simple. Let go of the past, be in the present, and create the future from where you stand today, seeing reality as it is.

Not how we think it is, rather how it really is.

Seeing reality as it really is means being aware of our thinking patterns, and knowing when we are limiting ourselves by presuming or assuming we know all there is to know about a problem, issue, or situation we are faced with. Factually, humans know very little – if you don’t believe this blogger, read a little Socrates.

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The sociology of possibility involves creating traction with those around us in the art of possibility. As I’ve written elsewhere, humans are social animals, and rely upon connections with other humans.

It is only natural then that groups will function in accordance with the language they use to describe their shared reality. If that language is about limitation then limitation is what they will see and create.

If, however, that language is about possibility, then possibility is what they will see and create.

The possibility of possibility is about remaining open to new ideas, new understanding, and letting go of the notion that we know. Seems simple, yet can be difficult, as human beings are in some ways programmed to think they know more than they do, which is where vulnerability comes in.

Being open means being vulnerable.

Be vulnerable today in some way. Create and share a possibility with someone in your context, and, or create and share a possibility here. Either way, create and share. What else is there, really?

#covid-19, #creativity, #knowing, #learning, #possibilities, #possibility, #psychology, #sociology, #theartofpossibility, #vulnerability, #vulnerable

An Inquiry and Invitation Series 1: Imagination, Innovation, and Sociology?

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Have you ever thought about how the imagination works? I’ve not considered it overmuch, yet have been considering it more recently.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world is working to conceptualize new businesses, lifestyles, relationships, organizational structures, and staffing models.

There really is no safe haven from the need to innovate continuously right now. If you find yourself in a situation where creating new ways to conceptualize the aforementioned is unnecessary, I believe you are in the minority.

If you find yourself in the situation, like many, where the need to continuously innovate is your ever present reality. Breathe.

I’m thinking that a cursory look at imagination and innovation within a sociological context is an important inquiry. And, I think this inquiry is more important today than ever before. Why?

Because innovation is hard work. You can find yourself, as happens to me often, feeling frayed around the edges, and very tired. Yet, you must continue to persist.

Why? Because persistence inside of innovation is necessary and needed. The imagination, you ask? The imagination makes it all work.

Alright, so what does sociology have to do with the imagination?

As we’ve discussed in other posts, sociology is the study of group behavior. It is the study of how groups, and people within those groups, understand their place in a social and or cultural context. How they move, or are limited in movement, how they adapt, change, grow, work, and live.

Inquiring into imagination and innovation from a sociological perspective means taking a look at how innovation and imagination works in groups. Here are a couple of questions to get our inquiry started?

  • How do groups use their collective potential to utilize imagination in unique and innovative ways?
  • What are some strategies people can use to get the most out of their own imagination; and, harness the groups they belong to, to create innovative possibilities?
  • What does sociology have to do with imagination and innovation?

Okay, let’s start with these, and see what we get.

How do groups use their collective potential to utilize imagination in unique and innovative ways?

Though I can only speak to groups I’ve been a part of, I believe they probably function quite similarly, with some variance in the amount of creative output dependent on the members of the group.

For instance, in my current workgroup, we went from somewhat creative, to more creative in about 2 years, to very creative in year 3, and now, hyper-creative. Why the latter? Necessity.

As I’ve mentioned, the current state of reality right now demands it. You must stay on top of innovation, and your own personal and professional imagination is the gateway.

Here are some ways groups use their collective potential to imagine and innovate.

  • Share ideas with each other, all of them – often people are shy or fearful about sharing their creative potential, their own imagination to innovate. Don’t be. Share, and create, it is an awesome process.
  • Take people’s ideas further – when you are working with someone on a project, and they have an idea, take it further if you can. Step outside of timidness, and give all of your imaginative power to the project. You will get more innovation this way.
  • Step into ideas that live at the edge of what’s possible – live in a limitless space when you are imagining and innovating. Stay away from limits. Putting limits on your imagination, limits the project’s possibility.
  • Continue to reflect – even when you are not directly working on the project, continue to reflect upon the last conversation. You may get more imaginative insights, which will make your project more innovative.

What are some strategies people can use to get the most out of their own imagination; and, harness the groups they belong to, to create innovative possibilities?

There are many strategies you can use to kickstart your imagination. And, there are also various strategies to keep your imagination moving. Meaning, strategies to keep you open to more possibilities in the realm of the project you are working on. Let’s take a look at some of these.

  • Just get those ideas out – any way you can, get your ideas out of yourself, and into the world, somewhere, anywhere. Where and how matters less, than simply getting them out. An aside – once my oldest son came into my office, which was plastered with very large whiteboard post-its, and both white board walls were also full. He felt a little uneasy. He is now at a local company doing a computer science internship, and just recently shared with me that he understands the process of pouring forth your imagination in a whole new light. Get your ideas out.
  • Invite others to give you their insights – when you have your ideas out, have other people give you their insights. I find collaboration inside of imagination and innovation highly productive. You will find that they will take some of your ideas further, and then, guess what? You will take their additions to your ideas even further. A wonderful gift.
  • Let the ideas sit for a little while – one strategy I employ everyday inside of using my imagination to innovate is to let the newest ideas sit. Then I take time to reflect upon the ideas to see what other insights I get. Fun. I always get more insight after the initial creative output and collaboration.
  • Create a plan – as I’ve written about in many other posts, in order for your imaginative output to actually create innovative results, you must create a plan to bring the ideas into the world. Create a 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day plan, step 1, 2, 3, etc., to bring the project into the world.
  • Take action – once you have your plan in place, take at least one action a day. In order for a plan to actual bring forth your ideas, you will have to create time to actually work on the project. Too often projects fail, even with great ideas, because the actions to bring the project to life are not followed through on.

There are five very pragmatic strategies that, when used on a daily basis, will bring your imaginative potential to bear, and create more innovation within whatever context you are wanting to develop new possibilities.

What does sociology have to do with imagination and innovation?

How important is it to understand well those people you are in a relationship with? Yep, very. It is equally important to understand the groups you belong to just as well.

You must understand who in the group is the most imaginative and innovative. Why? Because you will know where to go for collaborative insight into the projects you are working on. Important.

And, to understand groups, it is important to understand how groups work, how they function within the greater context that the group belongs to.

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For instance, if you are on a team within a larger organization, you need to know what are the limits on your creative possibilities. How is the group looked upon within the organization? Are they seen as an innovation center? Or, are they required to work within a more strict protocol?

After working on my current team, I can tell you that a mandate for any future endeavor will have to include the ability to imagine, innovate, and create. A must. A dealbreaker for me if it is missing.

However, if you are not thinking about these questions and concepts before taking on a new job, or project, and you are an imaginative and innovative person, you may get stuck in a situation that limits your potential. Not helpful, and can feel quite limiting and restricting.

I should add here that we are all imaginative and innovative. Sometimes that imagination and innovation gets covered up with concepts like adulthood and being grown up. Sad, and unnecessary.

The most productive and timeless contributions to history are made by those with no limits. Who take on their work and their projects with a sense of play.

Creating possibilities through their imagination and innovative ideas, while also bringing those around them into the conversation to take their playful ideas even further. Wonderful, exciting, and really being alive.

An Invitation

Alright, your turn. I know well that we all think differently, and use different strategies to imagine and innovate, so I would love to hear from you. And, here is a question you can play with, or feel free to create your own, which would be very much in line with this post.

What do you think about imagination and innovation, and their relation to sociology, and understanding well the groups we work with?

#creativity, #group-behavior, #imagination, #innovation, #innovative-possibilities, #innovative-strategies, #inquiry, #invitation, #play-at-work, #possibilities, #sociology, #work-as-play

The Sociological Imagination and Mindfulness: Knowledge Acquisition, Thoughtful Choice, and Possibility

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When people think of, and talk about, mindfulness, they are usually drawing from a frame that mostly focuses on the individual and their psychology. That is the most popular way to think about mindfulness.

However, I think there are possible benefits to considering mindfulness from a sociological perspective, which might have implications for society as a whole.

Let’s first take a look at what mindfulness is, which will require examining the psychology of mindfulness. We will also take a practical look at the practice of mindfulness, and lastly will consider a new way to look at mindfulness, which is through a sociological perspective.

Mindfulness and Individual Psychology

I’ve practiced mindfulness and meditation the past couple of years. Though relatively new to mindfulness and meditation, I do know that mindfulness, and the theory and practice of it, are focused on the individual and their psychology.

Mindfulness is about focusing one’s attention on the present moment, on the thoughts that are occuring in that present moment, and the emotions and bodily sensations that accompany those thoughts (Lexico, 2020).

It is about becoming more aware of how your thoughts drive your behavior, and how that behavior, then, is a product of your thinking.

I’ve written in other posts that humans are programmed to create narratives, or stories, about their experiences. It is how people make sense of the world. However, when you create stories about your perceived reality, these thinking patterns can also overdramatize reality, which can cause pain and suffering.

Though we can speak of mindfulness as a theory, it is best, in my opinion, talked about in regard to practicing mindfulness.

Practicing Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is about creating an awareness around the way you think so you can disrupt negative thinking patterns, and replace them with positive ones. You can also think about it like, replacing those overly dramatic thought patterns, or stories, with reality. Creating distinctions between what really happened, and what you believe happened based upon your overly dramatized thoughts.

And, of course the thoughts that we draw upon to create an overly dramatized story are grounded in past experiences. These experiences can be something that happened recently, however, often they are from long ago, such as childhood experiences.

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When we create a storied reality, rather than experiencing reality as it is, or as it is happening, we are creating the possibility, and probability of more suffering.

Humans are drawn to drama. Drawn to creating it, and living in it, yet it is not the only way to live. We can shift our thinking by practicing mindfulness, creating increased awareness within ourselves that recognizes when we are living in our heads, as it were, instead of living in the moment.

Meditation is another tool utilized in a mindfulness practice. Practicing meditation can slow down the reactive mind, increasing the possibility of noticing when you are creating negative thought patterns, or are confusing reality with a story from long ago.

There is a lot of research on mindfulness and the distinct advantages on overall mental health, which is why we mostly see mindfulness written about in regard to the individual, or psychology. However, after practicing mindfulness for a couple of years, I can see far reaching implications for employing mindfulness across society.

However, before we look at mindfulness and the potential positive impacts on society, let’s take a look at the study of sociology, which takes group behavior as its research focus.

Sociology and the Sociological Imagination

The study of sociology is the study of group behavior. More importantly, it is the understanding that can develop when one considers their place within a broader social context (Mills, 1959).

In 1959, C. Wright Mills wrote:

What they need, and what they feel they need, is a quality of mind that will help them to use information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and of what may be happening within themselves. It is this quality, I am going to contend, that journalists and scholars, artists and publics, scientists and editors are coming to expect of what may be called the sociological imagination (Mills, 1959).

In short, the sociological imagination is about understanding your place within a given society, or cultural context. It is about understanding how the social construction of that society or culture impedes, and or advances your particular milieux.

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With that knowledge, one can better understand how their own personally context, and associated socialization and development, to a certain degree, were shaped by the social or cultural order in which they live.

That you are embedded within a broader social context, and having an awareness of how that context functions, is important to how you think, feel, and behave. It also helps us understand people in our context, those we know, and those we don’t, yet interact with.

Sociology and the Sociological Imagination in particular, help us understand the broader context within which we live, which provides us more information about how we relate to that social or cultural context, and how others in our immediate context also relate to that social or cultural context. Simply, it provides us more knowledge and a new way to think about and see our environment.

The Sociology of Mindfulness

When I think about the sociology of mindfulness , I’m thinking about people using mindfulness to gain an even deeper understanding of 1) their particular position in the social and or culture order in which they live; and, 2) how the knowledge of their position in the social and cultural context combined with practicing mindfulness might create more time for people to choose their next actions more thoughtfully.

As I’ve described in other posts, humans have reactive minds, which means that we often react to our environment with little time to think about the actions that we are creating and taking.

Mindfulness is the practice, as was aforementioned, of slowing down that reactive process. When the reaction process is slowed down, we have more time to choose the next action we want to take.

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If we have an increased likelihood of choosing a next action that we have actually considered thoughtfully, we have the opportunity to actual create new ways of being, understanding, and living. If we do not, we simply reproduce actions that we’ve taken before. And, if we create these new choices within a social or cultural order in which we fully understand, we have more power.

This, then, for me is the crux of the sociology of mindfulness. The intersection of conscious choice, and our own individual relationship to and within the social and cultural order in which we live.

When I searched the internet for the sociology of mindfulness, most of what I found was describing using mindfulness inside of sociology classes (WW Norton and Company, Inc. 2014). I also found one that talked directly about the sociology of mindfulness, and the possible impacts of considering mindfulness in regard to self-management and personhood (Huesken, 2019).

I did not, however, find an article that directly addressed the ramifications of practicing mindfulness on the social or cultural order. Though I did not find an article addressing the aforementioned, I do believe that practicing mindfulness is important to both the individual and the society or culture in which they live.

Further, I believe that developing a sociological imagination alongside a mindfulness practice may help people:

  • Better position themselves in their social or cultural contexts
  • Develop a state of mind that allows them to understand the social and cultural contexts more deeply in regard to their own individuality
  • Create more time to choose actions more thoughtfully within these contexts.

I’ve studied sociology for many years, and have practiced mindfulness and mediation these past couple of years; the combination of which, have created a deeper understanding for me of my position within the social order, and of the benefit of having more time to think and choose my next actions more thoughtfully.

When we have the time we need to choose our actions more thoughtfully, and are armed with more knowledge about the society in which we live, we create new possibilities for ourselves and all of those around us.

References

Lexico. (2020). Lexico, Powered by Oxford. URL.

Mills, C W. “The Promise [of Sociology]” Excerpt from The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 1959. URL.

W.W. Norton and Company Inc. (2014). Sociology and Mindfulness Meditation. URL.

Huesken, Aaron. (2019). Mindfulness, Self, and Society: Toward a Sociological Critique of Mindfulness Based Interventions. Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada. April 2019. URL.

#mindfulness, #social-and-cultural-order, #sociology, #the-sociological-imagination, #thoughtful-choices

Handwritten Letters and Life Skills: Keeping Simplicity Alive for Future Generations

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Since the COVID-19 health crisis began, and the associated shelter-in-place order was established here locally, I’ve been receiving handwritten letters from my niece and nephew.

When my sister told me that the twins were tasked with creating and sending out handwritten letters, I thought, oh joy! What a great way for two 10 year olds to spend parts of their day. With all the current technological distractions, these letters seemed like such a great idea, a break for them, and ultimately, a gift for me.

At the time, what I didn’t consider was how much I would enjoy receiving and reading them. Nor could I have imagined how much fun it would turn out to be to write them back.

I am old enough to have lived during a time when in-home computers were just gaining traction. At that time, handwritten (or typed) letters, like landline phones, were a part of people’s everyday experience. Not the case today.

It got me thinking about life skills, and how important it is for children and youth to have the opportunity to develop skills, even when, maybe especially when, these skills are not as sought after today. It is important for many reasons, one of which is the necessity to keep these skills alive for future generations. Why?

Because there is an elegance to the written word, like there is in understanding how to balance a checkbook, or creating a meal that doesn’t include “food” from a box. And, it is our job to teach children and youth these skills.

There are a myriad of these life skills that, due to technological advancements, are not as utilized today. In fact, some are out right not taught in schools, or in homes across the country. Why?

Some of the lack of education in life skills has to do with the way K-12 education functions today. Some of it has to do with the fact that people are busy, and don’t always spend the time necessary with their children teaching them these skills, especially as they enter their teenage years. Or, they think they’ll pick them up along the way.

As a parent, I have also fallen into the trap of being busy and assuming that the kids would pick up this or that skill along the way. Yet, what I have learned is that they will not always pick them up. We must teach them these skills.

Though the life skills referred to in this post are quite simple, we make them seem complex, as today there is an easier way to get to the outcome, or result. For instance, it is much easier to look up a word on an online thesaurus, or dictionary website, than it is to use an actual thesaurus or dictionary. Do we assume then that children and youth will simply know how to find, let alone utilize a thesaurus and or dictionary? We should assume not.

We often make the simple complex. It is a pattern most humans have, and one that I’ve referenced in several other posts. It is often harder to find the simpler path, yet strive for it we should. Because we can make something complex, does not mean it should be complex. In fact, it really means that it should be simple.

If making things simpler is something we should strive for, then teaching children and youth basic life skills, which are not as in fashion today should be a goal of every parent and or caretaker. Why?

Because if we don’t teach them these skills, who else will?

#generations, #life-skills, #psychology, #self-development, #simplicity, #sociology, #youth-development

The Need for More Grace and Humility Now and in the Future

This week, I’ve been reflecting upon grace and humility. I am thinking about grace as in goodwill towards others, and humility as in being humble. I do believe that the need for grace and humility are now more important than ever. And yet, I find myself also thinking that larger doses of both grace and humility would be beneficial for society regardless.

We live in a fast-paced society, where the expectation to do more is always present. And the expectation to do more, has a corresponding quality, which is to want more, and or feel we need more.

All three of which, the expectation to do more, want more, and need more, often superseded qualities like grace and humility. For instance, in the hunt for that next promotion, or raise, we might inadvertently run right over a fellow human being, such as a colleague or a peer.

I am in no way suggesting that developing, or creating, the determination necessary to excel in one’s work in order to gain a promotion or pay increase is in some way an issue. It is not. It is, rather, the way we handle ourselves on the way, the journey, to that result that can be an issue.

I’ve written in other posts that humans often get caught up in focusing too much, or even solely, on a result. And, when that result is all we can “see” the tendency to be less present to others in our environment goes up; and, when we are less present to those around us, we are also less present to how we treat them.

Right now, you may be thinking, are they saying that competition is in some way bad? No. Competition is needed and necessary. We are, however, talking about how we compete. We are talking about competing while displaying both grace and humility.

I was telling part of the team I work with today that one of the insights I’ve received from the COVID-19 health crisis is that slowing down is not only necessary, it is needed. Slowing down to take in all that is around us, including those we are in competition with.

As states around the country start to create action plans on reopening, businesses will likewise create their plans on how they are going to reopen. Additionally, these business owners, especially small ones, will consider what other services and or products they should invest in to increase their relevance in a very unknown and unpredictable market.

These business owners will also research their competition to better understand how the particular niche they are creating will fill a need and also be profitable.

As business owners consider their options, I am suggesting that showing each other grace and humility will be an advantageous tool. Grace and humility will ultimately be advantageous as fear of the unknown will continue to be present for everyone.

Sharing with each other, then, the grace and humility that comes with an understanding that we have all been affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, positions us all to benefit from each other’s unique perspective and knowledge base.

For sure, some have been more affected by the COVID-19 health crisis than others. Yet all of us have been affected, and will continue to be affected by COVID-19 long after the headlines dwindle to the background, and a sense of “normalcy” begins to return.

At the outset of this post, I stated that grace and humility are qualities that are needed now more than ever, and that overall society could use additional doses of both grace and humility regardless. Grace and humility were needed pre-COVID-19, are needed now during COVID-19, and will also be needed post-COVID-19.

Extending grace and humility to your fellow human being can create a context where competition can thrive in an environment that values each of us as the unique contributors to society that we are.

My invitation to you is to remember that when things are busier than ever, whether that be now, or in the months to come, to slow down, take in all that is around you, and extend grace and humility to your fellow human beings.

#business, #competition, #covid-19, #grace, #humility, #psychology, #self-development, #sociology

Creating and Maintaining Relationships: What else is there?

Is there anything else in life besides creating and maintaining relationships? Not sure? Well, let’s take a look.

We know that humans are social animals. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert matters less than the ultimate knowing that humans need and depend on other humans. That is a fact.

If right now you are saying to yourself, no, that’s not true, I am independent, and self-reliant, always have been, always will be. Okay. Yet, think about your day. How many times did you interact with someone today? Did you go to the grocery store? Did you get gas, or stop by a coffee shop?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you have been dependent on another human being today. Factually, we make it through very few days where we don’t depend on another human being for something.

Take my week. Though we are in the midst of a massive health pandemic, and I only got in my car two or three times, I’ve been in constant communication with the team I work with, went to the grocery store twice, and got gas once. Not to mention all of the walks I’ve been on this week, and the random people I’ve said hello to, and interacted with.

We are drawn to each other, and need each other.

Understanding that humans are social animals, and are drawn to each other, creates the realization that developing new relationships, and maintaining the ones we have, are two of the most important things we do on a daily basis. Not only are we drawn to, and dependent on each other, we also grow through each other.

These relationships, such as acquaintances, friendships, peers, colleagues, familial, romantic, all of them, are one of the ways we grow. Growth starts with the individual, yet quickly moves out in a concentric circle to include the aforementioned.

Fostering these relationships then becomes very important. Often, however, I feel like we take them for granted.

The need to honor the relationships in our lives is of utmost importance. As is, acknowledging those around us that help us grow, even when the relationship is difficult. Maybe, especially when it is difficult. As I have written elsewhere, it is in the most uncomfortable situations that we find the most growth. And, building relationships is no exception to this rule.

As you embark on this weekend, remember that relationships are all around us. We need not limit our thinking about our relationships to only those people that are close to us, for the relationship you have with the person that serves you your coffee, or fills your tank is also an important relationship in your life.

#creativity, #freinds, #human-development, #psychology, #relationships, #sociology

COVID-19 and the Art of Possibility

Possibility: Noun – a thing that may happen or be the case.

I’ve been thinking more about possibility this week. What’s possible in our new landscape? Are the same things possible today, as were possible 6 months ago? Not sure? Me either, so let’s take a look.

The Art of Possibility is about creating a context. A context specific to new ways to think about old and or new problems or issues. It is about letting go of preconceived notions of what is possible in a given situation.

The psychology of possibility is rather simple. Let go of the past, be in the present, and create the future from where you stand today, seeing reality as it is. Not how we think it is, rather how it really is.

Seeing reality as it really is means being aware of our thinking patterns, and knowing when we are limiting ourselves by presuming or assuming we know all there is to know about a problem, issue, or situation we are faced with. Facutlay, humans know very little – if you don’t believe this blogger, read a little Socrates.

The sociology of possibility involves creating traction with those around us in the art of possibility. As I’ve written elsewhere, humans are social animals, and rely upon connections with other humans. It is only natural then that groups will function in accordance with the language they use to describe their shared reality. If that language is about limitation then limitation is what they will see and create. If, however, that language is about possibility, then possibility is what they will see and create.

The possibility of possibility is about remaining open to new ideas, new understanding, and letting go of the notion that we know. Seems simple, yet can be difficult, as human beings are in some ways programmed to think they know more than they do, which is where vulnerability comes in. Being open means being vulnerable.

Be vulnerable today in some way. Create and share a possibility with someone in your context, and, or create and share a possibility here. Either way, create and share. What else is there, really?

Until next time…

#covid-19, #creation, #creativity, #human-development, #possibility, #psychology, #sociology, #vulnerability